Bouncing back from a lackluster effort in his previous start, Irvin Naylor’s Via Galilei took command in Colonial Downs’ spacious homestretch and pulled away to a 6 3/4-length victory in the $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on Saturday, June 2. Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian, favored at 9-5 despite being the only non-stakes winner in the field, rallied to finish second.
Trained by J. W. Delozier, Via Galilei had won his first U.S. start, Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 21, but he subsequently finished third in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois Steeplechase on May 9. The Ferguson, one of five steeplechase races on Colonial’s opening-day program, was his opportunity to reassert himself in the championship division, and he didn’t disappoint.
Based on his Gwathmey form, Via Galilei went off as the close 2-1 second betting choice and shadowed the pace of Andre Brewster’s and Sheila Williams’ All Together, the 4.20-1 third betting choice.
Geraghty moved the Galileo gelding on Colonial’s final turn, and he opened a two-length advantage in midstretch before widening to the finish line. Gustavian made a late bid under Brian Crowley to finish 3 3/4 lengths clear of All Together, who finished third with jockey Xavier Aizpuru. Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky finished fourth.
Via Galilei ran the Ferguson Memorial’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:08.37 on ground rated as good.