New Kent, VA --- Candid Photo, Eloise Eden and Blueridge Adalia, champion 2-year-old Virginia-breds in 2012, each won their respective 3-year-old prep races last weekend in advance of this Sunday’s 16th annual Virginia Harness “Day of Champions” program at Colonial Downs. A total of $380,000 in purse monies will be up for grabs among eight freshman and sophomore divisions in the fifteen race card.
Candid Photo wired a modest field in the colt/gelding trot last Sunday in a lifetime best 1:57.4. The Classic Photo gelding triggered quarter panels of :29.2, :59.1 and 1:27.4 before crossing 2-3/4 lengths ahead of Flaming Yankee. Candid Photo is co-owned by trainer Jane Dunavant and Katherine Smith. Dusty Sea was second and Flaming Yankee took third. Sunday’s $45,800 final leg will be a non-betting race at 12:20 PM.
Eloise Eden was dominant as a 2-year-old and coasted home to an easy thirteen length romp in the filly trot prep. The Ken Warkentin filly shot to the front as the starting gate wings closed and never looked back, leading by six at the quarter and eight at the half. Betting choice I Concur, fresh off back-to-back wins by ten-plus lengths, held second through the third fraction but went off-stride in mid-stretch after starting to gain ground on the leader. Driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr. guided Eloise Eden to fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.2, and with no one close in the stretch, coasted home in 1:56.1. She is trained by Thomas Litt for Mark Bowser of Charlottesville, Virginia. Charlie Norris will drive Eloise Eden in the $49,400 finale in Sunday’s sixth race.
Blueridge Adalia grabbed the pocket early in the filly pacing prep but just after the first fraction, came outside and passed Miss Sowo, then continued a front-stepping trip en route to an easy four length win in 1:54.1. Reinsman Chris Page, who also guided Candid Photo’s Virginia-bred triumph, led the Badlands Hanover filly for trainer Morgan Hagerman and owner Herman Hagerman. Miss Sowo held on for second while get Party Perfect was third. Page will again direct Blueridge Adalia from post six Sunday in the $48,200 final.
In the 3-year-old colt/gelding pace warm-up, Mark Gray’s Southern Hoss went coast to coast and beat five others including his stablemate Stately Man. The The Panderosa gelding cut panels of :27.3, :56.3 and 1:25.1 before winning his second race ever in a lifetime best of 1:53.1. The mark shattered his prior mark by over three seconds. Charles Perry, who drove Southern Hoss for owner Anne McDonald, will be back in the sulky in Sunday’s $47,400 finale.
The “Day of Champions” competition for 2-year-olds will include the $51,475 colt/gelding pace and $48,150 filly pace as part of the pari-mutuel card, while the $46,375 filly trot and $42,450 colt/gelding trot will be non-betting races at 12:30 and 12:40 PM respectively.
Last weekend’s 2-year-old prep in the colt/gelding pace division was the most exciting of the eight. Freddy Darby’s Perfect Number edged Jimmy Viars’ Handsome Jim and Leon Harris’s Little Leon by a head and half-length respectively in a 1:56.2 blanket finish. The winner, an Art Official gelding, is the 9-5 early favorite Sunday and will be driven again by Corey Braden.
Santa Baby surged past front-stepping Blueridge Princess coming out of the turn in the filly pace prelim last weekend then coasted home to a four length triumph. Chris Page drove the Three Olives filly to victory for trainer Lorie Davis in 1:55.2. Santa Baby is the heavily favored early choice at 4-5.
Luring Miz Daisy wired the field in the filly freshmen trot while Jingle Bells matched that feat in the male category. They crossed respectively in 2:05 and 2:07.2 for trainers Renfrow Hauser and William Long. Both will face modest size fields again and thus are part of the early non-betting races. Four fillies have entered that championship while only a pair of geldings will square off in the male trot.
Gates open Sunday at Noon and post time for the first of a dozen pari-mutuel races is 1 PM. Sunday also marks the final day of racing at Colonial Downs for the 2013 season.