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Jul 20, 2007

Virginia Derby attracts field of 10


New Kent, VA (Sports Network) - Saturday's 10th edition of the $1 million Virginia Derby has attracted a field of 10 grass-running three-year-olds at Colonial Downs. The last three renewals have been won by some of the best of their generation.

Louisiana Derby winner Circular Quay is the 5-2 morning-line favorite as he makes his turf debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. His two major opponents are Colonial Cup champ Summer Doldrums and Strike a Deal, the runner-up in that race.

Circular Quay is making his first start since finishing fifth in the Preakness Stakes after being sixth in the Kentucky Derby. For the Virginia Derby the chestnut colt will start from post four with Garrett Gomez returning to ride.

Owned by Michael and Doreen Tabor, Circular Quay has won four of nine career starts for better than $1.1 million. Earlier this year he was fifth in the Risen Star Stakes when forced to change course to avoid a mishap. Last year he was second to Street Sense in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile as the 3-1 favorite.

Summer Doldrums, 7-2 in the program, posted a head victory over Strike a Deal in last month's Colonial Cup. Owned by Klavarich Stables and William Lawrence, the colt will break from post nine with Jose Lezcano in the saddle.

Trained by Richard Violette, Summer Doldrums has won four of 10 lifetime starts for $631,716. At Aqueduct this year he won the Whirlaway Stakes followed by a third in the Gotham and a fourth in the Wood Memorial.

The 3-1 second pick in the program is Strike a Deal. The bay colt will be ridden by red-hot jockey Ramon Dominguez from post two. Dominguez captured the Delaware Handicap last Sunday.

Strike a Deal is owned by Jayeff B Stables and trained by Alan Goldberg. This year he won the Straight Deal Stakes at Belmont Park. The three-year-old has all three career wins on the turf along with two second place finishes. His career earnings stand at $289,765 in six starts.

Completing the field for the 1 1/4 mile Virginia Derby are Blazing Dynamo, Red Giant, Inca King, Soldier's Dancer, Duveen, Love Dubai and Top Cross.

CBS Sports will broadcast the Virginia Derby which has a scheduled post-time of 5:44 p.m. (et).

In 2004 Kitten's Joy won this race on his way to being voted champion male turf runner. The following year English Channel won the Virginia Derby, the last two years he has won the United Nations Handicap. Last year, Go Between established a course record of 1:59.74 in winning the race.


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