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Times

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Steeplechase

Tax Man

Naylor horse collects rich victory in the Iroquois

INSIDE THIS EDITION Country Cousin, Meet At Eleven win Radnor stakes Coverage from Strawberry Hill, Tanglewood, Willowdale

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Vol. 17, No. 5 Friday, May 28, 2010


COUNTRY COUSIN

VIRGINIA MINSTREL

Congratulations & Thank You to: Oakwood Stable, Gregg Ryan, Over Creek Farm & the rest of the team who provided a great spring of racing. 5 wins from 6 starts, including 2 stakes Join our team of happy horses and happy owners Julie Gomena, 540-554-2842, julie@overcreekfarm.com

DYNANTONIA Photos by Tod Marks

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Entries

What’s Happening and Where To Find It Here’s your newspaper. The spring season spins to a close Saturday, May 29 at Fair Hill after hustling through the last two weeks. Racing went to Nashville for a rich, stakes-heavy card and Tax Ruling jumped to the head of the class with a Grade I win. At Radnor, Country Cousin proved he belongs in the novice division as another star in Julie Gomena’s barn. Strawberry Hill, Tanglewood and Willowdale completd the picture.

Pages 8-10 A Raft of Wins

Jockey Carl Rafter turned a bad day into a big day with three victories (including stakes with Meet At Eleven and Country Cousin) at Radnor. Husband-and-wife trainers Todd and Kathy McKenna also enjoyed the festivities.

New owner Ellen Clark and trainer Teddy Mulligan show the way with a victory at Strawberry Hill, where Julie Gomena’s strong stable picked up another victory (this one by Virginia Minstrel).

The Big One

The Iroquois hosted $400,000 worth of races, including the spring’s only Grade I stakes, and didn’t disappoint. Winners included Tax Ruling, Sweet Shani, Dynantonia, Bubble Economy (again), Dalucci (again) and newcomer Call You In Ten.

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2010 Publication Dates March 17 April 9 April 23 May 7

Pages 20-21 That’s Mr. Claimer to You

On steeplechasing’s return to Tanglewood, veteran Junood won his third race of 2010 and served notice that he’s a force – along with Eagle Beagle and Duke Of Earl – in the division.

PageS 22-23

May 28 June 25 July 16 September 17

October 8 October 22 November 12 December 10

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Super Steve

Irish jockey Mark Beecher and Scuba Steve team up for an eventful win over timber in the Willowdale feature.

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Finding Their Thrill

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On the Cover Iroquois winner Tax Ruling thunders over the last fence in the 3-mile open stakes. The season’s first Grade I produced the season’s best field and a logical progression for the winner, who closed 2009 with back-to-back-thirds in Grade I company. Photo by Tod Marks Also by ST Publishing: The Saratoga Special, Thoroughbred Racing Calendar; Writing for Daily Racing Form, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, The Blood-Horse, The Racing Post, etc.; American Steeplechasing yearbook, newsletters, public relations consulting, custom brochures, Internet sites and graphic design for your farm or business. Copyright ST Publishing, Inc. 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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News & Notes from around the circuit

WEDNESDAY IS

RACE NIGHT AT

Post Time is 5 o’clock with replays through the evening Follow me, boys. Jack Twist – sans jockey – shows his rivals how it’s done in the maiden hurdle at Radnor. Worth Repeating “All I could think was ‘we won’t see the Houghtons here.” Dickie Hendriks, on a “no jeans” rule – and the casual dress preferred by friends Ronnie and Betsy – at a local restaurant

Tod Marks

“I thought we got it, but when they announced the 7 I was OK; it’s not like I lost my best friend.” Owner/trainer Mairead Carr, after Isabel Harp was called the winner of the opener at Strawberry Hill. The mistake was quickly corrected, making Carr’s Triton Light the winner.

“That’s troll territory in there between fences – never go in there.” Chip Miller, as Paddy Young tried to pull up after losing a stirrup at Willowdale

“It’s great to be back in the saddle. I haven’t ridden a winner since the Turf Writers at Saratoga. It took me six weeks to get half-fit again. You get away from it for a while and you realize how much you miss it.” Liam McVicar, after riding Triton Light to victory at Strawberry Hill. The jockey missed most of last fall with a cracked vertebrae in a spill at Moven Park Oct. 10.

“Just move the decimal point.” Jockey Carl Rafter, comparing his weekend May 8-9 to that of owner Irv Naylor

“I know I’m never going to wear a hat and a jacket to the races again; at least not when it’s 90 degrees out.” Owner Ellen Clark, on the steamy weather at Strawberry Hill.

