Colonial Downs stakes spot plays for Aug. 31

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

August 30th, 2021

A bonanza of open grass stakes highlight Tuesday's card at Colonial Downs, highlighted by the return of the Virginia Derby (G3).

Here are some horses of interest during the stakes portion of the 11-race program.

Race 6: Old Nelson S. (4:05 p.m. ET)

Trainer Ignacio Correas saddled South American import Cheetara to a mild upset victory in a Colonial stakes last week, and in this spot, he will send out another intriguing contender from south of the equator, #3 Bellagamba (8-1).

Unlike Cheetara, who had the benefit of a prep she narrowly lost, Bellagamba will dive right into stakes company in her first U.S. appearance.

Bellagama blew hot and cold in her native Argentina, but note two of her four group stakes appearances (all against males) resulted in victories. The latter was in a Group 1 over 1 1/4 miles at San Isidro, a generally impressive accomplishment.

Something obviously went amiss in her final start, the Copa de Plata (G1), but the second and third there, Fanciful and Blue Stripe, have both won Group 1 races in Argentina this year, and Bellagamba previously defeated the latter.

With Lasix and blinkers added, Bellagama has upside and could prove effective against this field of grizzled veterans.

Race 9: Virginia Oaks (5:29 p.m. ET)

#10 Out of Sorts (8-1) has taken to the turf quite well this year. She has scored in two of her first three starts on the surface, including the Christiana S. at Delaware Park, by three lengths.

However, she was overmatched last time out in the Saratoga Oaks (G3) and didn't have much pace to run at anyway, courtesy of the frontrunning winner, Con Lima.

This is a more suitable spot, and she fits well.

Race 10: Virginia Derby (G3) (6:14 p.m. ET)

The jump from a maiden race to graded stakes is a tough task, but the late-blooming #1 Search for Truth (8-1) wouldn't need to improve much to make an impact in this soft renewal of Colonial's signature event.

Trained by Michael Dickinson, Search for Truth is a son of Tourist, out of a full sister to Noble Damsel (G3) winner Strike the Bell (Grade 1 winners Data Link and Hymn Book hail from this family, too).

After a slow start, he rallied to finish a clear second in his debut at Delaware Park, behind an older rival who set a Delaware turf course record for one mile in an allowance next time out.

Odds-on in a maiden race over the Colonial turf Aug. 10, Search for Truth showed a different dimension. He went for the lead and crushed his rivals by 11 1/2 lengths.

Aggressively placed in the Virginia Derby by the normally conservative Dickinson, who has three wins from six starts this year, Search for Truth has a lot of scope to improve.