07/11/2013 3:19PM

Colonial Downs: Rydilluc tries to stay perfect on grass in Virginia Derby


On June 1 at Penn National, the unofficial title of the country’s top 3-year-old turf miler was decided when Rydilluc defeated Charming Kitten and Jack Milton in the $500,000 Penn Mile, the richest race for sophomore turf horses run to that point in 2013.

A month and a half later, Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Virginia Derby is set to determine the 3-year-old pecking order going the longer turf distance of 1 1/4 miles.

Rydilluc, Charming Kitten, and Jack Milton – the one-two-three finishers from the Penn Mile – are back, along with seven other 3-year-olds in the signature race of the Colonial Downs meet, which, along with four other stakes, highlights the track’s banner closing-night card.

Although Rydilluc has yet to race 1 1/4 miles, that is true of all but Charming Kitten and longshot Readyshakego in the field.

A son of Medaglia d’Oro who is perfect in four starts on turf, Rydilluc won at 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 3 Palm Beach on March 3 at Gulfstream, defeating Charming Kitten by 3 1/2 lengths. Between that race and the Penn Mile was a loss, although hardly a poor effort. Racing in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes over Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface, he spurted away from the field on the second turn but couldn’t sustain his run to the wire and faded to fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

“The key is to sit on him, to wait as long as possible,” trainer Gary Contessa said. “His move was premature in the Blue Grass, and it hurt us.”

Contessa is reserving judgment on whether Rydilluc will prove to be a 1 1/4-mile horse, calling it a “specialty distance.”

“I’ve had horses close from out of it and be nowhere at a mile and a quarter, and I’ve had horses seem to quit that go on and last,” he said. “You find out by trial by fire.”

Regular jockey Edgar Prado, one of numerous out-of-town jockeys coming in for the Virginia Derby and the undercard stakes, has the mount.

Charming Kitten looks to be the principal threat to Rydilluc, although he has lost to Rydilluc twice in as many head-to-head matchups on grass. He does, however, have 1 1/4-mile experience, having run ninth in the Kentucky Derby, and he finished in front of Rydilluc when rallying for third in the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass.

Charming Kitten, one of three sons of Kitten’s Joy in the Virginia Derby, is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who also have the front-running Redwood Kitten in the race. The two horses are uncoupled in the wagering.

Joel Rosario, the winningest stakes jockey in the country this year with 32 such victories through Wednesday, rides Charming Kitten.

Jack Milton, like Charming Kitten, is trained by Todd Pletcher. He was a nose short of his stablemate when edged in a photo for second in the Penn Mile. On the board in all four of his races, he will be ridden by his regular jockey, John Velazquez.

Post time for the Virginia Derby, carded as the seventh race, is 8:12 p.m. Eastern, with the card kicking off at 5 p.m.

The Virginia Derby is the last of five consecutive turf stakes on the card, which also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks and a trio of $75,000 stakes — the Kitten’s Joy, Tippett, and Chenery. Saturday’s races from Colonial will air live on HRTV and will be streamed at DRF.com.

hghvw21 . More than 1 year ago
Edgar is only human and hasnt always had the best of luck in the Va Derby in the recent years. Ive seen him lose alot of races at colonial. Homeister and Karamanos probably won more than Prado at Colonial. I like Edgar, he is good for taking lots of money at the windows, which makes for better prices on the rest of the field.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Take care of the business Edgar Prado. You have probably won more races at Col than anyone else. You know the course! Make it happen!
Nick More than 1 year ago
how is joel going to make the frist 75,000 race for wesley ward when he rides big race at belmont??????????????
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Rain can change everything, 70 % chance of rain tonight, scattered showers tomorrow. Good luck.
edb More than 1 year ago
Rydilluc will be beat up by Redwood Kitten and here comes the closers. Nice balanced race and tri might suprise. Do like a Charming Kitten/ Jack Milton box with Readyshakego or all to finish tri.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
Who does the mid lines? How is Ready Shake Go 3-1? Wow. Should be 50-1. What an awful midline. Broke Mdn at Gulf at 60-1 in a Mdn Claimer but was a unreal win. Still, versus this company, 3-1? No way.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
fan of War Dancer but needs a setup.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
nice i got 7-1. Told u. Been a fan of em.
Kenny More than 1 year ago
Draw too smokes these
Micahdog More than 1 year ago
No Red Giant thi syaer at $ 76 from Pletcher BUT Pletcher Exacta Box with Charming Kitten (23 flat inside and 22.75 outside with 5 lbs off gets the nod). Next in line is Jack Milton (22.85 inside and 22.70 outside witha lb off 2nd choice of mine). Throw in Fear The Kitten with Horatio for possible price if you choose to try Trifecta's. Otherwise tough to generate return. No on Rydilluc in my opinion. Good luck with your choices !
vapaul67 More than 1 year ago
Aren't you the person who gave out the bomb in the Colonial Turf Cup? That was one heck of a call.
Micahdog More than 1 year ago
Yes $ 102.60 on London Lane but that was history. If price I am taking shot on # 2 Speaking of Which (IRE) on 9th Belmont (Man of War) Saturday. And in 8th Race Belmont a 2-2 Daily Double. Just going for jugular as I don't like to 'spread' as reduces ROI. But I have low win percenatge vs 'talking heads' but lots of patience. Only play high end TURF races. Good luck this weekend ! :-) Also going to use Finnegans Wake a little bit off that race May 18th. Never overlook Romans !
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
Mic keep doing what you are doing.are you kidding me ,you mention a low winning percentage. a $10 win bet on london lane ,sure evens the percentages of those chalk pickin "talkin heads"
Micahdog More than 1 year ago
Tom. Yes but I like telling it like it is. Not too many people are ROI focussed and fewer have the patience to do what I do. They have to have action and taht's okay but when you find something at price you have step up to the plate and take a chance. Action bets for minimal amount okay but take out going to eat you alive. I restrict what I do to high end turf races; very selective process. Have a great weeknd. This weekend I looked at Belmont, Colonial, Arlington and so far just that one maybe wager. Going to look at Hollywood but green concrete out there. My handicaping process needs fast pace and real grass :-) Cheers !
PennNatRick More than 1 year ago
I did mean to follow up on turf cup post. Great Job on that pick. Best of luck to you in the Virginia Derby!
hghvw21 . More than 1 year ago
Micahdog, I like you....but at Colonial numbers dont mean much. Its more race riding and finding value from horses trying grass for the first time or from experienced jockeys that know the course( special k). I love it when big name jocks come to town- they take all the money and the folks without blinkers on know how to take advantage of the publics drone-like decisions. Sometimes the best horse wins, but alot of times that extra distance can tire out even the best.