Virginia Derby the Headliner During Big Colonial Saturday

The $500,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II) is the richest and most important race on the Virginia racing calendar. In addition to being one of the largest social events in Virginia it also annually attracts the best 3-year-old turf horses, jockeys and trainers in the nation, including two champions and three Breeders' Cup winners in just the last five years, and 2013 looks like more of the same!

Kentucky Derby (G1) second Golden Soul seems to be all set for a run in this one for Dallas Stewart, and the son of Perfect Soul should handle this lawn just fine if his breeding has anything to say about it.

Penn Mile winner Rydilluc has been a superb performer on the grass for trainer Gary Contessa, and it’s likely this one will be favored today. The stylish son of Medaglia d’Oro is four-for-four on the turf with a Grade 3 win, and his fourth in the Bluegrass S. (G1) two back is also holding up well in what is becoming a key race. The Todd Pletcher-trained Jack Milton bagged the Transylvania S. (G3) at Keeneland and was last seen running a nice third in the lucrative and inaugural Penn Mile, a race that should have him set up well for this one.

Recent Regret S. (G3) victress Kitten’s Dumplings is looking like the one to beat in the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (G3).

Also on the Derby undercard is a trio of listed stakes; the $50,000 Kitten’s Joy S., $50,000 Tippett S. and the $50,000 Chenery S. Information for Virginia Derby Day at Colonial Downs

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2012 Virginia Derby Recap

Silver Max Wins 6th Straight Race in Saturday's Virginia Derby
July 21, 2012

(NEW KENT, VA) — Silver Max continued his string of impressive turf outings with a one length victory over Lucky Chappy in Saturday’s $600,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II) for three year olds at soggy Colonial Downs.

The 3 year old Badge of Silver colt had won five straight turf races in gate to wire fashion, each at a different track and each with a different jockey. Robby Albarado guided Silver Max in the second of those in the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Churchill and he returned to the irons at Colonial Saturday.

He broke from post six and nearly led all the way except for a brief period at the three-quarter mark when Two Months Rent stuck a head in front. Silver Max shook that off, opened a two length margin at the top of the stretch over stablemate Finnegan’s Wake then held on for the win over fast closing Lucky Chappy.

Silver Max, who had not run at a distance longer than 1 1/6th miles prior to Saturday, covered the 1 ¼ mile stakes in 2:04.05 over a yielding turf course. The winner, co-owned Mark Bacon and Dana Wells, returned $3.80 and completed an All Stakes Pick-5 wager.

With the win, trainer Dale Romans captured his third Virginia Derby tying Bill Mott for the most Derby triumphs. Romans previously scored with Paddy O’ Prado in 2010 and Kitten’s Joy in 2004. Nearing the end of a whirlwind day, Romans started in Saratoga and caught a plane to Delaware Park after the third race with jockeys Ramon Dominguez and Alan Garcia. After a pair of races at Delaware, the trio flew into the New Kent, Virginia airport in time for the 8:38 PM (EDT) Derby. Romans was slated to fly back to Saratoga where he noted, “I have champagne on ice waiting.”

Albarado also connected in the Grade III $150,000 Virginia Oaks atop Volcat, the evening’s other graded stakes race. Fresh off a pair of impressive turf allowance efforts at Churchill, Volcat bobbled at the break Saturday but rebounded quickly into second behind Boastful Dancer. The After Market filly took control at three-quarters and held on for a half length win over Filare I’Oro in 1:52.18.

A trio of $50,000 stakes led up to the graded pair and jockey Sara Rook captured two of them. She connected in both the freshmen stakes with I’m Boundtoscore in the Chenery and a gate to wire effort with Zip Cash Back in the Tippett. Colonial Downs leading rider Sheldon Russell directed Lentenor to a tight victory in the Kitten’s Joy after a thrilling stretch drive. A full brother to Barbaro, Lentenor earned his fourth win on grass.

Past Virginia Derby Winners

Year Winner Time Jockey Trainer
2012 Silver Max 02:04.1 Robby Albarado Dale Romans
2011 Air Support 02:00.8 Alex Solis Claude McGaughey
2010 Paddy O'Prado 02:02.6 Kent J. Desormeaux Dale Romans
2009 Battle of Hastings 02:03.1 Tyler Baze Jeff Mullins
2008 Gio Ponti 02:02.2 Garrett K. Gomez Christophe Clement
2007 Red Giant 01:59.6 Horacio Karamanos Todd Pletcher
2006 Go Between 01:59.7 Garret Gomez Bill Mott
2005 English Channel 02:02.6 John Velazquez Todd Pletcher
2004 Kitten's Joy 02:01.2 Edgar Prado Dale Romans
2003 Silver Tree 02:01.1 Edgar Prado Bill Mott
2002 Orchard Park 02:03.1 Edgar Prado Bill Mott
2001 Potaro 02:02.2 Brent Bartram Jonathan Sheppard
2000 Lightning Paces 02:02.2 Greg Hutton John Robb
1999 Phi Beta Doc 02:00.0 Ramon Dominguez Robert W. Leonard
1998 Crowd Pleaser 02:00.3 Jean-Luc Samyn Jonathan Sheppard