Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Virginia Derby comes our way this Saturday, July 21 st from Colonial Downs. Three year olds will be after their share of a healthy purse of $600,000 when they go 1 ¼ miles on Colonial Downs's turf track.

The Virginia Derby has attracted a strong field of nine for race 9 on Colonial Downs's Saturday card. Post time is 8:38 PM. Here is a look at the nine entries that their recent performances ahead of this lucrative Grade 2 race.

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2012 Virginia Derby Race Favorites

Silver Max - there is absolutely no hotter horse than Silver Max going into the Virginia Derby! He has won six of his last seven starts including the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakesand the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes this year in wire-to-wire fashion and has added two straight minor stakes races - the Arlington Classic and the Oliver by 6 ¾ lengths last time out at Indiana Downs to his list of wire-to-wire scores. Silver Max hasn't really been challenged on turf so far this season and will look to keep the role going on Saturday.

Summer Front - started with three wins and a second in his first four career starts but has cooled slightly since. Summer Front finished an impressive second in his graded stakes debut in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes on April 21st and followed it up with a rather disappointing eighth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes on May 12th. Summer Front is coming off an impressive score last time out in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes, is undefeated on grass and is definitely Silver Max's main competition in the Virginia Derby.

Virginia Derby 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Lucky Chappy - has a couple of good results under his belt in Grade 3 events in North America after starting his career in Europe - a third in the Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in October and a second in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate in February. Lucky Chappy hasn't raced since March 31st when he posted a seventh in the Grade 2 U.A.E Derby at Meydan Racecourse.

Optimizer - enters the Virginia Derby after finishing 11th in the Kentucky Derby, sixth in the Preakness and 10th in the Belmont Stakes last time out. A return to turf should benefit Optimizer who has a win in a Maiden Special Weight race, a second in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes and a third in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes - all on turf last year.

Easy Crossing - Chris Clement colt has placed in two stakes races - none of the graded stakes variety. He will be making his graded stakes debut after a second in the James W. Murphy Stakes in May and a second last time out in the London Company Stakes at Belmont Park on June 29th.

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Mr. Handsome - made his graded stakes debut with a disappointing eighth in the Grade 3 Rebel Stakes after some decent results in minor stakes races - a third in the James W. Murphy at Pimlico and a second before that at the Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes at Charles Town. Last time out was a third in the Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town on June 30 th.

Finnegan's Wake - Dale Romans trained colt is coming off a win last time out in an Allowance at Churchill Downs to follow mixed results in graded stakes races - a third in the Grade 3 Gotham in March, a 10th in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in May and a fourth in the Grade 2 American Turf in May.

Two Months Rent - has five starts this year and is coming off a win last time out in an Allowance race at Delaware Park on June 7th. Before that was a fifth in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico in May and a string of disappointing finishes in Allowance Optional Claiming races.

Coach Royal - has 12 career starts with just one win - a Maiden Special Weight score at Belmont last time out on June 27th. In his only other graded stakes appearance Coach Royal was 12th in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway in March.