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Colonial's $368,800 'Day of Champions' Set

Published: November 3, 2011 12:07 pm ET

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Colonial Downs will host its annual $368,800 Virginia Harness 'Day of Champions' program on Saturday, November 5 where the eight divisional championships for Virginia-bred two and three-year-old trotters and pacers will be decided.

Prep races for all divisions were held this past weekend, and two of those were decided by the slimmest of margins, a nose and a neck.

Itrustyou, the two year colt/gelding pacing champ a year, returned to capture last Sunday’s three year old prep for trainer/driver Dean Collins. The Third Straight gelding, who was hemmed in at the rail through most of the stretch, found just enough daylight before the wire to come outside and nip Tidewater Tomcat by a nose in 1:54.1. The duo will have a rematch in the $44,400 final on Saturday.

Saintly Cinderella was a neck better than Southwest Rose in the three-year-old filly pace. Driver Joey Mapes’ Spirited Style filly was fifth, three lengths behind coming out of the turn, before sweeping by the four front steppers in mid stretch. Saintly Cinderella and Southwest Rose had a spirited stretch duel to the wire, and the former was a neck better in 1:58.1. In Saturday’s $42,200 final, Southwest Rose has been installed as the 2-1 early choice while Saintly Cinderella is second at 3-1.

Crosbys Cup dominated in the sophomore colt/gelding trot, as he won by seven lengths in a wire-to-wire 1:58. Winsome Moni captured the three-year-old filly trot by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:58.3. Both are morning line choices in their respective $42,200 and $38,800 finales.

Three of the four two-year-old divisional preps were held over a 'sloppy,' rain-soaked track last Saturday. The card was cancelled due to unsafe track conditions after the fourth race, so the freshman colt/gelding trot was not contested.

Eight two-year-old pacing fillies, headlined by early 7-5 favourite Hillbilly Desire, will compete for a $47,200 purse in this Saturday’s second race. The Real Desire filly remained perfect in her young three-race career courtesy of another come-from-behind win in Saturday’s wet prep. Owner/trainer Amanda Jackson’s pacer came outside in the stretch to catch a trio of front steppers en route to a one and half-length victory over Hot Beach Girl in 2:00.2. Jason MacDougall will drive Hillbilly Desire for the fourth straight time.

The other pair of preps weren’t as close, as Blueridge Abilgail wired the filly trot field in 2:05.3 and Blueridge Dancer had a dominating score in the colt/gelding pace in 1:59.2. The former, trained by Dane Snyder, won by five and a quarter lengths, while the later, conditioned by Tye Loy, was six and a quarter lengths better. Doug Snyder will pilot Blueridge Abigail in the $45,200 final, while leading Colonial reinsman Chris Page has sulky duties aboard Blueridge Dancer in that $44,800 championship.

In the rained-out division, Jane Dunavant’s Just Slick is favoured in the $44,000 freshman colt/gelding trot and is fresh off a victory in 2:01.2. Chris Page will guide the Dusty Winner gelding against five other entrants.

New this year is a Virginia-bred aged divisional championship which carries a purse of $20,000. Nine horses are in to go, including second favourite Racing Naked, an 11-year-old Misfit horse that is the field’s elder statesman. With a bankroll of $441,595 and a life's mark of 1:49.4, Walter Callahan will pilot 2003’s colt/gelding three-year Commonwealth champ. Andy Shetler’s Blueridge Doc, with $78,355 in earnings this year, is favoured.

This Saturday is the final live race program of 2011 for Colonial Downs. First post is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.


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