Virginia Horses Dominate in National Stakes Races

July was a busy month for horses owned, bred and trained in the Commonwealth. Across the country, Virginia horses and horsemen were represented on the national stage. Two prestigious Virginia-raised horses, Wicked Strong and Tonalist, battled head-to-head down the stretch of the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga, with Virginia-owned Wicked Strong prevailing over the Grade I Belmont winner by 2 1⁄4 lengths.

Meet a few of the other horses that carried the flag for the Old Dominion this month.

Virginia-owned V.E. DAY

“I got to watch him train all winter, really liked him and liked him at the sales. Mrs. Bryant in particular liked English Channel and we bought him at the OBS March sale.” – Cindy Tucker

V.E. Day winning the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Photo courtesy Adam Mooshian.

V.E. Day winning the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga. Photo courtesy Adam Mooshian.

Winner of the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga

Owned by Maggie Bryant

By English Channel out of California Sunset, by Deputy Minister

Virginia-trained Awesome Pearl

“I was worried early, but when he switched down to the inner, I think that’s what did it, he likes a battle.” – Richard Valentine

Awesome Pearl after winning the Jonathan Kiser. Photo courtesy Susie Raisher.

Awesome Pearl after winning the Jonathan Kiser. Photo courtesy Susie Raisher.

Winner of the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga

Trained by Richard Valentine

By Awesome Again out of Gottcha Last, by Pleasant Tap

Virginia-bred Valid

“This race I just let him go. Everything set up perfectly. He’s a really great horse.” – Jockey Orlando Bocachica

Winner of the Grade II Monmouth Cup Stakes at Monmouth

Valid winning the Grade II Monmouth Cup. Photo courtesy Coady Photography.

Valid winning the Grade II Monmouth Cup. Photo courtesy Coady Photography.

Bred by the Estate of Edward P. Evans

By Medaglia d’Oro out of Grand Prayer, by Grand Slam

Virginia-broken Wicked Strong

“This is great. This is really great. The way he works in the morning, I don’t think Secretariat worked any better than this horse does in the morning,” he said. “I know the talent’s there. It’s just getting him to put it all together.” – Trainer Jimmy Jerkens

Wicked Strong defeated Grade I winner Tonalist, also raised in Virginia, in the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Photo courtesy Adam Coglianese.

Wicked Strong defeated Grade I winner Tonalist, also raised in Virginia, in the Grade II Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Photo courtesy Adam Coglianese.

Winner of the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, beating Grade I Belmont winner Tonalist (also raised in Virginia).

Owned by a Centennial partnership that includes Maggie Bryant. Broken at Centennial Farms in Virginia.

By Hard Spun out of Moyne Abbey, by Charismatic