“I had to go back to the closet and tell the March clothes they weren’t done yet.” Russell Jones, on the weather (and wardrobe) at Willowdale

“That’s another cap in my feather.”

Trainer Tom Voss, after Canardly won the maiden claimer at Willowdale

“If you tell them too much you put pressure on them and then they’re looking for the notebook and trying to remember what you said instead of riding the race.” Trainer Janet Elliot, on giving jockeys instructions “It wasn’t a horse race, but it was a lot of fun.” Jockey Ivan Dowling, about being the lone finisher in the amateur highweight timber at Willowdale “Ask me anything about the Civil War – for the next week or so. After that, forget it.” Trainer’s wife Emily Day, whose pursuit of a college degree has provided plenty of temporary knowledge “How much do I pay you if we win?” Owner Phyllis Wyeth, after being introduced to jockey Carl Rafter before Radnor’s finale; Rafter and Saluda Sam won, earning $12,000 for Wyeth and $1,200 for Rafter.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Take A Number

37 Dollars trainer Jack Fisher paid to rent a car at Nashville. 50 Dollars trainer Jack Fisher paid a locksmith to open a $37 rental car at Nashville.

6

Years between victories in the Mason Houghland Memorial timber stakes for Bubble Economy, who won the race in 2004 (his first timber start) and 2010.

43,639 Dollars Bubble Economy ($385,850) needs to tie Sa-

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luter ($429,489) for the career earnings record for timber horses.

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Teams – Ulster Rugby and Washington Redskins – represented on the jacket and hat, respectively, worn by visiting Irish jockey (and international sports fan) Mark Beecher at Willowdale

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Royal Ascot (June) L’Arc de Triomphe (Sep-Oct) Cheltenham (March) Dubai (March) Aintree (April)

1 (800) 368-0872 | www.horseracingtripsworldwide.com

NSA Standings top 10 through may 28 Jockeys (Races Won)

Sts Paddy Young........................... 40 Carl Rafter............................... 30 Jeff Murphy............................. 31 Danielle Hodsdon.................... 19 Matt McCarron........................ 27 Richard Boucher..................... 20 Jody Petty............................... 28 Bernard Dalton........................ 27 Xavier Aizpuru......................... 21 Darren Nagle........................... 34

1st 11 8 6 6 5 5 5 4 3 3

2nd 9 4 5 3 5 2 2 10 6 5

3rd 4 3 5 5 3 6 3 3 3 5

Trainers (Races Won)

Sts Jonathan Sheppard................. 43 Tom Voss................................ 32 Jack Fisher.............................. 40 Sanna Hendriks......................... 8 Julie Gomena............................ 6 Kathy McKenna....................... 23 Dave Washer............................. 7 Doug Fout............................... 17 Teddy Mulligan.......................... 9 Janet Elliot................................ 9

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1st 12 7 7 5 5 4 3 3 3 3

2nd 5 10 9 1 0 2 3 1 1 0

3rd 14 2 5 0 1 2 1 4 0 1

Owners (Money Won)

Sts Irv Naylor................................ 29 Arcadia Stable......................... 12 Bill Pape.................................. 16 Ken and Sarah Ramsey............. 3 Maggie Bryant......................... 17 Mary Ann Houghland................ 5 Randleston Farm....................... 6 Oakwood Stable........................ 3 Hudson River Farm................... 7 Lucy Goelet............................... 2

1st 3 2 2 2 5 2 1 3 1 1

2nd 1 3 2 1 1 0 2 0 1 0

3rd 4 0 6 0 3 0 0 0 5 0

Horses (Money Won)

Sts Tax Ruling................................. 2 Bubble Economy....................... 3 Slip Away.................................. 2 Spy In The Sky.......................... 2 Twill Do..................................... 2 Country Cousin......................... 2 Meet At Eleven (Ire).................. 2 Dynantonia................................ 2 Divine Fortune........................... 3 Arcadius.................................... 2

1st 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1

2nd 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

3rd 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1

Earnings $329,100 177,100 106,025 148,750 83,050 83,200 81,050 105,350 96,750 170,200

Win% .28 .27 .19 .32 .19 .20 .18 .15 .14 .09

Earnings $278,450 184,950 239,550 44,300 107,000 58,900 34,100 55,475 30,800 45,200

Win% .29 .22 .18 .63 .83 .17 .43 .18 .33 .33

Earnings $140,850 112,650 76,000 75,000 70,975 65,500 58,550 57,000 47,500 46,750

Win% .10 .17 .13 .67 .29 .40 .17 1.00 .14 .50

Earnings $102,250 95,400 57,000 47,500 46,750 42,000 36,000 35,000 33,500 33,000

Win% .50 .67 .50 .50 .50 1.00 1.00 .50 .33 .50

2010 NSA Summer Schedule Friday, June 4................Philadelphia Park Bensalem, Pa. Two races.

Thursday, July 29...... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race.

