Magdalena Racing's War Dancer just withstood the thrust of Charming Kitten in Saturday night's Grade 2, $500,000 Virginia Derby, with the late-running Jack Milton another head away in third, in a climactic conclusion to Colonial Downs' marquee race.
Charles Fipke's homebred Java's War overcame a troubled start in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes April 13 at Keeneland, closing from last of 14 to first while earning his way into the field for the May 4 Kentucky Derby.
Team Stallion Racing Stable et al's Rydilluc was using his stakes debut in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach on turf as an audition for the Kentucky Derby trail. By drawing off to a flashy 3 1/2-length score and showed star potential.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Balance the Books uncorked a sustained last-to-first move in Thursday's Grade 2, $200,000 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga, denying the pacesetter Joha in the final strides to break his maiden.