Colonial Downs Analysis – August 19th, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

It’s hard to believe we’re more than halfway through the meet at Colonial Downs as Saturday’s card represents the 17th of 27th race days for the New Kent, VA track. Without a stakes race and only one race that drew double-digit entrants, this is a sort of calm weekend following last Saturday’s graded stakes extravaganza.

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  • Race 1: 4-6-1-3
  • Race 2: 3-7-4-2
  • Race 3: 7-2-3-5
  • Race 4: 6-4-5-7
  • Race 5: 1-5-7-2
  • Race 6: 3-4-7-5
  • Race 7: 2-3-9-7
  • Race 8: 8-6-2-7
  • Race 9: 8-11-1-7

Colonial Downs Race 4: Zo Lee (#6)

It’s rare to see 2YO allowances carded these days as often times juvenile debut winners step right up into stakes company. However, that’s exactly what we get with the field of seven signed on to contest today’s 4th race. Mama Marge (#3) is the favorite on the morning line and while this filly possesses and abundance of speed, she’ll be trying turf for the first time and I don’t want to take a short price on the chance her form doesn’t translate. April Clover (#5) is another first-time turf runner and while I think Mitole will ultimately be a solid turf influence there are other negatives this filly will have to deal with. She’s already raced four times, so it’s hard to see her taking a huge step forward, plus (outside of the G2-Secretariat win) the Asmussen barn has been ice cold this meet. Those two fillies both like to be on the engine, so it could set up for a closer. Determined Sail (#4) and Zo Lee (#6) have quite a few similar attributes. They both won their debuts at huge prices (34-1 & 24-1 respectively) and go out for barns that have been lights-out with their juveniles this meet (Schoenthal and Danner). They also both displayed the admirable quality of sitting off another speed horse and powering home in the lane. While I’d use both equally in any exotics, I landed on Zo Lee as the top pick because she won an open maiden special weight while Determined Sail bested VA-Restricted company.

Colonial Downs Race 5: Understudy Kitty (#1)

Ruddy Buddy (#2) figures to go off favored in the 5th race on Saturday off the back of a close 3rd place finish at this level earlier this meet. However, I have some doubts about the overall quality of that race since it looked like the 3-5 favorite was in deep water down the lane but ultimately wore down his other rivals. Ruddy Buddy took no money on debut going off at 40-1 and now is listed at 7-5 on the morning line. I couldn’t make either of the other two runners with experience so let’s look to some first-time starters. Hyteck Prince (#5) is worth considering as the Lawrence barn can hit with a juvenile FTS on occasion, but I just couldn’t get there with the limited damside turf pedigree. I landed on Understudy Kitty (#1) as the top pick. The Michael Matz barn has been on a roll lately and is underrated debuting juveniles. While this filly also doesn’t have a ton of damside pedigree for grass, the late stallion Kitten’s Joy has been known as one of the preeminent turf sires of his generation so this could should get plenty of turf influence from him.

Colonial Downs Race 6: Don’t Tell Deren (#3)

There are two runners in this VA-Restricted allowance listed at under 2-1 on the morning line, but they both have the same significant question to answer. Both Next Episode (#5) and Determined Charm (#7) have gained most of their accolades sprinting and now must prove they can handle the 8.5 furlongs. Determined Charm lost her last start to one of her stablemates and I think it’s possible this happens again today. I liked Determined Gold (#4) in her last start thinking she was rounding back into her best form after that nice win at Presque Isle. She never really got involved without much of an excuse in her start here on Opening Day which was the ultimately the reason I didn’t put her on top, but the price will be right on her today. I landed on Don’t Tell Deren (#3) as the top choice thinking that she’ll handle the route distance better than the favorites. She’s only started on turf once in her fifteen race career, but that represented her best lifetime effort defeating a solid field of claimers at Laurel. Jockey Xavier Perez comes in specifically to ride this filly as it’s his only mount of the day. He did something similar last week taking down a race last Thursday with a $27 winner with his only mount on that card.

Colonial Downs Race 7: Waittilmidnitehour (#2)

This race is a trip handicapper’s dream as six of the nine runners exit the same affair from August 5th. Of them, the only one I want to use prominently is Cheatin Song (#9) who had a tough time switching over to her correct lead in the lane, but once he did was able to level off nicely. After watching that race back a few times, I ultimately decided to opt for some new faces. It was a Trombetta runner that defeated so many of these in that August and he’s back with two entrants to spoil the party again. The more fancied of which is likely to be Battle of Bastogne (#3). This gelding has been running against maiden claiming company at Laurel, but those fields stack up pretty well with this VA-Restricted maiden special weight. However, I landed on the “other Trombetta” and put Waittilmidnitehour (#2) on top finding it intriguing he sends this filly out to face a field that includes some older males. This isn’t a barn that’s known to have them cranked up to win first out, so I don’t hate the fact this filly got a spin over the dirt course earlier this meet. Maclean’s Music is a very solid turf influence and there’s just enough on the bottom side of her pedigree to think she’ll handle the turf. It’s a dangerous game to be playing jockey musical chairs, but I like the fact Sanchez ends up on the filly when he usually has first preference versus Gallardo.

Colonial Downs Race 8: Full Count Felicia (#8)

I don’t think it’s a matter of if Full Count Felicia (#8) wins this turf allowance, but by just how many lengths will she do it by. After switching to the Brittany Russell barn last summer, this well-bred filly ran superbly on three consecutive occasions. Her two 6+ length blowout wins were sandwiched by a solid effort in the Virginia Oaks where she made a menacing move around the far turn before succumbing to her stakes-quality rivals. The other contenders have serious question marks to answer. Cupid’s Strike (#2) must rebound from a poor performance against a weaker field than this when she was allowed to walk on the front end. Dreamster (#6) must prove she can handle the turf and probably has to take a step forward off her dirt numbers. Lady Puchi (#7) has back numbers that would be good enough to win, but she has get back to them for a barn of lesser renown than her previous trainer. The Russell barn is phenomenal off the bench and Full Count Felicia appears to be working forwardly for her return. With any pace in front of her, she’s likely to make even money look like a bargain.



Meet Statistics

Top Pick: 137-34-27-24 (25%, $1.40); Featured Horses: 57-6-11-11 (11%, $0.57)
Percent of Races Won By: A’s: 43%; B’s: 27%; C’s: 23%; X’s: 7%

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