Sunday, June 13............... Colonial Downs New Kent, Va. Two races.

Thursday, Aug. 5....... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race. A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G2)

Friday, June 18................... Penn National Grantville, Pa. Two races. Sunday, June 27............... Colonial Downs New Kent, Va. Two races. Friday, July 2..................... Penn National Grantville, Pa. Two races. Sunday, July 11................ Colonial Downs New Kent, Va. Two races. Sunday, July 18......... Saratoga Open House Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Four races.

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Thursday, Aug. 12..... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race. Thursday, Aug. 19..... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race. Thursday, Aug. 26..... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race. New York Turf Writers Cup (G1) Thursday, Sept. 2...... Saratoga Race Course Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One race. See www.nationalsteeplechase.com for updates

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Steeplechase Times

•7


Raft Race

Meet At Eleven, Country Cousin key big afternoon for jockey Rafter by joe clancy

radnor hunt races

MALVERN, Pa. – In late April, Carl Rafter finished second aboard Quiet Approval in a maiden hurdle at Foxfield. In early May, he finished second with Class Century in a maiden hurdle at the Virginia Gold Cup. He rode neither horse in the $25,000 maiden hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races May 15, and naturally they ran 1-2. Rafter finished sixth – 50 lengths behind the winner – on Embarrassed. “I would have chosen Class Century, but I had ridden them both and I liked them both,” he said. “The trainer (Kathy McKenna) made the call and I rode her other horse, which is how it works sometimes. I wasn’t very happy the way things turned out. I was having a bad day.” And then he wasn’t. Rafter turned frustration into success by winning three races, sweeping both stakes and taking home the $1,000 leading jockey prize. “It all works out in the end, right?” he said. “Great day, great day. Part of me says I could have won four, but it probably wouldn’t have happened that way.”

Saturday, May 15 • Rafter guided Meet At Eleven home to a mild upset in the $40,000 Radnor Hunt Cup timber stakes for Keystone Thoroughbreds and trainer Todd McKenna. The winner dropped to last of six early, advanced to second on the backside and went after The Whacker (Paddy Young) in the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 7:01.40. Music To My Ears (Willie Dowling) stayed for third with South Monarch fourth after jumping poorly at the final two. Meet At Eleven improved to 2-for-2 this year and avenged the bad luck of getting kicked (and scratched) at the start of the Virginia Gold Cup May 1. “He was so good out there, did everything I wanted him to,” said Rafter. “Anyone could have ridden him.” McKenna and Rafter didn’t get to bask in the victory much as they thought the horse had injured himself. “He switched his lead about 10 times before the last fence, and then again after the last,” said Rafter. “I thought he was hurt and told Todd when I came back to unsaddle.”

Meet At Eleven pulls away from The Whacker in the Radnor Hunt Cup over timber.

McKenna switched to crisis management. “Carl said he was sorry, that he thought the horse had broken down in front, it was terrible,” said the trainer and co-owner. “I was freaking out a little bit and wanted to get back to the barn to figure out what was wrong.” Very little as it turned out. Meet At Eleven simply lost a front shoe and was trying to protect his foot and find some traction. “What a relief,” McKenna said. “I kept thinking to myself that he’s pretty sound in front, but it sounded bad there for a minute.” Imported from Ireland by Bill Lickle, Meet At Eleven made his American debut in 2004 and won twice over hurdles in 2005 while part of Kathy McKenna’s barn. When Lickle dispersed his stock, the trainer’s husband signed up as the owner. “I hunted him for two years, messed around with him and always had the Manor, the Grand National and, if it worked out, the Maryland Hunt Cup as goals,” he said. “It just didn’t work out. The ground’s been too soft, and he doesn’t want any part of that.”

