I should have known better than to try and arrive at Colonial Downs 30 minutes before the first race of the Virginia Derby meet. People were crashing into each other on I64 and it took me 40 minutes from the highway exit to the parking lot, a distance of about 5 miles. I missed the first two races. Upon arrival they didn’t have anyone directing traffic, signs indicating that the preferred parking lots were full, or even attendants to tell people that there were no more handicapped spots. But they did have golf carts running from the far reaches of the parking lot to take the less mobile racing fans up to the entrance and fortunately the weather was lovely for the rest of us.
Apprentice jockey Sarah Rook just started her professional jockey career this year. She is currently third in the Colonial Downs standings for the season, including a win on the 30-1 longshot, Softly Lit, in the Tippett Stakes on Saturday. She won the Tippett by a head on the rail, so all you can see in my photo is Softly Lit’s head and nothing of Sarah at all. Here she is in an earlier race on Live the Dash.
Major Magic won the Chenery Stakes for 2 year olds. Major Magic has two starts, one on the dirt at Charles Town, where he broke his maiden, and now a turf stakes race.
The Chenery Stakes race is named for Penny Chenery, breeder and owner of Riva Ridge and Secretariat. Ms. Chenery attended the races and presented the trophy. I think she looks fabulous.
Excited was the winner of the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (gr III) stakes race for 3 year old fillies. Here she is approaching the finish line with John Velazquez, just ahead of Summer Savory and Kent Desormeaux.
The $600,000 Virginia Derby (gr II) is a 1 1/4 mile turf race for three year olds. Some very impressive horses have won it in the past including Paddy O’Prado last year. This year nearly every entry had at least one stakes win, many of those graded stakes wins. This is a photo early in the race of Benergy, Newsdad and Crimson China, none of whom won but I liked the photo.
Banned was the favorite going to post but he was edged out by Air Support and Alex Solis.
And here is Air Support looking very handsome in the paddock before the race.