07/15/2010 2:08PM

Check the Label on a roll going into Virginia Oaks


Everybody loves when a plan comes together. In the case of former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones and a homebred filly named Check the Label, the last few months leading up to the Virginia Oaks have gone pretty much the way Jones and trainer Graham Motion had hoped for.

“The filly has seemed to improve with every start this year,” said Motion, who will send out Check the Label in search of her third straight graded turf victory when the filly is strongly favored Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs

Ten 3-year-old fillies are entered in the 1 1/8-mile Virginia Oaks, the richest of the four undercard stakes on Virginia Derby Day at the New Kent, Va., track. Check the Label, with Ramon Dominguez to ride from post 8, has been pegged as the 7-5 favorite as she tries to follow up her wins in the Grade 3 Appalachian at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park.

“This has been the plan all along,” said Motion. “The timing is great, and Governor Jones was very keen to run in Virginia, which he has strong ties to. We’re very encouraged by the progress the filly has made.”

Martita Sangarita, a romping two-back winner of a Delaware Park turf allowance for high-profile trainer Michael Matz, looks like the top threat. Javier Castellano has the mount from post 2.

The Virginia Oaks directly precedes the Virginia Derby as the 11th of 14 Saturday races. In the other undercard stakes, all on turf:

◗ The $50,000 Kitten’s Joy (race 10) is one of the best betting races on the entire day, with Vanquisher, Forest Attack, Baltimore Bob, and Pleasant Strike all likely to take action. Thirteen older horses are entered in the 1 1/16-mile race.

◗ Colonial maiden winners Molly Mingun, Latika, and Valiant Star figure among the contenders in a field of 10 2-year-old fillies in the $50,000 Tippett (race 9) for 2-year-old fillies at 5 1/2 furlongs.

◗ In the $50,000 Chenery (race 8) for 2-year-olds, Z Appeal, an easy winner of his lone start, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for jockey Kent Desormeaux and trainer Dale Romans, the same team that will be favored in the Virginia Derby with Paddy O’Prado.