Tod Marks

Partner Bill Wylie reminded his trainer there are other timber races, and other ground, so McKenna authored a new plan for 2010. “We went to Camden and he was good enough to get the job done,” said the trainer. “I was disappointed not to run in the Gold Cup, but one door closes and another one opens. He’s finally getting his ground.” • The $50,000 National Hunt Cup, a novice hurdle stakes, was anticipated as the return of 2009 novice champion Left Unsaid. The 5-year-old blitzed to three wins and $137,700 during his rookie season and came to Radnor off two training flat wins. He carried top weight of 156 pounds (three to six more than his six rivals) while looking to duplicate stakes scores at Saratoga and Far Hills. Country Cousin spoiled the party. Oakwood Stable’s 7-year-old charged through an opening on the inside to wrest the lead from Ambersham (Dowling) at the top of the stretch, then held off Left Unsaid (Ross Geraghty) to score See radnor page 9

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Radnor –

Continued from page 8

by a nose. Country Cousin got the 2 3/8 miles in 4:40.20. Trainer Julie Gomena paid partial credit to the right-handed course. “He’d never done it before, but I ride him every day and I’m an event rider. I do a lot of flat work, you can tell what side they favor and he’s a right-handed horse,” she said. “I told Carl the horse is handy and he’s going to love this track. Use that to your advantage.” Rafter heard his trainer on the short run to the final turn. Third behind Ambersham and Ballet Boy down the hill, the winner stayed inside and beat Ambersham to the next beacon while Left Unsaid spun wide to the corner. Country Cousin straightened up with a short lead and won the battle to the finish. “By making the move sooner my horse nearly got beat, but if I had to make the move around the outside I wasn’t going to win,” said Rafter. “I got there, to the position I wanted, I was right upsides (Ambersham) before he even got to the flag – I had the horse to get there.” Gomena bought Country Cousin via former jump jockey Speedy Smithwick, who had the horse on the flat in Kentucky. The son of Lear Fan ran twice over jumps in 2008, and closed 2009 with a maiden win at Montpelier. He opened 2010 with an allowance score at Middleburg and ran the winning streak to three at Radnor. • Rafter capped his triple in the finale, $20,000 maiden claiming hurdle, with Saluda Sam. The first-time hurdler bounded to the first few fences while tossing his head, relaxed to stalk Hourigan and Manassa Mauler to the stretch, then powered away to win by 6 1/4 lengths in 4:51.40 for 2 3/8 miles. The winner gave Kathy McKenna another training double (to go with Willowdale six days earlier) and showcased the brown and yellow silks of Phyllis Wyeth’s Chadds Ford Stable. Best known for 1970s star Leaping Frog (who won 17 races and $233,000), Wyeth called Saluda Sam her first winner “in 25 years or so.” McKenna worked for Wyeth as a teenager and enjoys the partnership. “I’m very lucky to know her,” she said. “I traveled with her for a whole summer and I loved her then. I was not the best assistant you would ever know, but we just stayed in touch. She got out

Country Cousin (left) holds off Left Unsaid near the finish of the National Hunt Cup.

of steeplechase horses, but she noticed I won the Hunt Cup with Young Dubliner (2002) and must have had my name written down somewhere. It’s very nice to win a race for her.” • Move Up Stable’s Quiet Approval (Jody Petty) started the day by backing up the promise he showed in his debut at Foxfield. The 4-year-old took over from Hidden Trail in the stretch and out-stayed Class Century (Paddy Young) to win by a length in 4:51 for 2 3/8 miles. Straight To It (Dowling) finished third. Loose horse Jack Twist shook up the field for much of the race after losing Darren Nagle early, but stayed clear of the winner. “I had to follow him over one fence and I hate that – it’s never a good feeling because you don’t know what they’re going to do,” said Petty. “My horse was really good in the stretch. I didn’t mean to make the lead as quickly as I did, but when I squeezed him he shot right up there. He jumped the last two really well and hung with everything he had.” • Jockey Paddy Young talked strategy with trainer Tom Voss before the second, a $30,000 allowance hurdle, and got very little. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Voss of his horse Mabou. “If he gets the trip, he gets the trip. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.” Mabou carried a perfect 3-for-3 mark over jumps – in races he’d finished. Two See radnor page 10

Ambersham (left) leads Country Cousin and Ballet Boy with a circuit to go.

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•9


Radnor –

Continued from page 9

other starts ended in a fall and a pull up. At Radnor, the 7-year-old took his customary spot on the lead and shrugged off challenges while winning by 3 1/4 lengths over So Amazing (Rafter) with London Grove (Xavier Aizpuru) a distant third in a field of four. The winner covered the 2 3/8 miles in 4:30.80 (nearly 10 seconds faster than the stakes). “I looked at his form and it was all on sharp, quick tracks, so I wasn’t sure how he’d do here,” said Young. “We went pretty quick early, but then Xav got London Grove to completely settle, my horse relaxed and was able to conserve his energy.” Mabou won four races on the flat before being claimed by Ken and Sarah Ramsey as a steeplechase prospect in August 2008. Last spring, the son of Dynaformer fell at High Hope, won at Philadelphia Park, was pulled up at Saratoga, and closed with back-to-back open claiming wins while being risked for a $20,000 tag. • Early this year, trainer Jack Fisher talked about Super Claimer Duke Of Earl and threw down a challenge.

