Saturday Stakes Selections for Colonial Downs

August 31st, 2023

A handful of black-type events on the turf for the Virginians will highlight a big Saturday of racing at Colonial Downs.

Race 2 – Bert Allen S.

The 1 1/16-mile turf test attracted six and I will give top billing to the Michael Stidham-trained #4 Palio in the contest. The Twirling Candy five-year-old was a sharp local allowance winner off the layoff last time to register his third win from five tries on the course. The gelding lands in a very winnable spot with Antonio Gallardo returning to the irons.

Race 6 – Nellie Mae Cox S.

A total of 12 fillies and mares will travel 1 1/16 miles on the green in a competitive affair. #5 Naval Empire, one of three in the cast for trainer Michael Trombetta, didn’t fire at Laurel most recently but can be a major player against this cast with her top showing. This Empire Maker four-year-old has surely improved since switching to the lawn and she could sit a nice trip from off the pace on Saturday with Victor Carrasco inheriting the mount.

Race 7 – Meadow Stable S.

A total of seven males will dash 5 1/2 panels on the lawn in this heat. If #4 Determined Kingdom repeats his stakes win two back on the oval in this spot, then the Phil Schoenthal pupil will be especially tough to upend. The Animal Kingdom gelding failed as the favorite in the dash in 2022, but he shows good current form and has the early foot to be involved from the opening bell under Carrasco.

Race 8 – Jamestown S.

Juvenile fillies will speed 5 1/2 panels on the turf with eight set to go postward. Stidham’s #3 Still Temper ran evenly in a dirt dash locally when going to the gate favored, and a major improvement on the surface change is expected in the event. This daughter of Arrogate has a turf-winning sibling and goes for a conditioner who wins at a nice rate with horses trying the grass for the initial time. The gray will have Carol Cedeno in the stirrups.

Race 9 – Camptown S.

A dozen fillies and mares will jaunt 5 1/2 grassy furlongs in the final stakes race of the afternoon. Michael Trombetta’s #11 Spun Glass will look to defend his title in the sprint, and I believe that he has a big chance to do so with Feargal Lynch in the silks. The six-year-old daughter of Hard Spun ran evenly in a very tough dash at Saratoga most recently, and she will relish the return to this venue where she dons a 4-2-0-1 lifetime line. The chestnut will be relaxed early behind a fast and contested early tempo before mowing them down late.