Never On Sunday, Court Vision and Take The Points

CLN: A total of 43 horses have been nominated for the 7th running of the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup, scheduled Saturday June 18th at Colonial Downs in conjunction with three other stakes.

Since its inauguration in 2005, the Turf Cup has been s a 1 3/16th miles race exclusively for three year olds on turf. It served as a prep of sorts for the Virginia Derby (Gr. II), which traditionally is held four weeks later.

In an effort to bring past Turf Cup and Derby champions and entrants back to Virginia, Colonial Downs tweaked the condition to allow three-year-olds and up to enter the race this year. By doing so, the Turf Cup lost its graded status, but the new concept seemed to work based on the nomination list.

Of the 43 nominated, only one is a three-year-old – Son of Posse, from Janis Gerace’s stable. A total of 18 four-year-olds nominated, 15 five-year-olds, a pair of seven year olds and a nine year old.

A total of seven past runners have nominated, including Gio Ponti (’08 Derby winner), Court Vision (2nd in ’08 Derby), Straight Story (2nd in ’09 Derby), Workin for Hops (2nd in ’10 Turf Cup), Dean’s Kitten (5th in ’10 Turf Cup), Stately Victor (5th in ’10 Virginia Derby) and Kindergarden Kid (7th in ’10 Turf Cup).

Stakes coordinator Shane Burke had verbal commitments from Paddy O’Prado and Battle of Hastings, the last two Virginia Derby winners, but both sustained injuries in the past month and won’t compete. Paddy O’ Prado, who also captured last year’s Turf Cup, was retired several weeks ago.

Trainers well represented in Turf Cup nominations are Michael Maker with five, Christophe Clement with four, Kiaran McLaughlin with a trio and three time Virginia Derby winning trainer Bill Mott with a pair.