Excited leads the way in the Virginia Oaks.

Excited leads the way in the Virginia Oaks.

Coady Photography

An Excited Virginia Oaks Victory

Winner has finished first, second, or third in eight of nine grass starts.

Michael Tabor’s Excited stalked the pace before taking control nearing the eighth pole and edged away for a half-length victory in the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs July 16 (VIDEO).

A 3-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway  out of Path of Thunder (by Thunder Gulch), Excited stayed off the early lead of Wyomia, who bumped with slight 5-2 favorite Dynamic Holiday and Pink Pallet just after the break.

With the leader setting moderate fractions of :23.97 and :49.19, Excited was in a stalking pace while three wide before inching closer around the far turn. Under jockey John Velazquez, the filly then made her move and had enough to steer clear of another closer, Summer Savory. The final time of 1:49.70 for 1 1/8 miles over firm turf was well off the course record of 1:46.58.

Sent off as the second choice, also at 5-2, Excited paid $7, $4.20, and $3.40. Summer Savory was worth $5.60 and $4.80 and those two combined for a $39.60 exacta. Despite the troubled trip, Wyomia held third, for $5, and rounded out the $237.80 trifecta. Rounding out the finish was Smart Sting, Dynamic Holiday, Pink Pallet, Mystical Star, and Sassy's Dream.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Excited has made nine of her 10 career starts on grass, winning three with four runner-up efforts and a third. She has earned $244,796. In her lone dirt start, the filly was eighth in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Previous to the Oaks, Excited  finished second to Bizzy Caroline in the Regret Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs.