There was a fair amount of debate about holding a Virginia-bred/sired two-year-old stake at Colonial Downs in early August. We used to run these races in Delaware and Maryland much later in the year, but both tracks have declined to host the races in recent years. Combine that with the fact that the Oakley stakes for three-year-olds hasn’t filled in two years, there were several generations of Virginia-bred/sired horses that had not had black type (albeit restricted) opportunities. Enter the Jamestown Stakes.

Of course the debate touched all the bases, starting with philosophical opposition to two-year old racing. Ultimately, the end users control that issue, so we didn’t spend too much time on that point. A fair number of Virginia-breds go through auctions in Kentucky and Maryland and the breeders of those horses need viable economic opportunities for Virginia-breds to appeal to auction buyers.

We then researched when the Va-bred/sired crop of 2004 made their two-year-old starts in 2006. What we learned surprised us. There were a handful in May, 26 in June and almost 50 in both July and August. We would have thought the number of starts would have climbed consistently through the summer and been highest in the fall. Not the case as July 2006 saw the most starts by Va-bred/sired two-year-olds. So an August race at Colonial seemed worth a shot.

Then the conversation turned to the quality of the race if it included maidens and first time starters. While most agreed that such a field isn’t optimal, ultimately everybody conceded to the simple fact that a small group of two-year-olds in August are bound to be inexperienced or unaccomplished.

We were pleased by the 15 nominations and the 11 entries. We understand from some sale pavilion talk at Fasig-Tipton last night that at least one of the fillies will scratch and maybe one or two other horses as well. This is to be expected with these horses and compounded by the incredibly hot weather.

The original Jamestown field of eleven ultimately included seven horses who were in the money in their fist start. Three are winners and two were second and third to one of the winners. Three are first time starters and one of them we know will scratch. The three morning line favorites are fillies. The field is expected to include T.J.’s Posse, who is trained by Steve Asmussen. Pillow Pal, trained by Maryland-based Hamilton Smith, and Storming Vow, trained by Speedy Smithwick and owned by Virginian David Ross, are other highly regarded entries.

The race will go off today on Colonial Downs’ final card at 8:16pm.