July 18, 2024

Second-time starter Integration proves an all-pro in Virginia Derby

Integration in Woodbine at The New Kent County Virginia Derby (Photo by Coady Photography)

It took a long time for Integration to make it to the races, but he’s proven over the last four weeks at Colonial Downs that the wait was worth it.

A 6 1/2-length debut winner at even-money at Colonial on Aug. 12, Integration needed to kick it up several notches in Saturday’s $500,000 Virginia Derby (G3) at Colonial Downs. Not only did the son of Quality Road do so, but looked far more professional than his limited race record would have suggested when defeating recent Saratoga Derby (G1) winner and 7-10 favorite Program Trading.

Integration won going away by 1 1/4 lengths under Kendrick Carmouche and broke the course record in the process, covering 1 1/8 miles over the firm turf in 1:46.41. The second choice in the field of nine, Integration paid $15.40.

Program Trading, who was suffering his first loss in four starts, finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Runaway Storm. The order of finish was rounded out by Mondego, Dataman, Gigante, Activist Investing, Salute the Stars, and Ari Gold.

Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing, Integration is trained by Shug McGaughey. A $750,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling purchase, Integration was bred by Larkin Armstrong in Kentucky and is out of Del Mar Oaks (G1) winner Harmonize, by Scat Daddy.

The Virginia Derby topped a stakes-laden program that was the last of the 2023 season at Colonial. All stakes were contested over the grass.

Thirty Thou Kelvin topped a longshot exacta in the $250,000 Virginia Oaks for three-year-old fillies, re-taking the lead from Alpha Bella inside the final furlong while simultaneously holding off a late bid from 19-1 chance Root Cause at the finish.

The winning margin was a neck for Thirty Thou Kelvin, with Root Cause another neck in front of Alpha Bella. Mission of Joy, the 11-10 favorite, finished fourth in the field of eight.

Under Trevor McCarthy, Thirty Thou Kelvin paid $25.80 after covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.04. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Bolt d’Oro is owned by SJB Stable and trained by John Terranova.

A $110,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling buy, Thirty Thou Kelvin had placed in only one of her first four stakes appearances, that being a distant third in the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway in March, However, she entered the Virginia Oaks off a 2 1/4-length score in the Christiana S. at Delaware Park in mid-July.

Nobals, who notably captured the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) on Kentucky Derby weekend as a 38-1 outsider, had chalk players sweating instead in deep stretch of the $150,000 Da Hoss S. But the 6-5 favorite, under Pablo Morales, made one last surge to edge Alogon by a head in the 5 1/2-furlong dash. Souper Quest, who set the pace, finished 1 3/4 lengths behind in third.

Nobals covered the course in 1:01.46 and returned $4.40. He is owned by Patricia’s Hope LLC and is trained by Larry Rivelli.

A four-year-old gelded son of Noble Mission, Nobals had four stakes wins over synthetic surfaces in both the U.S. and Canada before concentrating on grass for much of the past 15 months. Following his upset score at Churchill Downs, Nobals won the William Garrett H. at Horseshoe Indianapolis and finished second in the Troy (G3) at Saratoga.

No Nay Mets was an even heavier winning favorite when taking the $125,000 Rosie’s S. in wire-to-wire fashion by 3 1/4 lengths under Paco Lopez. The 3-10 choice, No Nay Mets covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.3 and paid $2.60. Toupie and Air Recruit, the respective second and third choices in the field of 11 two-year-olds, were next across the wire.

Owned by Bregman Family Racing and WWBD LLC, the George Weaver-trained No Nay Mets has now won three of four starts. He kicked off his account with a 3 1/2-length score in the inaugural Royal Palm Juvenile at Gulfstream on May 13, which earned him a berth to a stakes at Royal Ascot. Weakening to ninth after showing brief speed in the Norfolk (G2), No Nay Mets was back on form on his return stateside, taking the Tyro S. at Monmouth Park by 5 1/2 lengths.

No Nay Mets in an Irish-bred son of No Nay Never and was bred by Coolmore.

Tok Tok won the longer of the two juvenile stakes, the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy S. over 1 1/16 miles, from the fast-closing first-time starter Triple Espresso by 1 1/4 lengths under Jorge Ruiz. A debut winner earlier in the Colonial meet, Tok Tok covered the course in 1:45.11 and paid $12.40

Triple Espresso, a Todd Pletcher-trained son of Omaha Beach, raced near the back for much of the race before putting on an impressive rally for the place. Determined Sail, a 31-1 longshot, finished third, while 5-2 favorite Manabi finished seventh in the field of 13.

Tok Tok is a homebred racing for Wertheimer and Frere and is trained by Graham Motion. The Kentucky-bred is by Quality Road and out of the Grade 2-winning Unbridled’s Song mare In Tune.

Mike Maker trainees finished one-two in the final race of the meet, the $150,000 Colonial Cup for older horses over 1 1/2 miles. Starting Over, who was entering off back-to-back fourth-place finishes in allowances at Churchill and Saratoga, got the money under Trevor McCarthy by one length over recent claim Dynadrive. McLovin was a head behind Dynadrive in third, while 3-2 favorite Sy Dog finished fourth in the field of eight.

Owned by Nice Guys Stable, Starting Over covered the course in 2:29.30 and paid $14.20. Bred in Kentucky by George Strawbridge, Starting Over is a six-year-old gelded son of Liam’s Map.