“Bring on The Beagle,” Fisher said with a laugh. “The Duke is ready.” Claiming champions in 2008 and 2009, respectively, Duke Of Earl and Eagle Beagle met in the $25,000 open claiming hurdle. Barracuda Stable’s Eagle Beagle avenged a loss to his rival last summer at Saratoga – and made up for a mystifying effort two weeks earlier at Great Meadow – with a polished score. Eagle Beagle (Young) settled behind powerhouse early leader Moneytrain (Petty) for the first 2 miles while Duke Of Earl (Aizpuru) dropped deeper in the field of seven. Eagle Beagle took command at the top of the stretch as Moneytrain tired, but braced for a challenge. “I jumped the third-last and all I could see was that white facing coming up behind me,” said Young. “I knew Duke Of Earl was coming, like he always does.” Clinging to a slim lead at the secondlast, Eagle Beagle flew it while Duke Of Earl lost ground. The race was over. Eagle Beagle rolled on to the finish, winning by 4 1/4 lengths in 4:39. Duke Of Earl, bidding for his third consecutive win in the race, stayed for second with Moneytrain third. Trainer Ricky Hendriks got five wins out of Eagle Beagle in 2009, the horse’s rookie season, but started 2010 with

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Saluda Sam clears the last on the way to jockey Carl Rafter’s third win of the day.

three losses in allowance and optional claiming company. Most recently, Young pulled up the 6-year-old at the Virginia Gold Cup as Eagle Beagle lugged out on a turn. “A right-handed course like (Radnor) helps him because he lugs,” Young said. “It’s a really sharp left-handed bend at Gold Cup and he was very keen for some reason. He was pulling and lugging and I just couldn’t get him around

Tod Marks

there. He was going to run into a timber beacon and I didn’t want him to hurt himself so I let him go around it.” With six wins, Young is fond of Eagle Beagle – but also smiles when he talks about Duke Of Earl. “It’s fun to have two horses like that; they should run against each other,” he said. “The biggest advantage for Eagle Beagle is he’s younger (6 vs. 11), but they’re pretty close.”

See page 12 for Radnor results

Past & Present

The National Steeplechase Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of American Steeplechasing . . . i

The Foundation has supported historical projects such as the American Steeplechasing yearbook, the National Steeplechase Museum, the work of noted authors, and more. American steeplechasing dates to the 1800s. Your support ensures that history continues. i

Preserve the past, advance the present.

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Eagle Beagle (left) pulls away from Duke Of Earl in the claimer.

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Radnor Hunt Races

Malvern, Pa. Saturday, May 15. Turf: Firm. 1st. $25,000. SOK mdn. hurdle. 2-3/8 miles. 1. Quiet Approval L 142 Petty 2. Class Century 142 Young 3. Straight To It L 142 Dowling 4. PynaformeR L 142 Aizpuru 5. Hidden Trail L 154 Geraghty 6. Embarrassed L 154 Rafter LR. Jack Twist (NZ) L 154 Nagle Mgn: 1. Time: 4:51. O: Move Up Stable. T: Kathy McKenna. B. g. 4, Quiet American-Agolo, Alydeed. Bred by Kingfield Farms (Canada). 2nd. $30,000. Allow. hurdle. 2-3/8 miles. NW1X 1. Mabou L 148 Young 2. So Amazing (Ire) L 144 Rafter 3. London Grove L 144 Aizpuru PU. Arch Hero L 152 Geraghty Mgn: 3 1/4. Time: 4:30 4/5. O: Ken and Sarah Ramsey. T: Tom Voss. B. g. 7, Dynaformer-Royal Dove (Ire), Royal Academy. Bred by Ironwater Farms Joint Venture (Ky). 3rd. $40,000. Timber stakes. 3-1/4 miles. The Radnor Hunt Cup. 1. Meet At Eleven (Ire) L 160 Rafter 2. The Whacker (Ire) L 165 Young 3. Music To My Ears (Ire) L 150 Dowling 4. South Monarch L 165 Petty 5. Patriot’s Path L 165 Nagle F. Artist’s Stroke 150 Gillam Mgn: 3 1/4. Time: 7:01 2/5. O: Keystone Thoroughbreds. T: Todd McKenna. B. g. 11, Oscar (Ire)-Everdancing (GB), Dance In Time. Bred by David Magnier (Ire). 4th. $50,000. Nov. hurdle stakes. 2-3/8 miles. NW prior to 3/1/09 or NW2. The National Hunt Cup. 1. Country Cousin L 153 Rafter 2. Left Unsaid L 156 Geraghty 3. Ambersham L 150 Dowling 4. Ballet Boy (Ire) L 150 Young 5. You The Man L 153 Petty 6. Dugan L 153 Aizpuru F. Nationbuilder L 153 Hodsdon Mgn: Nose. Time: 4:401/5. O: Oakwood Stable. T: Julie Gomena. Dk. B./Br. g. 7, Lear Fan-Stormy Lonesome, Apalachee. Bred by William Backer (Ky). 5th. $25,000. Open clm. hurdle. 2-3/8 miles. $15,000 min. clm. price 1 Eagle Beagle L 145 Young 2 Duke Of Earl (Ire) L 145 Aizpuru 3 Moneytrain (Ger) L 145 Petty 4 Dubai Sunday (Jpn) L 145 Nagle 5 Chivite (Ire) L 145 Rafter 6 Atrium L 145 Dowling PU. Triple Dip L 147 Geraghty Mgn: 4 1/4. Time: 4:39. O: Barracuda Stable. T: Ricky Hendriks. B. g. 6, Lemon Drop Kid-Tough Broad, Broad Brush. Bred by Fitzhugh LLC (Md). 6th. $20,000. Mdn. clm. hurdle. 2-3/8 miles. $30,000-$25,000 clm. price 1. Saluda Sam L 156 Rafter 2. Manassa Mauler L 156 Geraghty 3. Mattituck Inlet L 148 Nagle 4. Hourigan (Ire) L 148 Aizpuru 5. Not For Love’s Boy L 148 Dowling Mgn: 6 1/4. Time: 4:51 2/5. O: Chadds Ford Stable. T: Kathy McKenna. Ch. g. 5, Adcat-Super Skirt, Proud Truth. Bred by F R Bobby Nelson (SC).

