The first two legs of the $5 million-plus Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass at Colonial Downs drew 49 early nominations, including five graded stakes winners and five Kentucky Derby or Preakness runners.
The early nominations are good for both the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup (gr. II) and the $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. II). The Colonial Turf Cup’s fifth running, and its first as a Grade II event, kicks off the Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass on June 20 at Colonial Downs. It is for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16 miles on the Secretariat Turf Course. The Virginia Derby, the series’ second leg, will be run at 1¼ miles on the turf July 18.

The Grand Slam of Grass continues on August 8 at Arlington Park with the $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (gr. I) and will conclude on November 7 with the $3,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) at Santa Anita.

Barclay Tagg leads all trainers with four early nominations while Todd Pletcher and Doug O’Neill have three. Tagg won the 2006 Turf Cup with Showing Up while Pletcher won the 2005 Colonial Turf Cup and Virginia Derby with English Channel and the 2007 Virginia Derby with Red Giant.

The most accomplished early nominations include Santa Anita Derby runner-up Chocolate Candy, Illinois Derby runner-up Giant Oak and Lanes End Stakes winner Hold Me Back. Both Chocolate Candy and Hold Me Back raced in the Kentucky Derby and finished fifth and twelfth respectively.

Perhaps the most intriguing nomination is Nicanor from trainer Mike Matz. A full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Nicanor most recently demolished a maiden special weight field on the turf at Delaware Park by 15 ¼ lengths. That was his first start on grass after three winless efforts on dirt.

Other notables include Kentucky Derby or Preakness contestants Atomic Rain, Summer Bird and Take The Points.

Late closing for the Turf Cup is on June 8th. Late closing for the Virginia Derby is on July 6th. For more information, call Racing Secretary Tyler Picklesimer at 804-966-7223, ext. 1056.