Several Triple Crown contenders are among the nominees for the $500,000 Virginia Derby, centerpiece of the upcoming meet at Colonial Downs. The turf event is scheduled for July 12.
Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, second in the May 3 Kentucky Derby and entered in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, is nominated to the Virginia Derby, as is Edmund Gann's Peace Rules, who finished third in the Derby. Bobby Frankel trains both colts.
Peter Karches and Catherine Wills' Dynever, winner of the May 10 Lone Star Derby and also entered in the June 7 Belmont, also is nominated to the Virginia Derby, as is Bob and Beverly Lewis' Senor Swinger, fifth in the May 17 Preakness Stakes and winner of the May 2 Crown Royal American Turf at Churchill Downs in his lone start on the grass.
Peter Vegso's Silver Tree, a full brother to 2002 Virginia Derby winner Orchard Park, also is nominated.
The Virginia Derby, at 1 1/4 miles, is part of a three-stakes program at Colonial that afternoon. The other stakes are the $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup Handicap, a grade III turf event at 1 1/8 miles, and the David L. "Zeke" Ferguson Memorial Steeplechase, a grade II test run under the auspices of the National Steeplechase Association.