04/30/2015 11:39PM

Miami Valley: First test of the year for Color's A Virgin

Conrad Photo
Color's A Virgin won the Jugette in 2014.

Trainer Brian Brown ended last year on what some might consider a sour note. His prized three-year-old pacing filly Color’s A Virgin was favored to capture the Breeders Crown at the Meadowlands and looked as imposing as a filly could be. The fact that she finished off the board in fourth might frustrate a trainer, but not Brown.

“It wasn’t her fault. There was nothing she could do. She finished well but there was no pace,” said Brown, looking back on the final race of an otherwise brilliant three-year-old season.

Color’s A Virgin returns to stakes action on Sunday, closing day for this year’s meet at Miami Valley Gaming and Racing in Lebanon, Ohio. The four-year-old by Always A Virgin drew post six in the $75,000 Chip Noble Memorial for the top-pacing mares in North America. A field of nine will go to post in race 11 of 14 on the Miami Valley program. First post 3:00 p.m. Regular driver Trace Tetrick is in the bike and Brown feels fortunate to have him.

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“After last week’s win Trace got off the bike and said something wasn’t right. ‘She looked good to me’,” said Brown. “We checked her out and she may have tied up a little. She was a little dehydrated.”

Brown has gotten her back to herself and doesn’t expect a hangover from his oft-winning mare that has already captured her first two starts in 2015. Last year the Emerald Highlands Farm-owned and bred filly captured 13 of 18 races including the Jugette.

The trainer is well aware that his four-year-old will be playing against an older crowd and while he expects her to be competitive there is still some uncertainty.

“We’ll have to see how it goes,” said Brown. “There’s some tough mares in this group and if she can go with them we’ll chase them. If she can’t we’ll look for invitational or open races.”

Sunday will give Brown an opportunity to assess the progress of his mare, who he feels has come back very well showing some maturity from three to four. “I like the way she’s handling herself on the racetrack,” said Brown. “She seems happier out there.”

Established as the 5-2 morning line choice, Color’s A Virgin will have to deal with some gritty veterans including the runner-up to last week’s Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers in Yagonnakissmeornot.

Trace Tetrick’s brother Tim is listed to drive Yagonnakissmeornot from the pole position and that makes the six-year-old by The Panderosa a solid contender in the Noble. In the Blue Chip Matchmaker, Yagonnakissmeornot cut every bit of the pace but was outkicked on the wire by Venus Delight in a 1:52 4/5 mile.

Also shipping in from Yonkers is Carolsideal, the stablemate of Yagonnakissmeornot that finished third in last week’s stakes action. Carolsideal has won nine of 11 races this year for trainer Rene Allard and starts from post eight on Sunday.

The Ontario-invader Waasmula has looked like a different horse since adding Lasix two starts back. The seven-year-old mare had an O-for in nine starts in 2015 before adding the medication and stringing back-to-back Preferred wins at Mohawk. Her last victory was a sharp 1:51 mile. Waasmula landed post two with James MacDonald in the bike.

Brown will also send out Candy’s A Virgin, a solid winner last week at Miami Valley in just her first start as a four-year-old. Candy’s A Virgin landed post five with Chris Page in the bike.

“She was very good last week,” said Brown of Candy’s A Virgin. “She got stung 26 (seconds) and a piece from the 8-hole and finished up well.” The gray mare paced home in 1:52 1/5 and will certainly need to step up her game in this quality field.

The Burke stable is never short on top pacing mares and will send out a pair in the $2.2 million lifetime earner Rocklamation (post 7, Yannick Gingras) and Charisma Hanover  (post 4, Mike Wilder). Rocklamation, second in last year’s Breeders Crown, will be making just her third start this year but 100th of her storied career.

Co-featured on the Miami Valley finale is the $86,500 Miami Valley Distaff for trotting mares. Shake It Cerry (post 4) looks to avenge her loss to Daylon Miracle (post 6) in last week’s Meadows Maturity.