Exotics Wagers for the Virginia Derby
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A talented field of 11 three-year-olds will go 1 1/8 miles on the Colonial Downs lawn in Saturday’s $500,000 Virginia Derby (G3). The grassy headliner on a big day of racing appears to be an attractive wagering event, with multiple contenders in the cast having a realistic winning chance.
Virginia Derby Exotics
#11 Program Trading (7-2) was assigned the widest post in the contest, but the unbeaten son of Lope De Vega is good enough to overcome the draw. One of two major players in the race for conditioner Chad Brown, the bay was a facile winner in the first pair of starts to begin his career, and he showed a lot of class and grit to battle back to eclipse the Saratoga Derby (G1) over a yielding surface in his latest endeavor. He has improved his Brisnet Speed figure in every career run to date, and the leading selection has also won from on and off the pace to this stage of his development, as well. Flavien Prat will come in to guide the sophomore.
I’m not sure what #3 Runaway Storm (12-1) has been beating, but the son of Midnight Storm has been pretty impressive, nonetheless. The speedy gelding dominated allowance foes at Indiana in his latest showing and has posted a trio of useful morning drills in the interim. The Ethan West pupil will be put into the race from the break by Colby Hernandez.
The Brad Cox-trained #4 Salute the Stars (4-1) gets back on the green following a trio of dirt tries in 2023 and could be especially dangerous under Sheldon Russell. The bay son of Candy Ride graduated like a good one on the Ellis Park turf in his two-year-old finale, and he has trained well this summer for a barn that really knows how to spot its horses. The Kentucky-bred will stalk the pace from the opening stages of the tilt.
Chad Brown’s #7 Activist Investing (10-1) is 2-for-2 since adding blinkers and is a logical top-three player with another move forward. The Kingman colt will have Feargal Lynch in the stirrups. And Shug McGaughey’s #9 Integration (8-1), who was the easiest of winners on this course at first asking, is another candidate to hit the board in the deep field.