EYES ON THE WOODFORD

Battle of Hastings heads to the 20009 Virginia Derby post parade.
 By Nick Hahn

Seventeen are entered in the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) but only 14 get to start in a race that has added interest to this year’s $400,000 Colonial Turf Cup, now open to older horses. 

The mile and an eighth of the Turf Classic includes Colonial veterans Doubles Partner, Al Khali, Stately Victor, Court Vision and Battle of Hastings.

For Battle of Hastings, having won the only one stakes in 14 starts since trumping through Virginia-the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs last fall-makes the Turf Cup an intriguing spot for owner Mike House.  Coming out of the Derby Day stake a return visit to Colonial might be sitting six weeks away. 

Battle of Hastings swept Colonial’s Twin Turf in 2009 by narrow margins in both the Virginia Derby and Colonial Turf Cup.  Owner Mike House brought in his colt in early in the week before both races, that he won by a nose each time over Straight Story.

Battle of Hastings schools one morning in Colonial’s paddock.
 Court Vision has captured the Woodbine Mile, Hollywood Derby and Shadwell Turf Mile, all Grade Ones.  Court Vision ran second a nose to 2008 Virginia Derby winner, Gio Ponti.

Court Vision who also started in the 2008 Kentucky Derby (13th) has earned over $2.6 million in his career almost equally earned on the dirt and turf.  While he has won 8  of his 27 starts, Court Vision has raced in Grade Ones in 19 of his 22 last starts.  The other three were Grade Twos. 

Prince Will I Am is likely to attract the wagering interest of England.

The Woodford is run on Saturday afternoon at 4:46 pm., the race just prior to the Kentucky Derby.