06/06/2013 3:04PM

Belmont Park: Rydilluc targets Virginia Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Rydilluc is undefeated in four turf starts, including the Penn Mile.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Rydilluc, regarded as the top 3-year-old turf horse in the United States, will point to the $500,000 Virginia Derby going 1 1/4 miles at Colonial Downs on July 13.

Rydilluc is undefeated in four turf starts, having won the inaugural Penn Mile last week and the Grade 3 Palm Beach at 1 1/8 miles earlier this year.

“The mile and a quarter is a specialty race, a lot of horses you think will go, won’t, and horses you believe won’t go, do,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “I think with him it’s all about how you ride him. As long as you reserve him for that last burst. He showed that burst in the Palm Beach, and he showed that burst the other night.”

Contessa said that how Rydilluc fares in the Virginia Derby would determine the remainder of his summer schedule. The Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington is run at 1 1/4 miles, while the Grade 2 Hall of Fame in Saratoga is run at 1 1/16 miles. Both races are run in August.

Contessa said Rydilluc has returned to training and was galloping over the Belmont main track early Thursday morning.

“He galloped by this morning but everybody was looking at Orb,” Contessa said, referring to the Kentucky Derby winner. “He went good, he looked great.”