Virginia Derby contender Kitten's Joy, winning the Crown Royal American Turf.

Virginia Derby contender Kitten's Joy, winning the Crown Royal American Turf.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Three Graded Stakes Winners Top Field for Virginia Derby

Edited from Colonial Downs reports

Graded stakes winners Kitten's Joy, Artie Schiller, and Prince Arch headline a field of 10 3-year-olds for the seventh running of the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs on Saturday. The Virginia Derby, contested at 1 1/4 miles on the turf, highlights the inaugural "Virginia Million" day, which will also feature the $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) and the $200,000 Virginia Oaks.

Kitten's Joy drew post two and was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Derby. The El Prado colt was five for five on the turf until losing the Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) by a head to rival Prince Arch. Kitten's Joy had defeated Prince Arch in his previous two starts, the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) and Palm Beach (gr. III). Trainer Dale Romans has named Edgar Prado, the winner of the past two Virginia Derbys, to ride Kitten's Joy.

Artie Schiller comes into the Virginia Derby riding a three-race win streak. The El Prado colt scored daylight victories in the Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) and the Woodlawn Stakes on the turf in his last two starts. Artie Schiller's only turf loss came as a 2-year-old in the Pilgrim Stakes. The James Jerkens trainee is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. Regular rider Richard Migliore will be aboard.

Prince Arch will try to even the score against Kitten's Joy in what will be the fourth meeting between the budding rivals. Prince Arch came flying late in the Jefferson Cup to nail Kitten's Joy in the final strides. The Ken McPeek trainee was also a runaway winner of the Forerunner Stakes this spring. The Arch colt will break from post one under Brice Blanc.

No Place Like It improved rapidly this spring. The Real Quiet colt broke his maiden for a $30,000 tag on the Lone Star turf. No Place Like It then easily handled a first level allowance and was an upset winner of the $200,000 USA Stakes on Memorial Day. The Jack Bruner trainee is three for four on the turf. Bobby Walker Jr. has the call.

Jane's Luck is undefeated in three starts, but the Polish Numbers gelding has never tried turf. Jane's Luck won the Deputy Testamony Stakes against Maryland-breds in his most recent start. Trainer James Lawrence has named Oliver Castillo to ride.

Commendation was a stakes winner on the turf as a 2-year-old, but has yet to break through as a sophomore. Commendation was most recently third in the Kent Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and the Capote colt was also second in the Jersey Derby. Commendation is trained by Graham Motion.

Lipan was second behind Artie Schiller in the Woodlawn. The Mr. Greely colt most recently was a closely beaten fourth in the Jersey Derby. Lipan is trained by Gamaliel Vazquez.

King's Coronation is still a maiden, but has run well in stakes. The Red Ransom colt was forth in the Kent Breeders' Cup, a quarter-length behind Commendation. King's Coronation finished fifth in the Woodlawn. The Julio Cartagena trainee is the only Virginia Derby entrant to have raced on the Secretariat turf course, finishing second on opening day.

Irish Laddie will be making only his second start on turf in the Virginia Derby. The Michael Trombetta trainee is stakes-placed on the main track, but could only muster a fourth in a maiden special in his only turf try.

Class Concern won an entry level allowance at Delaware two starts back on the turf. The Concern gelding was most recently third in an off the turf allowance. Class Concern is trained by Lilith Boucher and will be ridden by Richard Boucher.

The All Along Breeders' Cup drew nine fillies and mares. The 2-1 morning line favorite is grade I winner Film Maker. Grade II winner Sand Springs is the 5-2 second choice.

The Virginia Oaks drew eight three-year-old fillies for its inaugural running. Multiple stakes winner Galloping Gal is the probable favorite.

The field for the Virginia Derby, with jockeys and weights, in post position order:

1†Prince Arch, 119, Brice Blanc
2†Kitten's Joy, 117, Edgar Prado Edgar
3†Class Concern, 115, Richard Boucher
4†Lipan, 115, Horacio Karamanos
5†Jane's Luck, 115, Oliver Castillo
6†Irish Laddie, 115, Horacio Karamanos
7†Commendation, 115, (No jockey named)
8†Artie Schiller, 117, Richard Migliore
9†No Place Like It, 119, Bobby Walker, Jr.
10†King's Coronation, 115, Michael Pindell