(NEW KENT , VA) — Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey have nominated seven horses to the 16th running of the $500,000 Virginia Derby (Gr. II) on Saturday July 13th at Colonial Downs. A total of 36 three year olds were nominated to the 1 ¼ miles turf test over the Secretariat grass course.
The seven are shared between trainers Mike Maker and Wesley Ward, who each condition a trio, and Todd Pletcher, who trains Charming Kitten, the remaining Ramsey prospect. Charming Kitten boasts a $349,000 bankroll from nine starts and most recently was second in the $500,000 Penn Mile.
Gary Contessa nominated Rydilluc, who is 4-for-4 on turf and on June 1st, captured the Penn Mile with three time winning Virginia Derby jockey Edgar Prado up top. The Medaglia d’Oro colt also won the Grade III Palm Beach Stakes in March and a pair of grass allowance races at Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct this past winter.
Chad Brown nominated a pair including Balance The Books, who triumphed in both the Grade II With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga and Grade III Bourbon Stakes last year. The Lemon Drop Kid colt closed out a successful freshman campaign with a third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November.
Brown’s stablemate brings even stronger credentials to the table. Noble Tune, 4 of 6 on grass, has earned $487,222 with victories in the in the Grade II American Turf May 3rd at Churchill Downs and the Grade III Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont. The Unbridled’s Song colt finished second, a notch ahead of Balance The Books, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Mike Maker has nominated five including Admiral Kitten from the Ramsey lot, a runner up in both the recent Grade II American Turf and Grade III Arlington Classic. His Fear the Kitten was runner-up in the Grade III Southwest Stakes and second in the Grade III LeComte Stakes earlier this year, but has yet to make a start on grass.
Todd Pletcher tossed four into the ring including Charming Kitten, who was ninth in the Kentucky Derby, Jack Milton, who captured the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on April 5th, and Notacatbutallama, who won the Grade III Hill Price Stakes at Belmont on June 15th.
Post position draw is Wednesday July 10th at 1:30 PM at Buffalo Wild Wings location in Richmond at 7801 Broad Street. The Derby has been carded as the seventh race with a post time of 8:12 PM.
Other stakes on the card include the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (Gr. III) and a trio of $75,000 stakes --- the Tippett and Chenery for two year olds, and the Kitten’s Joy. An All-Stakes Pick-5 wager will be available in races 3 thru 7.