(NEW KENT, VA — 7/26/2020) —- River Deep, winner of the 2019 Edward P. Evans Stakes, will try to defend his title Wednesday (July 29) at Colonial Downs against six other Virginia-bred/sired horses including Todd Pletcher trainee Largent and 2019 Jamestown Stakes winner Embolden. The $60,000 one-mile turf stakes has been carded as the eighth race.
Morgan Ford Farms’ River Deep won last year’s Evans courtesy of a disqualification when initial first place finisher Speed Gracer was tagged for interference and placed fourth. Forest Boyce will ride the Phil Schoenthal trainee who enters with a bankroll of $298,130. The 6-year-old Arch gelding has a won pair of other Virginia-bred stakes — the Bert Allen and Hansel, both in 2018.
Dare To Dream Stables’ Embolden has earned “top-three” finishes in all six of his starts. The 3-year-old The Factor colt will make his 2020 debut Wednesday. He finished 2019 with a third in Remington’s Springboard MiIe and preceded that with runner-ups in the Atlantic Beach Stakes and Grade 3 Futurity Stakes at Aqueduct and Belmont respectively. Trevor McCarthy, Colonial’s leading rider last year, has the mount for trainer Michael Stidham. Embolden was bred by Nancy Terhune and Ernest Frohboese.
Twin Creeks Racing and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Largent brings an impressive resume into the stakes. The 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding is fresh off an allowance optional claiming win March 28 at Gulfstream. In five starts, he has three wins and two seconds with earnings of $98,670. Largent is 3-for-3 on turf. He was bred by Lazy Lane Farms.
Other entrants include Black Prong — who was third in the Evans last year — along with Fionnbharr, Carbon Data and Ismusbemyluckyday.
Six Virginia-bred/sired horses will compete in the $60,000 Camptown Stakes including 2019 M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes winner What the Beep, Jamestown Stakes runner-up Bella Aurora and New York/New Jersey invader Tan and Tight. The 5 1/2-furlong turf test for fillies and mares three and up is the fourth race on the card.
Eagle Point Farm’s What the Beep enters 2020 action with a bankroll of $153,503. Jockey Forest Boyce, who directed the winning Gilpin effort last year, will be up again. Trainer Karen Godsey’s home bred — a 5-year-old Great Notion mare — finished fourth in last year’s Camptown. What The Beep is 3-for-7 on turf.
Country Life Farms’ Bella Aurora is the highest money earner in the field with $154,140. The 3-year-old Carpe Diem filly capped off 2019 with a win in Laurel’s Gin Talking Stakes. Bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and trained by Mike Trombetta, Bella Aurora will be ridden by Keiber Coa.
e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Tan and Tight is trained by Michael Stidham and gets the services of jockey McCarthy. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly powered home in a maiden special weight January 19 at Aqueduct over a sloppy dirt track. She returned to turf in her only start since — a tight runner-up at Monmouth July 5. Overall, she has finished second in all three of her career turf outs. Tan and Tight was bred by Jim and Katie Fitzgerald.
Rounding out the field is Solarte — Camptown runner-up in 2019 — along with Determined Love and Chasing Midnight.
Tuesday’s (July 28) $40,000 Hansel Stakes, open to Virginia-bred, sired and certified two-year-old horses, will be contested at 5 1/2 dirt furlongs as the fourth race. Only three of the eight horses entered have made a start and each won their maiden special weight debuts — Natural Attraction, Merchant of Hope and Sky’s Not Falling, an early 9-5 favorite. The latter was bred in Maryland by Larry Johnson and won his five-furlong bow at Delaware July 1. The Seville gelding is trained by Trombetta and will be ridden by Coa.
Second early choice is David Ross’s Guillaume, who is a Kentucky-bred colt by Hard Spun. Trevor McCarthy will ride for trainer Stidham. Ross, whose stable name is DARRS, Inc., was leading owner at Colonial last year with five victories.
Others entered include a pair of Susan Cooney-trained Virginia-breds — Stay In and Canherun. Dare to Promise and Alpha Queue round out the field.
Colonial’s season continues through September 2 with cards every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 5:30 PM. A makeup card for Monday’s (July 27) heat-related cancellation will be held on Sunday August 2 at the same time. The track will feature a nightly All-Turf Pick-5 wager that covers the program’s final five races.
The 2020 race meet will be presented “spectator-free”. In Virginia, bets can be placed at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium or at any VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting location. Online betting is available through TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com. All of Colonial’s races will be aired on TVG. More details are at colonialdowns.com/wagering.