By Colonial Downs Press Staff ― With a powerful surge inside the final furlong, 3-2 favored Capensis passed California Frolic and Limited Liability to score a two-length victory under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. in the Grade 3 $300,000 New Kent County Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds, the highpoint of a record-breaking day of more than $6.5 million wagered on the card at Colonial Downs.
Breaking from post 10 in an 11-horse field, Capensis was prominent throughout, racing wide up the backstretch and sweeping off the far turn on the Secretariat Turf Course. He closed from fourth place around the far turn and swept toward the leaders in the center of the course in the stretch. Under mild urging from Ortiz, Capensis secured his second win in three starts, and his first graded-stakes score.
He completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.15 over a firm course.
“I talked to (Pletcher) and he told me to stay outside,” Ortiz said. “I had a perfect trip, great position with nobody to the outside of me. He was traveling perfect. I asked him a little and he jumped into the bit. I knew I had a good chance to run them down and when I asked him he was there for me.”
“I love the trip he got,” said seven-time Eclipse Award winner Pletcher, who also saddled Red Giant to victory in the 2007 Virginia Derby. “You always want to save some ground if you can, and Irad did that and was traveling well and when Irad asked him he responded.”
Capensis broke his maiden in his first start, winning at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park on July 2. Prior to the Virginia Derby, he finished sixth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Saratoga on July 30.
Today’s total handle of $6,512,667 on the 11-race card surpassed the previous mark of $4,875,792 set last year.