A Contender Without a Series

Paddy o’Prado working at Churchill for the Derby (Jamie Newell)

Paddy o’Prado goes postward as the favorite in this weekend’s Virginia Derby, a race that would normally be the second leg of the Grand Slam of Grass. The what? (see here) In short, it’s a turf racing series comprised of the Colonial Turf Cup, Virginia Derby, Secretariat Stakes with a big fat bonus for anyone who can sweep the series and then win the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

As discussed at length before, even if a 3-year-old could sweep the series, winning the BC Turf might possibly be more challenging than sweeping the series. This year in particular could be additionally tough with the main track races on dirt, meaning all the talented euro-turfers would remain on turf. Two time winner Conduit has been retired but Starspangledbanner or Fame and Glory could show up. And let’s not forget Gio Ponti.

After Paddy o’Prado won the Colonial Turf Cup I headed over to the Colonial Downs site to check on the Grand Slam of Grass but could only find last year’s page. I emailed them and confirmed that there is no Grand Slam this year but they hope it will be back next year. Could this be the year with a viable contender and no series? Only time will tell. Whatever the outcome, I hope Paddy o’Prado crushes it and comes back next year. He’s been nothing but impressive so far.

Somewhat related, I happened upon an interesting blog yesterday. The Morning Line follows Marshall Blevins on her travails working at Colonial Downs for the summer. It’s mainly pictures (good ones!) but it’s an enjoyable glance into life on the backstretch.

And one of my favorite annual events is back, the Equispace Toga Contest! If you love Saratoga there’s no reason you shouldn’t be playing along.

Best of luck to Paddy o’Prado, and best of luck to you with any online horse betting you have planned for the weekend!