07/13/2006 12:00AM

Virginia Derby preview


Kip Deville was dismissed at 28-1 odds in his first start for new connections, but he ran a bang-up second after setting suicidal fractions. The gray changed back to his wrong lead when fading in the stretch that day, but has worked quickly for this, and looms the lone speed under new rider Rafael Bejarano. Lightly-raced Kip Deville should be tough to run down if allowed to set a more realistic pace. He's worth a play at 7-2 odds or more.

Seaside Retreat is perfect over grass, and he dominated Canadian three-year-olds in the Charlie Barley at Woodbine last time out. He raced in and among horses for the majority of that race before angling out in the stretch drive. Seaside Retreat faced some tough cookies on dirt earlier this season, but is back on his best game on turf, and should save valuable ground from the inside post. The major question mark here is the additional distance.

Proudinsky looms a very dangerous rival for the top pick, and should be included in exotics and multi-race wagers. He made his North American debut in hte Arlington Classic, and didn't have an easy trip. He saved ground entering the far turn before angling out and bumping with another foe in upper stretch. Proudinsky than angled sharply to the rail, and was flying at the finish. The lightly-raced runner has upside potential, and won't have a problem with the added distance.

Steppenwolfer ran well in his only turf race at two, and kept company with some of the top three-year-olds in the country on dirt this season. He'll be running late, but may be overbet a bit based on his reputation.

Go Between, Roman Dynasty, and Spider Power have all run good races on the turf, and shouldn't be ignored on the bottom of exotic wagers.

1. Kip Deville
2. Seaside Retreat
3. Proudinsky