Rumored for months, Colonial Downs has an agreement in place with CBS to nationally televise the 10th running of the $1-million Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). The one-hour broadcast begins at 5 p.m. (EST) July 21st with post time for the Virginia Derby set for 5:44 p.m.
The $200,000 Virginia Oaks, with its post time of 5:08 pm and run prior to the Virginia Derby, will also be shown on CBS.
The Virginia Derby is the second leg of the Jacobs Investments $5-million Grand Slam of Grass. The first leg of the bonus series is the $750,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) June 16 that will be broadcast on TVG.
Last week, the Colonial Turf Cup drew 78 nominations, including Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum Brands (gr. I) starters Dominican, Cowtown Cat, Bwana Bull and Sedgefield. Graded stakes winners nominated include Duveen, Whatsthescript, Marcavelly, Worldly, and Soldier's Dancer. Nominees for the Colonial Turf Cup are automatically nominated to the Virginia Derby.
With the agreement in place, the Virginia Derby will be nationally televised for the first time in Colonial's history. Previous winners of the Virginia Derby include turf champion Kitten's Joy and English Channel, who won the inaugural Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby in the same year. Trainer Bill Mott has won the Virginia Derby three times for Chicken Soup book publisher, Peter Vegso with Orchard Park (2002), Silver Tree (2003) and last year Go Between (2006).
The $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park Aug.11 and the $3-million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 27 round out the series that guarantees a $5 million payout to the winner that "slams" the four races.