CHESTER - Captain Genius, the 11-10 favorite, made it look easy on Tuesday night, taking the lead a few strides out of the gate and drawing off to win the $85,000 Sophomore Sprint Championship at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and by 8 lengths.
The final time for Captain Genius in the six-furlong event for 3-year-olds was 1:10.61 on a surface that was still a bit moist from showers the night before. A pair of longshots, Jasizzle and Fleet Eagle, finished second and third.
"He just towed me around," said Deshawn Parker, Mountaineer's perennial leading jockey, who piloted Captain Genius. "I just hung on. I'd like to say I had something to do with it, but I didn't really."
THE WINNER — Captain Genius, with Deshawn Parker up, won the Sophomore Sprint Championship Tuesday at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort.
-- Belinda Madrid/Coady Photography
A colt trained by Joe Woodard (who currently ranks seventh in the North American standings in victories), Captain Genius is a grandson on his dam's side of the 1987 sprint champion Groovy.
Captain Genius campaigns for Billy Donna and Justin Hays. His career record now includes eight starts, four wins and a trio of placings, His $49,385 share of the Sophomore Sprint purse elevated Captain Genius's career earnings to $111,790.
NOTEBOOK: Wise Dan is the consensus favorite to receive this year's Eclipse Award as North America's Horse of the Year. He fortified his status with a victory in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3. Wise Dan is by Wiseman's Ferry, who was victorious in the 2002 West Virginia Derby (which was then a Grade 3 event). Wiseman's Ferry would be the first winner of Mountaineer's premier race to sire an Eclipse recipient. He began his racing career in Ireland prior to coming to the U.S., and also won the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park and placed in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. The career racing record of Wiseman's Ferry includes 16 starts, four wins, five placings and purse earnings of $825,266. He was trained by Niall O'Callaghan, was ridden in the West Virginia Derby by Jorge Chavez and, following his tenure as a Kentucky-based sire, now stands at Dana Point Farm in Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania ... Mountaineer's Deshawn Parker has led all North American jockeys in victories during each of the past two years. But it's unlikely he will top the standings on these shores in 2012. Through Monday, the leader was Russell Baze, with 332 victories. Ramon Dominguez was in second position, with 306. And Parker ranked third, with 301. Baze is 54 years old, is currently based in Northern California and continues to rides as brilliantly as ever - he is the all-time world leader in victories by a jockey, with 11,769. Baze's win ratio this year is an incredible 33.2 percent. Dominguez, who will celebrate his 36th birthday on Nov. 24, has received Eclipse Awards the past two years as North America's outstanding journeyman. He also won the 2003 West Virginia Derby aboard Soto in track-record time ... The $344 payoff for a $2 win ticket returned by Winter Ridge in Mountaineer's ninth race on Oct. 27 was easily the highest for the track this year, and may be the highest here ever (more research has to be done on this subject). The record for any West Virginia track for $2 to win is the $590 returned by the horse Zombro at Charles Town on Dec. 5 of its opening season in 1933. Winter Ridge is a 7-year-old gelding. He broke his maiden on May 11, 2008, at Presque Isle Downs. The Oct. 27 victory was his career fifth, gained from 58 starts, 49 of which have occurred in claiming company. Winter Ridge has now earned $120,846 in purses, which is pretty good, considering that he was purchased for only $15,000 at auction at age 2. Clayton Millwood rode him in his Oct. 27 effort, and Richard Markham is Winter Ridge's trainer.