Friday, May 28, 2010


New Name

Final Straw presents owner Clark with first jump win – in first try BY BRIAN NADEAU

strawberry hill races

NEW KENT, Va. – Welcome to steeplechase racing, Ellen Clark. Seven months after a trip to Foxfield spurred her interest, Clark hit the winner’s circle with her first NSA starter after Final Straw won the $15,000 maiden hurdle May 15 at the Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs. “He’s the first horse I’ve ever owned and this is his first start, so obviously I’m just thrilled to be in the winner’s circle,” Clark said. “What an exciting day, especially because we kind of kept things in the family. My son-in-law John’s brother Teddy (Mulligan) is the trainer, so it’s worked out great.” Final Straw (Liam McVicar) was content to settle near the back as Bag Of Hammers, Freeboard and Century Gold led during the second circuit. As the field turned for home, Final Straw began to pick off horses and closed with a rush late to score by 2 3/4 lengths over Century Gold (Bernie Dalton) and Freeboard (Matt McCarron). The final time for the 2 1/4 miles was 4:28 4/5. Clark watched from the box seats and was almost in disbelief as the

Saturday, May 15 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway crossed the line. When the Midlothian, Va. resident took the trip to Foxfield last fall, the winner’s circle at Colonial Downs couldn’t have been further from her mind “I never wanted to own a horse and I never knew anything about horse racing,” Clark said. “But when I went to Foxfield last year with Teddy and the family I took an interest to the sport. I figured it could give me something exciting to do on the weekends and obviously that sure happened today.” Mulligan bought Final Straw as a hurdle prospect from Leslie and Paddy Young. Final Straw had run well in three flat starts for Leigh Delacour and his pedigree suggested steeplechasing. Mulligan started Final Straw in maiden hurdle races at Fairfax Point-toPoint April 18 and Middleburg Pointto-Point April 25 and he ran well, finishing fourth and sixth respectively with McVicar aboard. The trial runs set him up perfectly for Strawberry Hill, which

Final Straw (right) battles early in his maiden win at Strawberry Hill.

had long been circled on the calendar. “He’s always showed some talent and we liked him so the goal from the very beginning was to get him here and win this race,” Mulligan said. “We just had Liam gallop him out the back in the two point-to-point runs to set us up and it worked out just perfectly.” • McCarron admitted his eyes got a little bigger when his three rivals – the only three rivals – began to spar on the lead in the featured $25,000 Strawberry Hill Classic allowance hurdle As Moving Violation, Prince Rahy and Expel vied for the front, McCarron and Oakwood Stable’s Virginia Minstrel sat back and waited for the hourglass

Betsy Parker

sand to run thin. It happened on the far turn, where Prince Rahy and Expel began to tire and McCarron called on Virginia Minstrel, who accelerated in an instant and drew off by 6 1/4 lengths. Expel (Jeff Murphy) battled back to claim second from Prince Rahy (Richard Boucher) late. The final time for the 2 1/4 miles was 4:25 2/5. “It set up perfectly for us. I was very happy to sit back and wait when I saw them mixing it up on the front end,” McCarron said. “I saw Prince Rahy was a bit unsettled for Richard and that tired him and affected his jumping. My horse was much more experienced and See strawberry hill page 14

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• 13


Strawberry Hill –

to change it here,” she said. “With his toughness we knew if he settled he could be really tough to pass. When I bought him he was a long-winded horse that seemed like he could be a good jumper, so it’s nice to see him healthy and running so well.”

