Won at 3VIRGINIA DERBY
(T 10f , defeating Kicken Kris, King's Drama (IRE), Senor Swinger, Sigint, Rowans Park, Christmas Away, Hatton Cross ).
Last year Orchard Park won the Virginia Derby by 11/2 lengths over Flying Dash, getting the 11/4-mile turf distance in 2:03.10. This year, Silver Tree, a full brother to Orchard Park, returned owner Peter Vegso’s silks to the Colonial Downs winner’s circle by scoring an identical, 11/2-length win in the 2003 edition of the Virginia Derby on July 12. Silver Tree stopped the clock at 2:01.11—two seconds better than Orchard Park’s clocking a year ago.
Orchard Park and Silver Tree are out of the With Approval mare Blue Begum, who Vegso purchased carrying Orchard Park for $200,000 at the 1998 Keeneland November mixed sale from the consignment of Glencrest Farm, agent.
Blue Begum foundered and died in 2002 after foaling a War Chant colt, Honoring Blue. The mare’s 2-year-old colt, Silver Blue (by Silver Deputy), was entered but withdrawn from two public auctions in 2002 and 2003. Early plans call for both foals to race in Vegso’s colors.
Orchard Park last finished sixth in the April 6 Cherokee River Stables Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs. He has a career record of 14-6-2-2 and earnings of $663,185.
Vegso is the publisher of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series and owns a farm, The Racing Edge, near Ocala, Fla.
Hennessy is the sire of Silver Tree and 25 other added-money winners. Among 11 2003 stakes winners are Blazonry (gr. II), Heckle (gr. III), Half Hennessy (Aust-I), and Grand Armee (Aust-I). Hennessy stood the 2003 season at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2003 fee was $35,000. He will shuttle to Coolmore Australia for the 2003 Southern Hemisphere season.—L.D.
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