Nominations for Virginia-Bred Stakes Day at Colonial Downs, which headlines opening week festivities on Saturday July 15 with a four-pack of $125,000 turf stakes for Virginia-bred and Virgnia-sired horses, closed on July 1.
The top three finishers in the 2022 Edward P. Evans Stakes were among 20 who nominated for the one-mile turf test open to three-year-olds and up. Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Largent, Ten Strike Racing’s Alex Joon and Ballyerin Racing’s Kendama may be poised for a rematch.
In addition to last year’s Evans victory, Largent captured the 2020 edition along with the Bert Allen Stakes the same year. The 7-year-old Into Mischief gelding, bred by Lazy Lane Farms, has bankrolled $609,320 from seven wins and five seconds. Alex Joon, who finished one-half length behind Largent, has earned $232,399 from 25 starts. In addition to his second, the 6-year-old Flatter gelding won a turf allowance at Colonial one month after the Evans. Kendama took third in both the Evans and Bert Allen Stakes and sandwiched a second between the pair in a New Kent turf allowance. The 6-year-old Uncle Mo gelding was bred by Audley Farm Equine.
The top three Punch Line Stakes finishers from last year also nominated including D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock’s Determined Kingdom, who prevailed by a convincing 5 ½ lengths. The 4-year-old Animal Kingdom gelding was also best in the ’21 Jamestown Stakes. The Phil Schoenthal trainee, also bred by Audley Farm Equine, has earned $250,189 from 15 outings. Larry Johnson’s Embolden, the Punch Line runner-up, also took second in the ’20 Evans and reached the winners circle in the ’19 Jamestown. The Michael Trombetta trainee has a robust $342,641 bankroll. Ed & Susie Orr’s Boldor finished third in the ’22 Punch Line and won the Meadow Stable Stakes last summer. The Steve Asmussen trainee captured the 2021 Punch Line and boasts a bankroll of $562,183.
Reiley McDonald’s 7-year-old Hold Me Back gelding Passion Play nominated as well. In 2021, he won both the Evans and Bert Allen Stakes. The Mary Eppler trainee has a career bankroll of $311,497 from 26 starts. In all, 23 horses, age three and up, nominated for the 18th running of the Punch Line to be contested at 5 ½ furlongs.
2022 M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes winner Chambeau heads a list of 17 nominees to the 2023 edition, slated for fillies and mares three and up at 5 ½ furlongs. Owned and bred by Sam English II, the lightly raced 6-year-old Karakontie mare has made just five life starts — all last year. Robert D. Bone and Edward J. Brown Jr.’s Carolina Sun, second in last year’s Gilpin, also nominated. The 4-year-old Summer Front filly, bred by Susan Cooney, had a trio of top three finishes at Colonial last summer. Stonestreet Stables’ Aisha R N, an Asmussen trainee, nominated as well and is fresh off a turf allowance triumph at Lone Star May 11. This year’s stakes has been renamed to also include former VTA Executive Director Glenn Petty in its title, along with Gilpin.
The Brookmeade Stakes, for fillies and mares three and up at 1 1/16th miles, attracted 15 nominations including Chambeau — also nominated for the Gilpin/Petty — and ’22 Jamestown runner-up Bee Mountain. The latter is trained by Ferris Allen and was bred by Audley Farm Equine. Another nominee — Morgan’s Ford Farm’s Surya — had a maiden special weight and an allowance turf win at Colonial last summer. The 4-year-old daughter of Street Sense is trained by Brittany Russell.
Entries close for the Commonwealth four-pack on Wednesday July 12. Colonial Downs ushers in its annual summer racing season Thursday September 13 at 1:30 PM. The 9-week campaign continues through September 9 with cards every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 1:30 PM.