Virginia Derby Purse Boost Attracts Top Trainers

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.

Mott's Orchard Park has been established the slight favorite over Drysdale's Flying Dash, the morning line pegging them at 7-5 and 8-5, respectively.

The race offers 3-year-olds a chance to run for half a million dollars going 10 furlongs on the turf. A field of seven was entered.

Orchard Park, by Hennessy, enters the race off a win at Churchill Downs in the June 8 Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT). Ridden that day by Mark Guidry, he will be piloted in the Virginia Derby by Edgar Prado and carry highweight of 119 pounds.

Orchard Park has won four of five starts this year including three turf stakes. Besides the Jefferson Cup, he won the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. III) and Gravelines Stakes earlier this year at Gulfstream Park. He is owned by Peter Vegso.

Flying Dash, though with a turf pedigree, was a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contender at one point this year. He won the Transylvania Stakes on grass at Keeneland April 5 in his first start of the year, causing his connections to consider the Run for the Roses. Instead, he ran in the Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) on May 11. Flying Dash won the race, but was later disqualified from purse money after a drug positive.

By Dashing Blade, Flying Dash is owned by Fusao Sekiguchi, who raced Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus. He will be ridden by Victor Espinoza.

The entire field, in post position order, with weight, jockey, and morning line:

Sunkosi, no rider, 115, 15/1
Jeremiah Jack, Robby Albarado, 115, 8/1
Kris's Prayer, Horatio Karamanos, 115, 6/1
Touring England, no rider, 115, 15/1
Orchard Park, Edgar Prado, 119, 8/5
Flying Dash, Victor Espinoza, 117, 7/5
Root With Style, Phillip Teator, 115, 20/1