Nick’s Picks: Colonial Downs picks July 11, 2024

He’s probably the only public handicapper who’s ‘capped every race at Colonial Downs since Day One, and he’s back for more in 2024: Nick’s Picks returns with picks and analysis for every day of the Colonial meet.

  • DATE/POST TIME: July 11/11:45 (steeplechase races), with the first flat race at 1:30
  • RACES: 12


Opening day starts before noon with Steeplechase maiden racing and a unique all-steeplechase PIC3.

WIN10. Moonshine TimeKeri Brion’s Moonshine Time was much improved at Percy Warner in his second career start.
PLACE5. No YieldLook for No Yield to be a hard charger from the last jump located on the backstretch.
SHOW2. PavoniPavoni is best of the rest but watch for Walk the Warrior from the Also Eligible’s list


Five in this allowance field made their last start on Kentucky Derby Day at Great Meadow.

WIN1. Pure CourageIn his last start Pure Courage broke his maiden improving his position after the last jump, something to look on the Colonial course.
PLACE3. Clifton DownClifton Down comes in with a over ten length score in the Speedy Smithwick for trainer Leslie Young, his maiden score over hurdles.
SHOW4. Southpaw MikeSouthpaw Mike also won in his last start, a maiden score at Great Meadow.


Both Love Foreverafter and Dark Pool have shown some closing ability in routes on the flat but neither has contested over hurdles before.

WIN3. Love ForeverafterLove Foreverafter won four times over the flat before taking this past winter off to debut here.
PLACE6. ExculpateExculpate with two seconds has the best opportunity among the remaining nonwinners to graduate over jumps.
SHOW1. Dark PoolWith the last jump being on the backstretch, having late speed will be important, something Dark Poll has shown.


The flat meet starts on the dirt with ten two-year-old fillies in a field of ten most having a race underneath them.

WIN1. LibitinaLibitina drops out of MSW for Carlos Munoz after a nice work in Ocala and had a little tune up after shipping to Colonial.
PLACE7. SlanderousSlanderous isn’t on the inside today which might improve the chances for Jason McCutchen’s filly.
SHOW4. Judy’s FlyerJudy’s Flyer is sired by the 2017 Preakness winner and trained by the 2016 Preakness winning trainer.


It’s the debut voyage at Colonial Downs for Irish jockey Ben Curtis in the first turf race on the flat, a field of seven two-year old fillies.

WIN7. Let Thesunshine InHoracio Karamanos gets the first ride on Let Thesunshine In for Larry Johnson and Michael Trombetta, who enjoyed a wonderful spring.
PLACE5. Drink DeeplyAlso making her first start with solid morning workouts at Turfway Park is Drink Deeply.
SHOW4. FiveclocksomewhereAnother first time starter with nice workouts in the first Virginia restricted race of the meet is Susan Cooney’s Fiveclocksomewhere.


Deep field of twelve maidens entered in a turf route with 73 starts among them before with two also eligibles add another 34 starts.

WIN2. My SanctuaryMichael Stidham’s maiden, My Sanctuary, finished a close third at this level at Delaware in May, his last start on the turf.
PLACE9. Motion GrantedPhil Schoenthal’s three-year old Motion Granted, though troubled, had a nice effort at Penn National, his first start in 2024 and in the US.
SHOW11. Where’s CharlieWhere’s Charlie comes in from Indiana in after an improved start looking to erase a poor Colonial showing last summer.