Continued from page 13

that really helped. I was able to decelerate once I was clear and basically we just show-jumped the last and won pretty easily.” Though trainer Julie Gomena was busy saddling Country Cousin to an upset win in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup, Virginia Minstrel’s win only furthered her strong start to the season – five wins in six starts through May 28. “They’re running like scalded cats,” McCarron said. “Julie’s done a great job all year it’s great to see because she works really hard. She went to Aiken this winter and I think that helped out a lot. She’s got some horses with a lot of talent and they’re running to that talent right now.”

• The racetrack adage is that time only matters in jail. In steeplechase racing, especially on the point-to-circuit, time is about as important as an air conditioner in the north pole. But every once in a while it does in fact tell the story. Falcon Racing’s Daylight Fire won off by 10 lengths in a maiden hurdle at Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point April 25, a race almost seven seconds faster than the other maiden hurdle on the card. After she won Strawberry Hill’s filly/mare maiden by an easy 6 lengths, time was the only thing on trainer Don Yovanovich’s mind. “Her race at Middleburg was huge so we knew going into today she had a big chance,” Yovanovich said.” She ran • Toughness has never been lacking Susan Carter/Eclipse Sportswire so much faster than the other race on the from Triton Light’s repertoire. Triton Light (right) battles Isabel Harp in the maiden claimer. card. She was almost seven seconds fastAs a 3-year-old he hurt himself at Virer – that’s 35 lengths no matter how you ginia Fall but still beat five to the line. Last “What a fighter. What a tenacious horse,” Carr month at Middleburg, he came back holding one foot said. “At Middleburg he came back holding his foot want to look at it.” Jeff Murphy sent Daylight Fire to the front and the gingerly, but was still beaten just 8 lengths. He again up; it was killing him. I thought ‘What a brave little showed his toughness in the Strawberry Hill opener racehorse.’ To run that hard with that issue showed 5-year-old daughter of Seeking Daylight did the rest, for owner/trainer Mairead Carr when passed late by how tough he was. He got a lot out of that run and it running the field into the ground and scoring easily Isabel Harp but came again to post a nose decision in moved him up today. And his foot was feeling good over a belated Peace Proposal (Boucher), who was well clear of Fiesty Lady (Jacob Roberts). Final time the $10,000 maiden claimer. and he showed what he could do.” Triton Light (McVicar) went to the front and doled Carr bought Triton Light out of Jeff Runco’s Charles for the 2 1/4 miles was 4:26 1/5. Yovanovich claimed Daylight Fire for $4,500 at out the fractions while It’s A G Man ran in second Town barn last summer with the hopes of selling him with a large gap to the rest. The real running began as a hurdle prospect. She had a buyer but an injury at Charles Town in March 2008 and won a race on the on the far turn, when Isabel Harp (Dalton) ranged up Virginia Fall last year shelved that plan. Freshened for turf at Colonial Downs that July. “She’s by Seeking Daylight out of a Deputy Ministo tackle Triton Light. The two raced as a team early a 4-year-old campaign, Triton Light hinted at some in the stretch until Isabel Harp surged to the lead. Tri- ability when he won a maiden hurdle on the lead at ter mare, so that sure seemed like hurdles to me,” Yoton Light dug deep, answered the challenge and battled Old Dominion Point-to-Point April 3 and that strat- vanovich said. “She just needed some time and some new surroundings and she’s really taken to it this year. back along the inside to post a nose decision over Isabel egy Carr took to Strawberry Hill. Harp, with Dancing Sky (Roddy Mackenzie) well back “The plan was to let him break off and go to the She showed at Middleburg and again today what she’s in third. Final time for the 2 1/4 miles was 4:26 1/5. front. It worked at Old Dominion so we weren’t about capable of.”

