BATTLE OF HASTINGS (GB), NICANOR TOP DERBY FIELD

According to the Blood-Horse, a field of 10 has signed up to contest the $750,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. IIT) July 18 at Colonial Downs, including Nicanor, the full brother to Barbaro who will be trying stakes company for the first time.


But Nicanor is far from the most accomplished contestant in the 10-furlong event on the grass. Mike House’s Battle of Hastings, bred in Great Britain, is returning to the scene of his Colonial Turf Cup (Gr. IIT) triumph June 20 with a lifetime bankroll of better than $474,000. Jeff Mullins trains. In addition, the runner-up Straight Story and third-place finisher Lime Rickey will try the Secretariat Turf Course once again.

Japanese-bred Florentino is another Grade II winner vying for the Virginia Derby crown, having taken the Jefferson Cup on the grass at Churchill Downs June 13 following a third in the Transylvania Stakes (Gr. IIIT) at Keeneland for Darley Stable and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Another graded victor is El Crespo, who won the Palm Beach Stakes (Gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, and then placed in the Arlington Classic Stakes and was second to Florentino in the Jefferson Cup for owner G. Watts Humphrey and trainer Rusty Arnold.

Post time for the Virginia Derby is 6 p.m. ET.

The field, in post position order with weights and riders:
1) Affirmatif (Chris DeCarlo, 117)
2) Florentino (Alan Garcia, 121)
3) Take the Points (Edgar Prado, 117)
4) Nicanor (Jose Lezcano, 117)
5) Safety Valve (E. Camacho, 117)
6) Straight Story (Chuck Lopez, 117)
7) Hold Me Back (Kent Desormeaux, 117)
8) El Crespo (Julien Leparoux, 121)
9) Battle of Hastings (Tyler Baze, 121)
10) Lime Rickey (Cornelio Velasquez, 117)