Mission of Joy tops Virginia Oaks

RyZan Sun Racing and Madaket Stables’ Mission of Joy is the likely favorite in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Woodford Reserve Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs. The Virginia Oaks is the richest race on the undercard and the sister race to the Grade 2 $500,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby.  The 1 1/8-mile turf contest is one of six stakes races on the closing day program at the New Kent racetrack.

A daughter of Kitten’s Joy, Mission of Joy enters off a seventh-place run in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks though she was beaten just three lengths in that 1¼-miles affair. Earlier this year she had a pair of Grade 3 victories in the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs in March and in the Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs in June. Antonio Gallardo rides Mission of Joy from post seven for trainer Graham Motion, who captured the 2010 edition of this race with Check the Label.

Mission of Joy is 8-5 on the morning line.

Thirty Thou Kelvin (12-1), who races in the colors of SJB Stable, comes in off a wire-to-wire 2¼-length tally in the $150,000 Christiana Stakes at Delaware Park. The John Terranova II-trained daughter of Bolt d’Oro will start from post six, just to Mission of Joy’s inside, and will be piloted by two-time Colonial Downs riding champion Trevor McCarthy. Jeremy Rose rode her in the Delaware race.

“She’s a very beautiful, strong filly, and hopefully the best is yet to come,” Terranova said after the Christiana. “These turf fillies and mares sometimes get a little better with age, so we’re hoping that’s the case.”

ERJ Racing, Pappas Horse Racing and Neil A. Haymes’ Broadway Girls invades from Southern California for trainer Doug O’Neill. The daughter of Army Mule is looking to bounce back from a 13th-place finish in the Grade 2 San Clemente at Del Mar but prior to that disappointing effort she was third in the Grade 3 Providencia in April and ran second in the Grade 3 Honeymoon, both at Santa Anita Park. Jevian Toledo picks up the mount and the pair will depart from post five.

Thirty Thou Kelvin
Thirty Thou Kelvin won the Christiana Stakes. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Susan Moulton’s Tufani is the only filly in the race to have previous experience over the Colonial Downs turf course having finished second, beaten only three-quarters of a length, in the $150,000 Brookmeade Stakes for Virginia-certified fillies. The daughter of Distorted Humor is trained by Mike Stidham who scored in the 2019 renewal with Carnival Covers. Tufani, who drew post two, will be ridden by two-time Virginia Oaks winner Forest Boyce.

Completing the field are: Jeff Drown’s Root Cause (Feargal Lynch, post one); Magdalena Racing and Alfred Riccio’s Beautifulnavigator (Cristian Torres, post three); Klaravich Stables’ Idea Generation (Flavien Prat, post four); and Don Alberto Stable’s Alpha Bella (Jose Ortiz, post eight)