By Tim Turrell-HorseplayerPro.com

The Low-Down: The inaugural Colonial Turf cup was run in 2005 and was won by eventual turf champion English Channel. It has developed into one of the premier 3-year-old turf races of the year, and this year looks to build on that reputation as it has attracted a strong field of 10. The Colonial Turf Cup kicks off the Grand Slam of Grass, which challenges its competitors to win not only Saturday’s race, but Colonial Downs’ Virginia Derby, the Secretariat (at Arlington) and the Breeders’ Cup Turf (at Oak Tree at Santa Anita). A sweep would be worth more than $5 million to the connections of such a super horse.

Our Eyes: Trainer Todd Pletcher always reserves the Colonial Turf Cup on his calendar. This year he sends out Take The Points and Al Khali, both of which were amongst his Triple Crown contingent of hopefuls. Take The Points didn’t do much running in the Preakness, but is bred to like the turf and appears to have bounced back with a strong training pattern.

Southern California trainer Jeff Mullins ships Battle of Hastings east off three very solid efforts over the lawn. Veteran New York-based trainer Frank Alexander has Lime Rickey ready to jump back into the stakes ranks off a strong allowance showing, where he earned a lofty speed figure. Lime Rickey lures hot-riding Julien Leparoux in the irons. Note that New York trainers have won this race all four years its been offered: Pletcher, Rick Violette, Barclay Tagg and Jimmy Toner among the quartet.

And last, but certainly not least, trainer Shug McGaughey sends out Rescue Squad, who is a royally bred son of Dynaformer and just starting to come into his own. You have to like jockey Edgar Prado back in the irons.

The Bottom Line: Almost any way you go here you’ll be getting some mutuel value. I would suggest an exacta box of three horses: Rescue Squad, Battle of Hastings and Lime Rickey.
Good luck in the Colonial Turf Cup!