by Nick Hahn
It’s an eight-race card today, and this week leads to the first big weekend of the meet: Colonial Turf Cup day, this coming Saturday. In addition to the G2 Turf Cup, Saturday will also feature the G3 Edward P. Evans All Along, the Da Hoss, and the Old Nelson starter handicap. For today, the winners will be…
|7||IMPERIOUS||“Curly”, who scratched to run here, has everything going her way, but with 14 maidens, let’s find price.|
|3||CRYIN’ RYAN||Colonial veteran might get back on his old turf and decide he wants to run on it. Big drop on “Float”.|
|7||R. B. FLOAT|
|7||HERTHUM||After a year layoff, Bailes has Marshall’s colt tuned in the morning. First timers here also figure.|
|3||TIME OF THE SWORD|
|7||NAG NAG NAG||Everyone knows not to bet CNL ‘Heavy Favorites’ but Colvin may change that. 3X Nag back to turf & 5 1/2.|
|6||TO DUBAI||Whether slop or turf, Ross’ 4-yr old won 2 at Saratoga last summer & 1 at Laurel this spring.|
|11||FIVE STAR PRINCE|
|13||CLASS JOY||Boucher’s 5-yr old mare make 1st start. Both sire and dam ran extremely well at Colonial Downs.|
|1||SILENTIARY||Can Ham’s mare maintain the pace at a mile? Maybe on the grass despite facing high winning % trainers.|
|10||BOTANICA||Smithwick Smarty Jones filly drops a little after cashing checks. Ham’s filly, a big CNL bid last summer.|
Look who’s coming back to Colonial Downs in Saturday’s $50,000 Da Hoss Stakes: Action Andy, named for Maryland handicapper Andy Andrews. Much of the excitement behind the 6-year old gelding of Gators N Bears has been provided in gutty, tense struggles at the wire, usually holding on to a dwindling lead. He is Maryland champion sprinter, but many of his colorful moments have come at Colonial Downs. In his eight starts he has three wins and four seconds. None were more exciting his frontrunning effort at 11-1 in the 2011 Da Hoss Stakes, with then-trainer Stephanie Nixon waiting out a 10-minute photo finish only to end up second. Jockey Alfredo Clemente avenged the loss a month later in the Kitten’s Joy. Last year, he swapped stakes in winning the Da Hoss and losing the Kitten’s Joy to, of all horses, Lentenor, in the only stakes win by one of Barbaro’s brothers. Last fall Robert Gerczak’s Maryland-bred won the $350,0000 DeFrancis Dash.
The Colonial Turf Cup has one Virginia Derby winner (Air Support ’11) but still awaits the decision on last year’s winner (Silver Max ’12) who just sloshed home in the Opening Verse at Churchill.
I’ve entered the Colonial Turf Challenge, a new contest starting Saturday on-line at colonialdowns.com. Grand prize is a trip to Vegas and entry into the Daily Racing Form’s National Handicapping contest. The contest is free so anyone who thinks picking these races at Colonial is easy work can try their talents versus “New Kent Nick”. Cash prizes through fifth with prize closet leftovers through 30th. (Still pretty cool swag.)