VA DERBY ACCORDING TO THE DAILY PRESS

Jul. 14 – Colonial Turf Cup winner Battle of Hastings will start from near the outside as he attempts to win the Virginia Derby on Saturday at Colonial Downs.

Battle of Hastings drew the No. 9 post position in the 10-horse field for Saturday’s $750,000 Derby, a Grade II stakes race for 3-year-olds on the Secretariat turf course.

The 12th Virginia Derby, a 11/4-mile test, is the second leg in the $5 million Grand Slam of Grass. Any horse that wins all four races — the last two are the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington in August and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita in November — earns $5 million-plus in purses and prizes.

Gates open Saturday at 11 a.m., and post time for the first race is 12:55 p.m. The Derby is the 11th of 12 races and is scheduled to go off at 5:59 p.m.

Battle of Hastings goes off as the second-favorite (4-1) behind Nicanor (7-2). Nicanor (below), a full brother of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, drew the No. 4 post and will make his first appearance at Colonial Downs and just his third start on turf.

Those two will be challenged by a solid field. El Crespo and Japan-bred Florentino are both stakes winners on turf and each goes off at 6-1.

The Nos. 2-3-4 horses from last month’s Colonial Turf Cup also are entered. Straight Story, which closed fast and lost by a head to Battle of Hastings, goes off at 10-1. Lime Rickey (8-1) rallied from a slow start to finish third.

Hold Me Back (5-1), trained by Bill Mott and with Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux up, makes his first start on turf after a poor run in the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has two horses entered: Affirmatif (8-1), which drew the No. 1 position, and Take the Points (12-1), which finished ninth at the Colonial Turf Cup and drew the No. 3 position.

This is the fifth year of the Grand Slam of Grass. Only English Channel in 2005 won both the Turf Cup and the Virginia Derby.

Saturday’s 12-race card also includes the $150,000 Virginia Oaks, a grade III stakes race, and the $50,000 Kittens Joy Stakes.