  • Picks continue below.
  • The summer meet at Colonial Downs comes into its fifth season off a six-year layoff with several new changes starting with this…a new format to the Nick’s Picks tip sheet.  The old printable format has been retired, at least for the moment, in an attempt to make it easier to view online and on your phone.   May NextGen Nick Picks produce as many winners as the pulp version did while being more ecologically sound. Let us know what you think!
  • For the outside seating in the grandstand, Colonial has installed five BigAss (name, not description, though it still applies) fans to help with air movement.  They may really be felt in particular on Friday evenings where Colonial Downs has a new 4:30 post time.
  • Looking out at the turf course you will notice additional poles set by surveyors with silver balls atop to mark the distances from the finish line more accurately especially when the rail is set at zero.  It will be well received by the Equibase chart callers and track announcer Jason Beem who previously had to call off the poles set for the dirt track.
  • Thank you, weather forecaster, for giving us an opening day temperature below 90 degrees.  Hopefully that and Nick’s Picks hits.  Enjoy the races!


The fifth consecutive maiden race to start the flat portion of the card, after the first three steeplechase events.

WIN5. Bonne FilleOf the seven Virginia restricted fillies, only Boone Fille has a started at maiden special weight with moderate results at Churchill Downs.
PLACE6. Beyond QuestionJohnson and Trombetta switch Beyond Questions to a sprint distance and the turf while add blinkers looking for better results.
SHOW1. Sea LionSea Lion with better than most workouts held at Turfway Park should find better than most results at Colonial.


This “nonwinners other than” field that includes two starters from Cherie DeVaux, stabling at Colonial this summer.

WIN11. ZartownisBoth of Devaux’s entries broke their maiden at the same level in Indiana but taking the elder Zartowais who ran well at Churchill off the layoff.
PLACE7. Our Legal TenderKelsey Danner’s Run Carson is back in a turf sprint with a bullet work and sharp attempt also at Churchill last month.
SHOW4. My Boy BlueMy Boy Blue had two claiming wins at Colonial last summer but faces better competition in this “nonwinners other than” field.


It took a little while longer for many in this field to break their maidens, but many came back with solid return trips.

WIN6. Hit the Road BratMotion returns Hit the Road Brat for this first time since his debut win, ready for her encore going a sixteenth further on the turf.
PLACE11. SleepwalkerLeading rider last season, Antonio Gallardo, gets the call for Mark Casse’s Sleepwalker after breaking his maiden at Gulfstream in May.
SHOW8. Sweet MimiTrombetta, this time for Broverman and Pinch, saw a lot of improvement from January to June on this Good Magic filly.


Literally half of this twelve-horse field saw the turf in their last start and the other half didn’t.

WIN12. Call to OrderCarrasco’s effort was listed after driving in his first start but he might have saved a little for Schoenthal for this try.
PLACE6. Momentous MissThe recent start of Momentous Miss at Laurel confirmed the Beyers that the elder mare ran at Colonial last summer.
SHOW7. AtmidnightAtmidnight won in her debut at Colonial last summer and has raced at higher levels than most here including the 2023 Rosies.


We should know these thoroughbreds by now: they have 494 starts among the 12 starters.

WIN10. Grand JourneyAngel Rodriquez, who does much of his own training personally, gave his veteran a tune up at Colonial for his first start since a solid spring.
PLACE11. B G LeeAnother multi-race winner at distance this year is B G Lee attempting coming on to the turf for the first time since April.
SHOW7. Artemus BridgeScott Acker’s Artemus Bridge has been a close challenger to Grand Journey this spring, and won at Colonial last summer.


This loaded Maiden Special Weight race features many national trainers looking to find a meaningful win for their lightly raced fillies.

WIN1. Justifying VegasMaking her debut at three is Clement’s Justify filly, who spent her last six weeks at Saratoga.
PLACE8. GasparillaCasse’s Quality Road filly, a $550,000 purchase, enjoyed a sharp work at Colonial prior to her debut.
SHOW2. Aspen DawnShug brings south an experienced well-bred filly after a rallying effort at Monmonth.

Picture of the day

Colonial Downs paddock

Moving into retirement at Colonial Downs is the paddock water hose because new pavers are in place.  It isn’t the nine-figure upgrades that the Churchill Downs mothership erected over the last several years, but the previous stone dust surface works better as a base than a top coating.  There may still be a little watering here and there, but fetlock dust clouds are gone.