Seventy-six entries were taken for Tampa Bay Downs' Florida Cup Day worth an estimated $500,000, including six stakes races. There were 140 horses entered for the 12-race card.
Peter Vegso's Orchard Park, a winner in five of six starts this year, may merit favoritism in a well-matched group of seven sophomore grass specialists from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean assembled for Saturday's 26th renewal of the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) at Arlington Park.
Although the names wouldn't lead you to think so, Flying Dash and Orchard Park were heading into the fifth running of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs Saturday touted as a monster matchup.
It's nothing new: put up the money and they will show up to run. Colonial Downs has done that, raising the purse for Saturday's Virginia Derby to $500,000, which attracted the attention of such trainers as Bill Mott and Neil Drysdale.
Fusao Sekiguchi's Flying Dash was installed as the 7-5 morning line favorite when seven horses were entered for Saturday's $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.
The late nominations of Orchard Park, Flying Dash, and Van Minister has increased the potential quality of the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. The 1 1/4-mile turf race will be contested July 13.
Peter Vegso's homebred Orchard Park rallied through the stretch to defeat Mr. Mellon by a length in Saturday's $277,500 Jefferson Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.
Three horses who ran in Triple Crown prep races this spring will experiment with turf racing in Saturday's $250,000 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
One of the week's most competitive races could be Friday's Crown Royal American Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT). The $100,000, 1 1/16-mile event has lured a field of 10 sophomores to Churchill Downs.
Orchard Park looms the ultimate horse-to-beat in Friday's $75,000 added Gravelines Stakes, going 1 1/8 miles on the grass, for 3-year-olds because he's got the complete package working for him.
Orchard Park overcame an outside post and a wide trip to win Friday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. Under Jerry Bailey, the Bill Mott-trained 3-year-old completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.80 on firm turf.
Four last-out winners over the Gulfstream Park turf course head a well-matched field of 13 in Friday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles.
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