07/11/2010 11:00PM

Paddy O'Prado tops field of 8 in Va. Derby


Paddy O'Prado has been assigned post 7 in a field of eight 3-year-olds entered in the Grade 2, $600,000 Virginia Derby, the Colonial Downs showcase set for Saturday.

Paddy O'Prado, owned by the Donegal Racing of Jerry Crawford and trained by Dale Romans, was dominant in winning the June 19 Colonial Cup and has been listed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the 1 1/4-mile Virginia Derby. Kent Desormeaux has been named back aboard.

Paddy O'Prado breezed five furlongs Sunday in 1:01.60 over the main track at his home base, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be vanned early Wednesday to Colonial in New Kent, Va., Romans said.

"He breezed like he always does, really good, and he's ready to roll again," Romans said. "If everything goes well Saturday, we'll be looking next at the Secretariat" on Aug. 21 at Arlington Park.

Three opponents rate plausible upset chances: Krypton, Interactif, and Stately Victor.

Krypton, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, comes off a mild upset victory over heavily favored Nordic Truce in his last race, the Grade 3 Hill Prince on June 4 at Belmont Park.

Interactif returns to his preferred surface for trainer Todd Pletcher after having finished seventh in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. Before trying a pair of Triple Crown preps, the colt had established himself as a top turf performer in his class.

Stately Victor, shipping from the Trackside training center in Louisville for trainer Mike Maker, also exits the Belmont after having done some of his best running on turf earlier in his career.

From the hedge and with jockeys, this is the lineup for the 14th Virginia Derby: Two Notch Road, Sheldon Russell; Krypton, Rajiv Maragh; Interactif, Javier Castellano; Majestic Troubador, Rosemary Homeister Jr.; Awesome Dream, James Vail; Formulaforsuccess, Victor Lebron; Paddy O'Prado, Desormeaux; and Stately Victor, Ramon Dominguez.

The Virginia Derby is carded as the 12th of 14 races while anchoring easily the biggest day of the year at Colonial. Four other supporting stakes will be run Saturday, led by the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks (race 11). Check the Label, winner of the Grade 2 Sands Point last out at Belmont, looks like the heavy favorite, with Dominguez back aboard for trainer Graham Motion in the Virginia Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile turf race that drew 10 3-year-old fillies.

The other stakes, all worth $50,000, are the Kitten's Joy (race 10) for older horses and twin 2-year-old sprints, the Chenery (race 8) and Tippett (race 9).

All five Saturday stakes are on grass. First post is 12:30 p.m. Eastern, with the Virginia Derby going at 6.