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Meet the horse who could be the first Virginia-bred to win the Virginia Cup

The 20th running of the Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs in New Kent marks a significant milestone, and this year, there’s a unique twist. For the first time in the race’s history, a Virginia-bred horse has a strong chance of winning.

Gigante, a three-year-old, has already demonstrated his prowess on the Secretariat Turf Course at Colonial Downs by winning a race and taking home a prize of $500,000. He is currently predicted to finish second in the Virginia Derby.

The race holds special significance this year as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of Secretariat winning the Triple Crown. Penny Tweedy, the daughter of Secretariat’s owner, is expected to be in attendance.

Assistant trainer Caden Arthur, who works with Gigante under the guidance of renowned horse trainer Steve Asmussen, describes the three-year-old as playful and cool, both at the barn and on the track. Arthur believes that Gigante’s familiarity with the track will be advantageous, as many of the other contenders are less acquainted with it.

The Virginia Derby is the highlight of a race day that includes 10 other races, offering over $1 million in winnings. The economic impact of these race weekends on New Kent’s economy is substantial, with Colonial Downs attracting numerous participants and spectators.

Admission to the Saturday races is free, with gates opening at 10:30 a.m., and the first race scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

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