It’s opening day at Mountaineer Park on Sunday in West Virginia. This will be the second track in West Virginia that will be racing this month, as Mountaineer joins Charles Town in the state. Charles Town has been racing for a couple of weeks now with an evening racecard. Mountaineer will do the same in primetime. Betting handle at Charles Town has predictably been through the roof since opening. They’re setting records with sports bettors scrambling for some action. The tracks only take a small percentage of the overall handle, so it’s not like they’re receiving a windfall.
Having said that, the tracks are keeping their heads above water and keeping the horsemen satisfied. They hope to allow fans to access on-track betting in the summer, preferably before the maor sports return to North America. The tracks that manage to pull that off might walk into a windfall. On top of the record off-track dollars online, that’d be pulling in money right at their facilities. The NHL and NBA still have a lot to work out before playing, and who knows what is going on with MLB. At this point with baseball, it’s more about the dollars and cents than public health, or so it seems to me.
In other words, Mountaineer Park and Charles Town would have a once in a lifetime opportunity if they can get their gates open to race fans and handicappers. Night time racing is appealing because of the convenience for gamblers in the evening. Mountaineer kicks off their Sunday card around 7:00 p.m. EST. Head below for our free Mountaineer Park selections for May 31, 2020.
Post Time: 7:25 p.m. EST
Distance: 5 Furlongs
We will get started with our first pick at Mountaineer Park in Race 2. This race will feature 5 furlongs of racing to decide a winner. Kiana’s Love and Loupacate should both be mentioned as potential winners in this event. I’d say that Stealing Sunshine at +600 carries some pretty decent value as well. Stealing Sunshine has 2 wins in 15 races in her career, but the latest win for her came on January 4, 2019. That was back-to-back wins for Stealing Sunshine, who hasn’t won besides the end of 2018 and early 2019. That said, Stealing Sunshine has been flirting with success, with finishes of 2nd, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 5th in her previous five outings.
Kiana’s Love, who I handicapped at Will Rogers Downs on April 21, is at Mountaineer Park for this event on Sunday night. That was a fairly disappointing run for Kiana’s Love. Despite showing in 3rd, more was expected out of Kiana’s Love. She was a heavy favorite and fell to 3rd with Love to Learn getting the victory. This was after Kiana’s Love won on March 30 at Turfway Park by 2 lengths. Overall, Kiana’s Love has won 2 of 8 races in her career.
She is likely to have a strong run in this event. It’s almost a guarantee, though that doesn’t necessarily translate into a win. There is value in this race on her biggest threat in Race 2, Loupacate. She has raced in three races and has made the most of it with two wins. The only problem for Loupacate here is the fact that she is coming off a lengthy layoff, with her most recent race in 2018, which was a win in France, where she was bred. This is Loupacate’s first start in the US. Despite the layoff, Loupacate is still probably the best horse in this field, though.
Post Time: 9:30 p.m. EST
There are only a coupe of picks I like on the Mountaineer Park card on Sunday. All it would take for a winning day is one of these to be correct, but let’s try for a perfect two for two day in West Virginia. This race will feature 5 furlongs for a $25,100 purse. Zipp On By, The Tabulator, and Nova Boy are on my shortlist for this event. For the value, Nova Boy doesn’t look like a bad bet at all. Nova Boy has won 8 of 26 races in his career and has been looking impressive of late. He has finished in the top-2 in three straight outings and in 4 out of his previous 5 outings.
From October October 11, 2018 to August 3, 2019, Nova Boy finished in the top-3 in 11 straight races. That included five wins and 2nd in the West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup Stakes (Black Type). Overall, Nova Boy has won 8 of 26 races in his career. He cannot be ignored at all in this spot.
Zipp On By was the winner of the West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup Stakes with Nova Boy 2nd in that event. He won comfortably in that race by 6 ¾ lengths. Things might change in this meeting, though. Zipp On By has gone 7th, 4th, 1st, 8th in his previous four performances, with a win on November 28, 2019. The form that we saw from Zipp On By hasn’t been present since then, so it’s not something to get too excited about on this horse.
The Tabulator has been involved in most races that he’s participated in his career. This 5-year-old has a great history, with wins in 7 out of 15 races in his career. He’s coming off a blowout win over Fast Pass by 6 ½ lengths in March. The Tabulator placed 2nd in September and then took a bit of a break.
He returned with incredible form and will easily be the horse to beat if he brings that performance to the plate tonight. The Tabulator won the Iroquois Stakes (Gr. 3) in 2017 at Churchill Downs and Golden Circle Stakes (Black Type) in 2018 at Prairie Meadows. He was even in better form in his most recent performance in March than he was then and that was against some heavy competition. If The Tabulator brings that effort to the equation on Sunday night, he will be enjoying a trip to the winner’s circle. I wouldn’t argue against a bet on Nova Boy as well.