A field of eleven three-year-old turf horses will highlight Tuesday’s (September 6) 19th running of the Grade 3, $300,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby which will highlight a stakes-filled card at Colonial Downs. .
Eleven races have been carded with a first post of 1:45 PM. The Derby itself will be carded as the 10th of 11 races with a 6:14 PM post and will serve as final leg of All-Stakes, All-Turf Pick-4 and Pick-5 wagers. The Pick-5 features a low 12% takeout.
Klaravich Stables’ Great Britain-bred Unanimous Consent, a Chad Brown trainee, is early 3-1 betting favorite in the field. The consistent colt started his career with three straight victories including a triumph in the Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct. That win was preceded by scores in a maiden special weight at Monmouth and an allowance win at Tampa. In the Almanzor colt’s most recent out, he finished a solid fourth in the Grade 2 Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont June 4. Brown is a four time Eclipse Award winning trainer. He won consecutively from 2016-2019. Manny Franco will ride from post seven.
Trainer Graham Motion will seek his fourth straight win in the Virginia Derby with Highclere Thoroughbred Racing’s Royal Patronage who is fresh off a pair of Grade I efforts in the Saratoga Derby Invitational and Belmont Derby Invitational. The Wootton Bassett colt, bred in France, finished sixth and fifth respectively in the pair, which are his only U.S. starts of 11 total. His previous nine came in England where he scored victories in the Grade 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes and Grade 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes. Joel Rosario will ride Royal Patronage from post position one.
Motion previously saddled 2021 Derby winner Wootton Asset, 2019 champ English Bee and 2018 Commonwealth Derby winner Just Howard. The 2020 edition was not held due to Covid and the ’18 edition was held at Laurel, since Colonial had not yet reopened. The Colonial Downs Group reopened the New Kent track in 2019.
Kitten’s Joy colt Limited Liability, second early favorite at 9-2, features the same owner-trainer combination as 2011 Virginia Derby winner Air Support — Stuart S. Janney III and Shug McGaughey. Limited Liability has a pair of wins and a trio of thirds from six starts and has competed in Grade 1, 2 and 3 events. He was third in the Grade 3 With Anticipation and took third in a pair of Grade 2’s — the Pilgrim and Pennine Ridge Stakes. Jose Oritz will ride from post nine.
Granpollo Stable’s Grand David comes into the Derby on a three race win streak. The 3-year-old Tapiture colt captured the trio at Gulfstream — a maiden special weight June 11 followed by an allowance July 3 and most recently, the Bears Den Stakes July 30. Edwin Gonzalez will ride from post 11.
Two-time stakes winner California Frolic boasts seven top three finishes from eight lifetime starts — all at Gulfstream — and a bankroll of $167,450. The California Chrome colt captured the English Channel and Not Surprising Stakes this spring respectively and was runner-up in the Bears Den Stakes most recently. Owned by Julian J. De Mora Jr. and trained by Armando De La Cerda. California Frolic will be ridden by Edgar Perez from post four.
Jermey Brooks’ Wow Whata Summer, winner of the Grade 2 Penn Mile earlier this year, is high money earner in the field with $304,000. The James Lawrence trainee has the most experience of any of the entrants at New Kent — the Summer Front gelding competed at Colonial three times last summer. After prevailing in a maiden special weight via disqualification of the initial winner, he went on to finish third in the Hickory Tree and fourth in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes. Overall, he has two wins from nine starts. Tyler Conner will be up top from post two.
Steven Newby’s Vance Scholars is fresh off a stakes victory at Laurel in the Bald Eagle Derby, which was taken off the turf August 6. The Holy Boss gelding has won two straight and three of his last four, but has yet to start on grass in six career outs. The Dale Capuano trainee will be ridden by Jorge Ruiz.
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Robert V. LaPenta, Gainesway Stable and Winchell Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Capensis also makes his third career start in the Derby. Todd Pletcher’s Tapit colt kicked off his racing career July 2 with a 1 1/16th miles maiden turf win at Belmont and followed that with a sixth at Saratoga in a turf allowance July 20 where he finished just 1¾ lengths behind the winner. Pletcher, a seven-time Eclipse award winning trainer, will seek his third Derby victory — he won with English Channel in 2005 and with Red Giant in 2007. Irad Ortiz will ride from post ten.
Susan and John Moore’s Catnip will make his third career start in the Derby. The Kitten’s Joy colt is trained Michael Stidham — the meet’s leading conditioner heading into final week action — and is fresh off a maiden special weight turf win at Colonial August 9. That one length win was at the Derby’s 1 1/8 miles distance with leading rider Jevian Toledo in the irons. Toledo will ride again from post five.
Also in the field is Three Diamonds Farm’s Camp David and Rachid Racing’s Marwad.
Four additional stakes will be held consecutively in races six through nine. The Woodford Reserve Da Hoss Stakes kicks off the Pick-5 and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Kitten’s Joy Stakes kicks off the Pick-4. They will be followed by the Exacta Systems Rosie’s Stakes and the Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks. An Oaks-Derby Double will be available in Races 9-10.