The highlight of the Saturday card at Colonial Downs will be the 4th running of the Grade 3 Colonial Turf Cup. A field of 10 horses has entered to take to the grass in the 1 3/16 mile Turf Cup, which serves as the first leg of the “Grand Slam of Grass.” Some familiar names pepper the field, including Kentucky Derby runners Court Vision and Adriano along with Preakness competitor Kentucky Bear.
The field for the Turf Cup looks like this:
- El Sultry Sun (E. Coa) 12/1
- Court Vision (G. Gomez) 9/2
- Your Round (J. Lopez) 20/1
- Sporting Art (J. Castellano) 5/1
- Baltimore Bob (H. Koaramanos) 30/1
- Nistle’s Crunch (R. Albarado) 8/1
- Kentucky Bear (E. Trujillo) 8/1
- Boss Lafitte (J. Leparoux) 15/1
- Sailor’s Cap (A. Garcia) 7/2
- Adriano (E. Prado) 3/1*
There will be a lot of directions for handicappers to go in this race, so I expect fair prices on the board. Let’s start with the obvious, more high profile horses. Trainer Bill Mott has two of the more well-known colts running today in Adriano and Court Vision. Adriano used to be under the tutelage of Graham Motion, but has recently switched stables and come under the direction of Mott. You may remember Adriano for his victory in the Grade 2 Lanes’s End Stakes back on March 22. He should enjoy the switch back to grass and if his Derby run didn’t zap him the son of A.P. Indy could move forward again today.
Court Vision is a bit more perplexing. Not quite fast enough on dirt to get to the better 3-year-olds this year, Mott will now try the grass for the son of Gulch. He does have two decent wins over the synthetics at the start of his career to entice, but would appear to need a serious step forward to threaten for the win. Perhaps he’ll be a bit closer to the pace than he has been in his previous 3-year-old efforts on the dirt?
The most accomplished turf specialists of the field are Sporting Art (4 for 7, $334, 549 in turf earnings), Sailor’s Cap ($103,495 in turf earnings), and El Sultry Sun (3 for 5 lifetime, $167, 285 in turf earnings). Note that you may be able to catch a price on some of these guys if the bigger named entries take all the play at the windows.
I like the Beyer progression of El Sultry Sun who exits a victory over Prussian in the Lamplighter at Monmouth Park on May 25th. El Sultry Sun also has a bullet workout on June 8th going 4 furlongs in 47 and change. Sporting Art has defeated El Sultry Sun two races back. Sailor’s Cap gets the services of winning Belmont jockey Alan Garcia and exits a tough defeat to a very good horse named Tizdejavu by a neck in his last effort.
Of the other runners, Kentucky Bear intrigues me the most as I really liked this guy going into the Preakness. He had a trip from hell that day stumbling early and being checked later on. WIth all that trouble in mind, he didn’t really disgrace himself by finishing 6th in a field of 12 and 14 lengths behind the monster Big Brown. I’d consider this guy the “x-factor” of the race. It’s tough to tell how he’ll take to the grass, and Reade Baker isn’t exactly known as a turf ace, but if he responds to the surface change this guy could be sitting on a good race.
You also have to pay some attention to Robby Albarado’s horse Nistle’s Crunch. This is a colt that has faced some good horses in Big Brown and Tizdejavu. We also know he can run on the grass as evidenced by his last two races that earned 88 and 91 Beyer speed figures, respectively. I’m not sure if he’s a serious win candidate, but he could wind up in the money.
I look for Sailor’s Cap to get a nice trip here today and either be on the lead or just off it. I’d prefer just off the lead as I think that’s where he does his best running, but breaking from the 9 hole may dictate otherwise and he could well find himself alone on the lead. The question will then become can he hold?
Sporting Art and Adriano should be coming on late and looking to overtake Sailor’s Cap. Court Vision will likely be there with them if he takes to the grass, but I’m going to give Sporting Art and Adriano the nod over Court Vision as I think they are a tad faster.
I’ll give Adriano the nod the for the win, with Sporting Art and Sailor’s Cap battling it out for place. Court Vision, Nistle’s Crunch, El Sultry Sun will round out my play in third. I play a saver bet on Kentucky Bear just in case he shows up as well.
$1 Triifecta: 10/4, 9/ 1, 2, 4, 6, 9 (Total $8 )
This is a tough one for sure, and I think if you prefer any of the horses that include El Sultry Sun, Sporting Art, Court Vision, Adriano, Nistle’s Crunch, Kentucky Bear, or Sailor’s Cap – then play ‘em. This is that competitive of a race. Go with your gut is my advice.