By Dave Zenner — West Point Thoroughbred and Woodford Racing LLC’s Integrationcame flying down the center of the track to get the best of Program Trading in Saturday’s $500,000 Grade 3 New Kent County Virginia Derby.
Covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.41 over a firm outer turf course, the 3-year-old trained by Shug McGaughey set a course record, .06 seconds faster than Flippant’s effort set Aug 31, 2021.
Under jockey Kendrick Carmouche, the 3-year-old Quality Road colt relaxed nicely staying two-wide near the back as Runaway Storm blitzed through early fractions of :22.80 and :46.80. The 3-5 favorite Program Trading got the first jump on the leader in the homestretch, but having followed him throughout, Integration shot by with a perfectly timed move to put 1 1/4 lengths between him and the Chad Brown trainee.
The Virginia Derby was just Integration’s second start. On August 12 at Colonial Downs, he broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf course, winning by 6 1/2 lengths.
“Shug felt his debut here would be the best spot for his first race,” said Dawn Lenert, the Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Partner Relations for West Point Thoroughbreds.
“Although it was unconventional, Shug felt a graded stake would be the right spot for his second race, and when a Hall of Fame trainer tells you you’re going to come back in a graded stake, you do it. After the race Kendrick (jockey Carmouche) said to me Integration’s potential is limitless.”
Sent off at 6-1 Integration paid $15.40, $5.20 and $3.80. Program Trading returned $2.40 and $2.60. It was another 2 1/4 lengths to third-place finisher Runaway Storm who paid $8. Mondego, Dataman, Gigante, Activist Investing, Salute the Stars, and Ari Gold completed the order of finish.
“He does everything perfectly,” Carmouche said. “He warmed up well. I put him in the right spot and he made me look good. With Shug McGaughey on my side, you know you can be successful around the oval.”