07/19/2012 4:15PM

Colonial Downs: Zultanite favored over six in Virginia Oaks

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Tom Keyser
Zultanite will ship from her home base in Saratoga to Colonial Downs for the Virginia Oaks.

David Donk thought seriously about waiting to run Zultanite in the Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga on Wednesday, but “those waters are pretty deep,” the 52-year-old trainer said.

Instead, Donk opted to ship Zultanite south to the Richmond, Va., area, where on Saturday night the filly will be the one to beat in the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs.

“I’ve really been pleased with her progress this summer,” Donk said this week from Saratoga. “She’s an improving filly, real scopey, a two-turn horse for sure. We could’ve gone in the Lake George, but this came up a good spot for us since obviously she’ll be one of the choices. We’d love to get a graded victory for her.”

Zultanite, with Ramon Dominguez to ride, will break from post  2 in a field of seven in the Virginia Oaks, which goes at 1 1/8 miles over the Secretariat turf course. The daughter of El Corredor has become consistent over her eight career starts, having finished a close-up third in the Grade 2 Sands Point, then second in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs in her last two races. Donk said another good effort from the filly could result in a berth in the Lake Placid later in the Saratoga meet.

Perhaps the top threats to Zultanite are Filare l’Oro, in from Maryland for trainer Jerry Robb; Ski Holiday, a last-out maiden winner for Graham Motion; and Volcat, a last-out allowance winner over the Churchill Downs turf for Ken McPeek.

The Virginia Oaks leads right into the Virginia Derby as the eighth of 14 Saturday races, with three $50,000 stakes preceding those main events. A brief rundown of those races, all on turf, too:

* Tippett (race 7): None of the 11 2-year-old fillies in this 5 1/2-furlong race have won more than once. It looks like Jane’s Heir could be a solid favorite, given her field-high 68 Beyer and her top connections of Motion and jockey Robby Albarado.

* Kitten’s Joy (race 6): Action Andy drew the rail following a recent victory over the course and looks as good as any in a field of eight older horses in this 1 1/16-mile race. Lentenor, the 5-year-old full brother to Barbaro, starts from the outside post.

* Chenery (race 5): This male counterpart (albeit with two fillies in the lineup) to the Tippett kicks off the stakes action with a wide-open look, with any of a half-dozen seeming to rate a big chance. Among them: Gas Tank, Tequila Rules, Sent Forth, Private Tutor.