VIRGINIA DERBY LAUNCHES CAREERS
The Virginia Derby, inside the rails, could be is the turf equivalent of the Kentucky Derby on turf. It's run under nearly identical conditions as the Run for the Roses and attracts the best three year old turf horses in the country. It's stage alongside the Secretariat Stakes provide a short spotlight in a division that can have a hard time getting visibility in the national racing calendar. Many times attracts Triple Crown refugees seeking greener pastures as it has today with Optimizer. Saturday it also has 4-5 ML choice, Silver Max.
There's more to the lure of the Virignia Derby than attracting the best turf horses at three. It launches the careers not only of its victors like Gio Ponti and English Channel but also its players like Court Vision or Artie Schiller. With Silver Max however, this year's Virginia Derby can be looked at in a different perspective. With a different jockey aboard in every one of his six wins on the turf this year, his frontrunning dominance and rising ability, the method of his accomplishment is as amazing as the streak itself. The role of this year's Virginia Derby however, will be to validate a career that already has been lauched testing it for distance. With another bottomless effort Silver Max might be considered as the Seattle Slew of the turf.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I didn't want to miss another one"
- Winning trainer Bill Mott on Peter Vegso's Go Between's 2006 Virginia Derby win after winning in absentia with Silver Tree and Orchard Park, also owned by Vegso.
The weather started cooling off this week when Steven Spike's SWEETVIRGINIABREEZE won Thursday evening for trainer Chris Crocker. Wasn't it a bit strange that it started cooling down at Colonial Downs shorter after that win? Not the same irony for BIG DIVIDEND Thursday evening who only paid $2.20 in the opener going off at 1-9.