Competitors from the three Triple Crown stakes—including Grade I Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike—and the top three finishers in the Grade III Indiana Derby are among the 31 nominees for the $500,000 Grade III West Virginia Derby, which will be held Aug. 6 at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort.

The 1 1/8-mile Derby for 3-year-olds is one of seven stakes on a nine-race Saturday program that begins at the special post time of 2 p.m.

Daniel Alonso’s Skippylongstocking and Simplification, owned by Tami Bobo and Tristan De Meric, finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Grade I Preakness Stakes May 21. Both colts are considered likely for the Derby by the Mountaineer racing office.

Skippylongstocking, by Exaggerator, has performed well in top company since arriving in New York after wintering in Florida. He finished third in the Grade II Wood Memorial Stakes before his fifth in the Preakness, and then finished a solid third in the Grade I Belmont Stakes in his most recent start.

“He’s going to the West Virginia Derby,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “He’ll probably arrive two days before the race. He has been training well (since the Belmont) and needed a little freshening. This race was the main target for him.”

Trainer Antonio Sano indicated that Simplification, by Not This Time, would make his next start in either the West Virginia Derby or the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing Aug. 23 as the colt prepares for the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby in September. Simplification won the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes and was a closing fourth behind Rich Strike in the Kentucky Derby.

Rich Strike, should his connections change plans and race in the West Virginia Derby, would be the second Kentucky Derby winner to do so—Mine That Bird won the first leg of the Triple Crown in the 2009 and later finished third at Mountaineer. Trainer Eric Reed has said the plan is to work Rich Strike at Churchill Downs a few times before he ships to Saratoga Race Course for the Grade I Travers Stakes in late August.

For the last five editions of the West Virginia Derby, the Indiana Derby winner has been victorious in three: Mr. Wireless in 2021, Mr. Money in 2019 and Cupid in 2016. In 2017, Colonelsdarktemper finished second in the Indiana Derby and second in the West Virginia Derby.

Actuator, owned by Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rags Racing Stable, Rick Howard and Gavin O’Connor, won this year’s 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby from just off the pace to defeat Best Actor and King Ottoman, both of which are West Virginia Derby nominees. Actuator, currently based at Churchill Downs with trainer Michael McCarthy, had a pair of third-place finishes on turf in his two starts as a 2-year-old and is now two-for-two on dirt in a pair of 2022 outings. A final decision on the West Virginia Derby had not been made as of July 28.

Trainer Brad Cox has the most nominees with five, including Gary and Mary West’s Best Actor. He finished only a half-length behind Actuator at Horseshoe Indianapolis after winning his first two starts.

The Aug. 6 card includes the $200,000 Grade III West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. The race has 46 nominations including Jon Lapczenski and JIL Stable’s Mr. Wireless, who would shoot for a Derby-Governor’s Stakes double. The Dialed In gelding won the Schaefer Memorial Stakes on Indiana Derby day in his second start of 2022.