(NEW KENT, VA — 9/3/19) —- The first season of the “Racing Revival” at Colonial Downs comes to a close Saturday night (September 7) with a stakes-laden card focusing on Virginia-bred runners. All five stakes races are to be run over the Secretariat Turf Course which has gotten rave reviews from the horsemen competing here this season.
Three of the events are 5-1/2 furlong-dashes with the other two to be run over a mile and an eighth distance of ground. Two-year-olds get their first state-restricted stakes chance in the $100,000 Jamestown Stakes at 5-1/2 panels. The 3-year-old and up distaff set will compete in the $100,000 Camptown Stakes (5 1/2f) and in the $100,000 Brookmeade Stakes (1-1/8m) while the remaining two stakes are open to 3-year-old and up of either sex – the $100,000 Punch Line Stakes for sprinters and the $100,000 Bert Allen Stakes for routers.
Something Special Racing and Stewart A. Smith’s Tryon Summer, wire-to-wire winner of the one-mile Nellie Mae Cox on Aug. 10, will attempt to extend her speed an extra furlong in the mile and an eighth Brookmeade. J. D. Acosta will again ride the Discreetly Mine filly for trainer Vickie L. Foley.
Runner-up Durven, who races for the Big Lick Farm of trainer Sarah Nagle, returns hoping the extra distance will work in her favor as she was closing on the winner last month. Jorge Ruiz gets a return call aboard the homebred daughter of First Dude. Another exiting the Nellie Mae Cox is the Susan Cooney-bred, -owned and -trained Fionnbharr, the 8-5 beaten favorite last out.
Of the new faces here, Ann Backer’s Ferdinanda is coming in off a runner-up finish in a second-level allowance at Saratoga on Aug. 1. Four for five in the money this year, the Barclay Tagg-trained Giant’s Causeway filly will have the services of Forest Boyce.
Quest Realty’s Speed Gracer looks for redemption in the Bert Allen after having his number taken down in the Edward P. Evans Stakes on August 10. The Susan Cooney-trained gelding was disqualified and placed fourth for stretch interference as the 9-5 favorite. Jorge Ruiz retains the mount Saturday.
Morgan Ford Farm’s River Deep, the adjudged victor last month, seeks the repeat for trainer Phil Schoenthal and jockey Sheldon Russell. Big Lick Farm’s Black Prong, third through the line but moved up to the place spot, also returns for the Bert Allen.
Also returning is the veteran campaigner Two Notch Road, owned by James Hackman and Glenn Thompson, who has more than half a million dollars in earnings from his 45 race career that includes seven victories including four in Virginia-bred stakes.
Seven of nine horses that competed in the August 10 Meadow Stable Stakes, including winner Elusive Mischief, return to battle again in the 15th running of the Punch Line Stakes. The 4-year-old Into Mischief colt won by a length over Braxton with Sheldon Russell in the irons. Russell also piloted Elusive Mischief to victory in the 2018 Punch Line at Laurel in a race that was taken off the turf and contested over a sloppy dirt track. The Ian Wilkes trainee is owned by Lothenbach Stables and was bred by Jim and Katie Fitzgerald.
Boldor, a Steve Asmussen trainee, is a former TDN “Rising Star” based off his maiden breaking triumph at Keeneland last October. The 3-year-old Munnings colt finished a tight third in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn this past January and followed three weeks later with a sixth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes. He has been idle since.
Tyson Gilpin Stakes winner What The Beep returns to action in the Camptown Stakes for Eagle Point Farm’s Karen Dennehy. The 4-year-old Great Notion filly gave Dennehy, whose locally based farm is in Ashland, an emotional opening week win. Jockey Forest Boyce, fresh off her third Virginia Oaks score on Saturday, gets the mount aboard What’s The Beep.
Kent Desormeaux will make a rare appearance in New Kent when he directs Holly and David Wilson’s Holly Hundy in the same race. The 3-year-old Yes It’s True filly had back-to-back wins at Santa Anita earlier this spring in respective maiden special weight and allowance optional claiming events. Nine fillies and mares will go to post in the 8th race.
Always one of the meet’s most interesting races, the Jamestown Stakes is for 2-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs. Dare To Dream Stable’s Embolden impressed opening night when he powered to a ten length, gate-to-wire victory in a $50,000 maiden special weight race. Trevor McCarthy will ride the Michael Stidham trainee.
Country Life Farm’s Belle Aurora won a similar turf sprint at Laurel August 16th. The Mike Trombetta conditioned filly won by two lengths after finishing a solid third in her career bow July 26th. Nine freshman participants will go to post in the sixth race.
Also on closing night’s program are two steeplechase events topped by the $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Steeplechase over 2-1/4 miles which has been carded as the third race. Post time for the first is at 5 PM.