Colonial Turf Cup Attracts Older Crowd
The Colonial Turf Cup, opened up this year to competitors of all ages, attracted a field of eight to Colonial Downs for the $500,000 event to be held the evening of June 18.
The race, to be contested at 1 3/16 miles, immediately follows the Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles. The Colonial Turf Cup is the eighth race on the program with a 7:55 p.m. EDT start time. The All Along, recently named in honor of the late Virginia breeder and owner, is race 7 at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
When they decided to switch the Colonial Turf Cup from a race restricted to 3-year-olds -- which caused it to lose its grade II status -- officials gave as their reason the hope it would attract past winners of the Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). That may happen down the road, but not in 2011.
Last year's Virginia Derby winner, Paddy O'Prado , was recently retired, and the 2009 victor, Battle of Hastings, underwent surgery to repair a condylar fracture to his right front leg in May. The 2008 winner, Gio Ponti , was nominated to the race but ran in the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 11 instead.
Smart Bid, trained by Graham Motion, finished second by three-quarters of a length to Get Stormy in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) in his most recent start May 7. The 5-year-old son of Smart Strike won the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots by a nose March 26 after losing the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) by the same margin seven weeks earlier.
Regular pilot Edgar Prado has the mount once again on the consistent Smart Bid, who owns a 4-5-4 mark in 15 starts with earnings of $651,278.
Court Vision, scratched from the June 10 Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont, endured a wide trip in the Woodford Reserve and finished ninth after beginning the year with a fourth in the Maker's Mark Mile (gr. IT) on the Keeneland turf April 15.
The 6-year-old son of Gulch is seeking his first win since taking the Woodbine Mile (Can-IT) in September. He is lifetime earner of more than $2.6 million with eight wins and eight placings in 28 starts. Ramon Dominguez gets the call on Court Vision, who breaks from the far outside post.
Also coming out of the Woodford Reserve are fourth-place Rahystrada, a multiple grade III winner, and Moryba, who was sixth. Trained by Bill Mott, the 5-year-old Brazilian-bred Moryba missed by a head to Smart Bid as the favorite in the Muniz.
Guys Reward, trained by Dale Romans for owner Michael Bruder, is another leading contender. The 4-year-old Grand Reward colt nearly stole the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 12 furlongs May 29 at Churchill before being denied in the final strides and losing by a head.
Motion also saddles a pair for the All Along, including Flaxman Holdings homebred Aruna, winner of the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) at Churchill last November. In her only start so far this year, the 4-year-old daughter of Mr. Greeley finished a good second to Aviate in Churchill's Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT) May 7.
Jack Swain III's Apple Charlotte, a 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike seeking her first stakes win, was also entered by Motion.
Augustin Stable is represented by British homebred Dyna Waltz, trained by Jonathan Sheppard. The 4-year-old Dynaformer filly ran second in the Gallorette Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico Race Course May 21 in her second start start in the United States.
Baltimore Belle, fifth in the Gallorette, won Pimlico's Dahlia Stakes before that for trainer Michael Trombetta.
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