07/13/2009 12:00AM

Colonial Cup rematch in Virginia Derby


The top four finishers from the Colonial Cup will be joined by a host of talented new shooters when the showcase race at Colonial Downs, the $750,000 Virginia Derby, is run Saturday in New Kent, Va.

Battle of Hastings, winner of the June 20 Colonial Cup, was assigned post 9 in a field of 10 3-year-olds entered Monday in the 12th running of the Virginia Derby, a Grade 2 race set for 1 1/4 miles over the spacious Colonial turf course. Tyler Baze has a return call for trainer Jeff Mullins.

Straight Story, beaten just a head in the Grade 2 Colonial Cup despite being carried very wide, drew post 6 and will be ridden again by Chuck Lopez. Lime Rickey and Take the Points, the third and fourth finishers that day, were assigned posts 10 and 3, respectively, for Saturday.

Besides the Colonial Cup returnees, the Virginia Derby also drew Nicanor (post 4), the promising full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro; Hold Me Back (post 7), most recently 12th in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Lane's End Stakes and finishing second in the Blue Grass Stakes; Affirmatif (post 1), a flashy Unbridled's Song colt who easily won the Woodlawn Stakes on the May 16 Preakness undercard for trainer Todd Pletcher; Florentino (post 2) and El Crespo (post 8), the one-two finishers in the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup last month on the Churchill Downs turf; and Safety Valve (post 5), who figures as the longest shot in the race as he makes his stakes debut.

The Virginia Derby is the second of four legs in the Grand Slam of Grass bonus series, which only Battle of Hastings, as winner of the Colonial Cup, remains eligible to sweep. The Aug. 8 Secretariat and the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Turf are the remaining legs.

The Virginia Derby is carded as the 11th of 12 Saturday races, with post time set for 5:59 p.m. Eastern. It will anchor an all-stakes pick three, with the $50,000 Kitten's Joy (race 9) and the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (race 10) leading into it. The Virginia Oaks, a Grade 3 race at 1 1/8 miles, drew a field of 11 3-year-old fillies.

Among the other jockeys named for Saturday at Colonial are Kent Desormeaux, Edgar Prado, Julien Leparoux, Cornelio Velasquez, Alan Garcia, and Jose Lezcano.

TVG will provide live coverage of the entire Colonial card.