Virginia Derby

July 15, 2009

Categories: General, Non-Daffodil

Download PDF

Is this coincidental that the talk is of naming horses after race horses.  This Saturday, July 18, will be the Virginia Derby.  Perhaps someone will name a cultivar after one of these horses. —cb

Nicanor, A Full Brother to Barbaro, Headlines $750,000 Virginia Derby Field

July 14, 2009

Battle of Hastings wins the 09 Turf Cup
He will be contending for the Derby
Photo: Kurtis Coady/Coady Photography

A field of ten three year old horses entered Monday afternoon’s post position draw for the 12th running of the $750,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II) at Colonial Downs. The < ?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />Derby, scheduled as the 11th of twelve races on this Saturday’s card, will be contested at the distance of 1¼ miles on turf.
Headlining the field is early 7-2 favorite Nicanor, a full brother to Barbaro, who won the 2007 Kentucky Derby and broke down in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later.
Owned by Lael Stables and trained by Michael Matz, Nicanor did not race as a two year old, but collected a tenth and two second place finishes in his first three races of 2009, all on the dirt. After a switch to the turf, the three year old colt broke his maiden by 15 ¼ lengths at Delaware Park on May 13th and won an allowance by 1 ¾ lengths in his most recent start, also on grass. Jockey Jose Lezcano, who guided Summer Doldrums to victory in the ’07 Colonial Turf Cup, has the mount aboard Nicanor.
Second favorite at 4-1 is the 2009 Colonial Turf Cup (Gr. II) winner, Battle of Hastings. Trained by Jeff Mullins and owned by Mike House, the three year old Royal Applause gelding is scheduled to arrive at Colonial Downs from the west coast on Tuesday. He was the first Turf Cup horse to set foot in the backstretch several weeks ago, and he will maintain a similar schedule on Derby week.
After breaking his maiden in the Lucid Thinking Handicap and winning the Landini Tractors Handicap, both in England, Battle of Hastings captured  a pair of stakes in America, both at Santa Anita. He has won five of ten lifetime starts and has earned $474,592. Jockey Tyler Baze will pilot Mullins’ horse for the sixth straight time.
Hold Me Back, winner of the Grade 2 Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park in mid-March, is the third choice at 5-1. Trainer Bill Mott, who conditions the Giant’s Causeway colt, has three Virginia Derby wins on his resume. He most recently ran in the Gr. I Kentucky Derby, where he finished twelfth after being bumped and squeezed at the start. He has been on the board in four of six lifetime starts and has earnings of $487,274. Kent Desormeaux will ride Hold Me Back.
The first and second place finishers in the June 13th Jefferson Cup (Gr. II) at Churchill Downs are next in line at 6-1. Owned by Darley Stable and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Florentino has been on the board in five of eight lifetime starts and has a bankroll of $167,312. Trained by George R. Arnold II, El Crespo, an A.P. Indy colt, finished second in that race by ¾ of a length behind Florentino. With an early race career that mirrors Florentino’s, El Crespo has finished on the board five times in eight starts with lifetime earnings of $167,326. Rider Alan Garcia, who won the ’08 Turf Cup atop Sailor’s Cap, will guide Florentino while Julien Leparoux, who rode Lime Rickey in this year’s Turf up, switches to El Crespo.
The second, third and fourth place finishers in the ’09 Turf Cup are back to challenge. Straight Story, Lime Rickey and Take The Points, one of two Todd Pletcher horses in the field, all seek revenge on Battle of Hastings. Straight Story missed by a head after going eight wide, while Lime Rickey and Take The Points both fell 1¼ lengths shy. Jockey Edgar Prado, who has three Virginia Derby wins, will pilot Take The Points.
Rounding out the field is Affirmatif, Pletcher’s other sophomore colt who is fresh off a second place finish in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont, and Safety Valve, the only local horse in the field, who has a pair of wins at Colonial this summer for trainer Rodney Jenkins.
Saturday’s under card features the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (Gr. III) and the $50,000 Kittens Joy Stakes. Gates open at 11 AM and the first race is scheduled for 12:55 PM.

Comments are closed.