The Saturday card at Colonial Downs features some very high quality turf races culminating in the $300,000 Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup! The
undercard also features the $40,000 Old Nelson Handicap, the $75,000 Da Hoss
Stakes, and the $100,000 Grade 3 Edward P. Evans All Along Stakes for fillies
and mares. This all-turf card provides some great racing and value for the
The Colonial Turf Cup has been run since 1995 and covers a
distance of 9 ½ furlongs on the expansive turf course. Past winners of this
race include English Channel, Battle of Hastings, Paddy O’Prado, and one of my
favorite horses, Rahystrada! Barclay Tagg’s horse Showing Up set the stakes
record in 2006 at a very fast time of 1:52.4. Two years ago the race actually
changed its condition to allow for three year olds and upwards!! Sweet!
Here are a couple of replays of past Turf Cups!
(Paddy O'Prado in the 2010 Colonial Turf Cup)
(Turbo Compressor in the 2012 Colonial Turf Cup)
Without any further nonsense, here is the field for the 2013
edition of the Colonial Turf Cup!
Kenny McPeek sends the likely post time favorite to Colonial
Downs after discovering Atigun’s new love for the grass. In his last two starts
he has a victory in a strong allowance race at Churchill Downs, winning on the
lead, and a second place finish in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap, missing the
victory by just ½ length to Dark Cove. Atigun was the 2-1 post time favorite in
that race and just missed rolling in late. I would expect Atigun to remain off
the pace in this race and jockey Julien Leparoux is very good with the closing
type of horse. This horse has also faced some very good company in the past.
This grandson of Giant’s Causeway and Afleet must definitely
be considered as a win contender in this race. Before posting a bullet work at
Belmont on June 16, this horse finished 7th in the Grade 2 Dixie on
Preakness day; being caught 5-wide at the quarter pole before giving way to the
pace-setting winner Optimizer. However before that, this horse had won two
Grade 3 stakes in a row on the grass to start off the 2013 campaign. This horse
has yet to go this long in a race, but he has the pedigree to get the distance.
As one of two horses with experience over the Colonial oval,
Air Support should be considered to win this race as well. Let’s not forget
that two years ago that this horse won the Virginia Derby by a neck over
Banned, then in the next season finished second to Turbo Compressor in this
very race. Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Shug McGaughey has spotted this
five-time winner well as an entry to this race and this horse has been working
out well as of late at Belmont. Lightly-raced thus far in 2013, Air Support
should be ready to go and will likely be near the lead at the end of the race.
This 8-time winner has fared pretty well since returning to
the USA from a stint in England last year. This horse has yet to miss the board
in 2013. Jockey Jose Lezcano retains the mount for trainer Chad Brown. Hyper
doesn’t have any graded stakes experience, but you can’t really ever count out
a Ramsey horse on turf.
This six-time winning Pennsylvania-bred will be ridden by
regional jockey Forest Boyce, whom HRN’s very own Gary Quill touted as a very
good turf jockey. Roadhog has fared well in state-bred stakes races however he
seems to be a bit overmatched in this field and I’m not sure this gelding can
get the distance.
To me, this horse looked a bit outmatched on paper, but
after looking a bit more closely, I would need to see how this horse looks on
race day. Lightly-raced as a four year old, this horse has four wins out of six
races already with two wins on the grass. Sure, he doesn’t have the Beyer speed
figures that the rest of the field has, but he has been training well and
trainer Graham Motion will have this horse ready to compete. I’m expecting some
improvement in his second start of 2013.
Did you know there is a road in and around Richmond called
Three Chopt Road which was originally called Three Notch’d Road? Hmm. Anyway,
this sole Virginia-bred in the field returns to racing after a three year
layoff. Having not raced since October of 2010, this horse jumped right back
into graded stakes competition finishing 5th in the Grade 3 Red Bank
at Monmouth back in May, and 3rd in the Grade 2 Monmouth. Both of
these races were run on the lead and Two Notch Road outran his huge odds in
both of these races. I’m definitely expecting this horse to set the pace in
this affair. The question is whether or not he can hold the lead the whole way.
As I mentioned above, I do expect Two Notch Road to set the
pace and lead for most of the way. This horse is improving in form and it will
be interesting to see if he can hold off the cavalry at the end. Atigun,
Roadhog, Swift Warrior, and Air Support should be off the pace, perhaps midpack
while the rest should be attempting to close from the back of the pack at the
end. General Logan could flash some early speed too, and that would cause some
trouble for the pace setter. Still, I expect the winner to come from off the
I’d really prefer to select a horse with some graded stakes
experience. That points me to Atigun, Swift Warrior, and Air Support. Unfortunately,
as I don’t eat chalk, I’m afraid that these three will likely be the top three
choices on the tote board. I think the wild-card here is the pace setting Two
Notch Road who really seems to be the only early speed in the race. If you’re
looking for a long shot play, try General Logan!
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog! I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old. Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!! I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!). I even had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!
While finishing school in Chicago, I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad. We took the time to develop computer programs (on the ever popular Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately. My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!
Since then, I have become more involved with horse racing each passing year through a variety of different media-based roles. Once deemed the "second best racing ambassador in Chicago" (hey I've been called worse), I now reside in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the USA and will be covering many different aspects of racing - in my unpredictable DARK HORSE STYLE!