Going into the Virginia Derby, there were a number of horses that could have won and I wouldn’t have been surprised. Battle of Hastings was one of those horses. What surprised many of us was that at a different distance, a different turf condition, and several different new players, the result was virtually identical to the Colonial Turf Cup.
The first two finishers from the Turf Cup settled the Virginia Derby by the same margin. The top four finishers in the Turf Cup were the top four finishers in the Virginia Derby other than Lime Rickey and Take the Points switching positions.
Battle of Hastings (pictured) - At 7-2 his Virginia Derby win is validating. Will he be underrated again, if he even goes to Arlington? Great horses can run under any turf condition.
Straight Story - Alan Goldberg has missed winning 4 major 3-year old turf stakes at Colonial Downs by a combined margin of [ this much ]. Next start - the Kent Breeder’s Cup at Delaware Park. Reb - His American Derby rally was the best in a major race before the Virginia Derby. The biggest threat to foiling the Grand Slam.
Giant Oak - First ‘09 turf start convincing in the Arlington Classic. A bump in the American didn’t give him a fair shot at the wire, but he shouldn’t have been that far back.
Lime Rickey - His rally was too late in the Colonial Turf Cup. Should he be more forwardly placed, the Virginia Derby distance would suit him. One more pass with the Virginia Derby soft turf, but he’s running out of excuses.
Take the Points - Much better peformance in the Virginia Derby when Prado tried to shoot him up the rail and finished inside a length of the winner.
No Inflation - Never seems to have his head in the right place. Put his head in front of El Crespo in the Jefferson stretch. Would have won the American if not for Reb’s run.
El Crespo - Another solid outing in the Jefferson. Might have won with an extra half furlong or so. One really flying under the radar despite seeing the toughest foes this spring.
Florentino - When he wins, he wires as he did in the Jefferson Cup and two previous allowance wins. Despite finishing last in the Virginia Derby, willing to keep him on the list because he has showed winning ability on a firmer surface. May be more of a miler.
Nicanor - A disappointing scratch in the Virginia Derby due to a poorly-timed minor injury. He has some big horseshoes to fill and needs to find a stakes race to win on the turf.
OFF THE LIST: Affirmatif was granted a pass in the Hill Prince that was pulled to the dirt. He seems to prefer to run better on the firmer going. Could return back to the “Ten” quickly.
NEWCOMERS: Take the Points showed much improvement from his Turf Cup outing in the Virginia Derby. With his rally, he may have exerted Straight Story just enough to open the door for Battle of Hastings.