07/13/2008 11:00PM

New York pair enter Virginia Derby


New York invaders Sailor's Cap and Gio Ponti were among the nine 3-year-olds entered Monday in the $750,000 Virginia Derby, a Grade 2 turf race that will be run Saturday for the 11th time at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.

Sailor's Cap, owned by Team Valor International and trained by Jimmy Toner, was a runaway winner of the June 21 Colonial Turf Cup, the local prep for the 1 1/4-mile Virginia Derby. Alan Garcia, who rode him for the first time in that 6 3/4-length triumph, will be back aboard Saturday.

Gio Ponti, owned by Castleton Lyons and trained by Christophe Clement, has won 3 of 4 career starts, most recently going last-to-first in winning the Hill Prince Stakes on the eve of the Belmont Stakes. Garrett Gomez will have the mount back.

Tyler Picklesimer, in his first year as racing secretary at Colonial, said Sailor's Cap and Gio Ponti will be among a New York shipment scheduled to van south to Virginia on the day before the race.

The Virginia Derby field also includes Court Vision, fourth in the Colonial Turf Cup, and Old Man Buck, a two-time stakes winner at 2.

From the hedge, and with jockeys, the field for the Virginia Derby:

Your Round, James Lopez; Old Man Buck, Robby Albarado; El Sultry Sun, Edgar Prado; Court Vision, Kent Desormeaux; Baltimore Bob, Horacio Karamanos; Budge Man, Karamanos again; Gio Ponti, Garrett Gomez; Sailor's Cap, Garcia; and Southwest, Prado again.

The Virginia Derby will be the ninth of 10 races on a Saturday card that also includes two other grass stakes, the Virginia Oaks and the Kitten's Joy.

The $200,000 Virginia Oaks (raceo8), a Grade 3 race that drew 10 3-year-old fillies, appears very well-matched affair. Namaste's Wish, with Desormeaux named to ride by trainer Bill Mott, is the most accomplished, having won the Miss Grillo last September at Belmont, but she has gone winless in her four starts since then.

Three Graces and I Lost My Choo are the only other fillies in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks with triumphs in stakes races, and those were minor affairs.

The $60,000 Kitten's Joy (race 7) drew eight older horses, with Midwatch, Mint Slewlep, and Ballast looming as the main players in the 1o1/16-mile race.