HHR’s Virginia Derby & Oaks Preview

2013 Virginia Derby & Oaks

Virginia DerbyWe’re going to take a look at the Virginia Derby and the Virginia Oaks. First up on the agenda is the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks for 3 year old fillies, to be run at 11/8 miles over the outer turf. Let me just say that Virginia is a beautiful state and has embraced thoroughbred racing as one of its top sporting events. We have eleven three year old fillies that will be trying to add the Virginia Oaks to their resumes. So let’s see who the favorite is and let’s try and beat her shall we?

Blossom’s Trail to Spring in Oaks

Kitten's DumplingsIt looks like the morning line favorite is Praia. She ran in the June 15 Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs where she finished a fast closing second to Kittens Dumplings. The race prior to that was a stakes race and she finished second in that one to the same horse, Kittens Dumplings. On both occasions she was finishing willingly, but just couldn’t quite get the job done. I know her connections are hoping for better results here where she won’t have to face Kittens Dumplings.

Then there’s Three Hearts. She is another one who likes to come running at the finish. She has some impressive speed figures and guess what.. Joel Rosario is up on this filly. He is impressive himself, as evidenced by the triple crown races and I am sure the connections are thrilled they got him for the ride. But Three Hearts has never hit the board in a Graded Stakes event so we will see if Rosario can make the difference.

You know I like to stick my neck out a lot and it gets me into trouble sometimes and sometimes it pays good dividends. Well let me do it again here. There is an undefeated filly in here that is set in at 10-1 and her name is Blossom’s Trail. She owns some pretty good speed figures herself. She is coming out of an optional claiming race where she was claimed for $65,000. Normally I would not take a claimer in a Graded Stakes event but this field is a little iffy, if you know what I mean. The one thing I don’t like about her is that Edgar Prado is not on board again. He is listed to ride Cat’s Holiday in this race. However the new connections of Blossom’s Trail may not have asked him to ride or maybe he was already committed to ride the other one. Anyway she is my pick to upset this field.

Jumping Jack Milton For Virginia Derby

Rydilluc To Head Up Virginia Derby FieldNow on to the Derby. The Virginia Derby is a Grade 2 event going a distance of  11/4 miles on the outer turf course with a purse of $500,000. The morning line favorite is Rydilluc. He is coming off his win in the Penn Mile where he defeated Charming Kitten and Jack Milton who are both entered here. While he has won the 11/8 mile Grade 3 Palm Beach, I just don’t see him getting the distance in this race.

The other two horses that I mentioned here are both trained by…(wait for it) you guessed it, Todd Pletcher. Todd really gets around doesn’t he? And he seems to have at least two horses everywhere he goes. Well I am going to pick one of his charges to win this one and that is going to be Jack Milton. I like him to be first, War Dancer second and Rydilluc third.

Good luck guys and gals!



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Handicap Horses

Co-lead Author & Admin at Handicap Horse Racing
Mike Lane, Sr is co-lead author and administrator of With over 38 years of experience and a degree in the "School of Hard Knocks" for handicapping, Mike has seen it all when it comes to thoroughbred racing and wants to help other horse players learn how to handicap and avoid the mistakes he has made in the past.

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