Friday, July 15, 2011

On The Turf

The biggest weekend of racing at Colonial Downs is here with some great turf racing including the Gr.3 Virginia Oaks and the Gr.2 Virginia Derby. And though they have had some rain there in the last few days, if the weather stays dry, the course should be firm.

A very nice group of 3 year old fillies get together in the Oaks.

Dynamic Holiday (love the Harlan’s Holidays on turf) is coming off a 4 win streak but has not started in 4 months. She has run well off a layoff before and is the high weight (122). And like all the fillies in here, except one, she has never run over the course. Already a winner of a Grade 3, this filly has done nothing wrong. There’s no doubt she is the class of the field, but if there’s a day to beat her it could be Saturday. The layoff, the top weight and the fact that she has never run at Colonial is enough to make me look around for something else, especially if she is the hot favorite.

The Pletcher-trained graded stakes- placed Excited is coming off a nice second to the very talented Bizzy Caroline who is entered to run in the Gr.1 American Oaks Saturday at Hollywood Park. That in itself makes this filly very interesting.  Excited has a little speed and breaking from the outside, and with no real speed in the race, she could inherit the lead.

Two fillies on the upswing are Summer Savory, undefeated on turf with two back to back victories in big fields at Arlington. And the regally bred Smart Sting who just may want a little more distance. She is coming in with some very sharp works.

There’s a bit of “buzz” on the filly Wyomia. Winless on turf, but she did more than split the field in last year’s BC Juvenile Fillies on turf, she has a “best of 11” work on the Colonial turf a week ago.

A long shot to consider in exotics is Pink Pallet. The only one to have ever started on this turf course, she is 2 for 3 over it and will be closing in the lane. Though she needs to step up against these, she is a "horse for course."

I will take a look at the post parade and conditions of the turf, but as you can see, there are several ways to go in here. It’s a nice race for a few dime super boxes.

The Virginia Derby is 1 &1/4 over the Secretariat Course, and another great betting race. It’s a full field at 12 with at least half of the field looking very “ live." Banned, of course, looks like the horse to beat. Coming off 2 graded stakes wins, he is the highweight. But like all the other 3 year old colts in here, he has to run further than he ever has.

A few of the talented colts in here that might love the extra real estate are Air Support, Street Game, Newsdad, Casino Host and longshot  Callingahardten. Some very nice recent pictures of a few of them  can be found on  the Virginia Thoroughbred blog. Callingahardten is stunning. 

The New York-bred Street Game has been getting better and better and could continue to improve.

I have been a big fan of Newsdad, and he is returning to what I think is his preferred surface.

Casino Host did not appear to like the yielding turf last time. If you put a line through the last, he’s another that could run big at a nice price. The distance should not be a problem.

If Shug thinks this is a good spot for Air Support, you have to respect that.
And how can you dismiss Benergy, who finished second to  Banned in his last?

A challenging race to bet, (well aren't they all?) Take a look at these 3 year olds in the post parade and watch the board too.
Good luck and enjoy the great grass racing this weekend.  


  1. Susan,
    Two nice races at Colonial Downs tomorrow and the VA Derby looks wide open. I'm also a big fan of Casino Host and Newsdad and they should offer great value. One horse I absolutely love is Crimson China. What do you think of his chances?

  2. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for stopping by. Anything Motion trains and J.Lep rides is always live and has a big shot. But I think Crimson China has to step way up. First of all the Lamplighter was light- short field, and allownace types. Second of all, his works are uninspiring. But maybe that's just him. I think the fact that he came from the lesser tracks in England last year (earnings of $4,500 with a win and a second) puts me off a little. The fact that Garcia went to Newsdad, who he has ridden twice, but not on turf, and did not get back on CC, who he had won on....????.... but maybe that was TeamV's decision.... Also the Giant's Causeway will have to carry him the whole way ( and it could)... He's not for me, but I certainly could be wrong, he could beat me. I just like too many others in here a whole lot more. Good luck in your wagers.

  3. Hi Steve (again)
    Am I missing something about Crimson China????

  4. No, I don't think you're missing anything in particular. I like the connections, although you raise a great point about Garcia switching to Newsdad. However, we don't know if he actually chose him over Crimson China or Team Valor preferred J. Lep.

    Guess what I like most about Crimson China is he never runs a bad race and you can make excuses for all his losses. This is a good field and may come down to who gets the best trip. Btw, if memory serves, I recall that before the Rushaway and Spiral Stakes, Team Valor was more enthused about Crimson China's chances as a potential Derby starter than Animal Kingdom.

  5. Steve,
    You know, I think you are right about Team V's being high on this colt, early on. Can't leave him out, I guess.

  6. Susan,
    You were right to question Crimson China (and i was wrong), he had no rally in the stretch. Air Support and Banned ran huge and Casino Host and Newsdad did not disappoint either. Hope you did well yesterday.

  7. Steve...did I tell you that lots of times I know how to pick'em , but then I don't know how to bet'em?
    Classic case of liking the right ones, but not betting them the way I should have.
    Looking forward to lots of turf opps at Saratoga!
    Thanks for stopping by!