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Strawberry Hill Races

New Kent, Va. Saturday, May 15. Turf: Firm. 1st. $10,000. Mdn. clm. hurdle. 2-1/4 miles. $15,000-$10,000 clm. price 1. Triton Light L 136 McVicar 2. Isabel Harp L 140 Dalton 3. Dancing Sky (Ire) L 140 Mackenzie 4. Moto Cat L 148 Murphy 5. It’s A G Man L 142 Price 6. Magic Moonshine L 136 McCarron 7. Music Tune L 143 Slater 8. Justabud L 148 Roberts Mgn: Nose. Time: 4:26 1/5. O/T: Mairead Carr. Dk. B./Br. g. 4, Vicar-Angela, Private Terms. Bred by Coleswood Farm (WV). 2nd. $15,000. F&M mdn. hurdle. 2-1/4 miles. 1. Daylight Fire L 155 Murphy 2. Peace Proposal L 155 Boucher 3. Fiesty Lady L 150 Roberts 4. Furtive 155 Dalton 5. Better Than Even L 150 McVicar 6. Bobbin’forgold L 143 McCarron F. Ottasea L 150 Mackenzie PU. Truffle Hunter L 155 Slater Mgn: 6. Time: 4:26 1/5. O: Falcon Racing. T: Don Yovanovich. B. m. 5, Seeking Daylight-Fire The Deputy, Deputy Minister. Bred by Edward Evans (Va). 3rd. $15,000. Maiden hurdle. 2-1/4 miles. 1. Final Straw L 137 McVicar 2. Century Gold L 142 Dalton 3. Freeboard L 154 McCarron 4. Bag Of Hammers L 154 Slater PU. Triple Bogey Blues L 154 Roberts PU. Regality 144 Delaney PU. Personal Two L 142 Murphy Mgn: 2 3/4. Time: 4:28 4/5. O: Ellen Clark. T: Teddy Mulligan. Dk. B./Br. g. 4, Giant’s Causeway-Gracious Living, Pleasant Colony. Bred by Jon & Sarah Kelly (Ky). 4th. $25,000. Allow. hurdle. 2-1/4 miles. NW 1X 1. Virginia Minstrel L 156 McCarron 2. Expel L 144 Murphy 3. Prince Rahy L 156 Boucher 4. Moving Violation L 146 Dalton Mgn: 6 1/4. Time: 4:25 2/5. O: Oakwood Stable. T: Julie Gomena. Dk. B./Br. g. 6, Pleasant Tap-Divine Dixie, Dixieland Band. Bred by William Backer (Ky). Training flat. 1-1/4 miles. 1. Whistling Deputy L 150 McCarron 2. Our Duet 150 Roberts 3. Miss Crown L 145 Dalton 4. Resign If Elected L 150 Price 5. Two Ticks L 150 Murphy 6. Bold Crossing 150 Slater 7. Complete Zen L 155 Torres 8. Riddle L 155 Ruch 9. Fifty Grand 140 McVicar Mgn: Nose. Time: 2:13 2/5. O: Ann Stern. T: Jack Fisher. B. g. 6, Bertrando-Whistling Bullet, Silver Deputy. Bred by Adena Springs (Fla).

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Steeplechase Times

• 15


Payback

Tax Ruling thrives at distance, lands Grade I victory for Naylor BY joe clancy NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Darren Nagle reached the last fence of the Mason Houghland Memorial timber stakes aboard a tiring Radio Flyer. To his inside, timber powerhouse Bubble Economy launched a winning move. “Well, maybe next year I’ll have Tax Ruling to go after you with,” Nagle thought as the winner roared past. Not so fast, Darren. One race later, Tax Ruling – another future lumber king in the barn of leading timber owner Irv Naylor – won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois hurdle stakes May 8. Third twice in Grade I stakes late last year, Tax Ruling vaulted to the top of the 2010 championship picture by beating the best field of hurdlers this year. “He won’t be a timber horse for a while now, will he?” Nagle said with a laugh. “I’m happier to win the Iroquois with him.” Tax Ruling looks happier too. The Kentucky-bred won for the fourth time in 16 jump starts and rewarded the faith of Naylor and trainer Desmond 2_Layout 1 5/24/10 2:07 PM Page 1 Foga-

iroquois steeplechase Saturday, May 8 rty. The son of Dynaformer began 2010 with a dull performance (sixth beaten 41 lengths) in the Carolina Cup March 27. “He sprung a hind shoe pretty bad and struck into himself that day,” said Fogarty, who didn’t opt for that Grade II race until entry time. “That was part of it, but in saying that there’s a big difference between the pace here and the pace at Camden. He gets run off his feet in shorter races like the Carolina Cup or at Saratoga.” Not at Nashville. The longest hurdle stakes in the country includes 18 fences and two runs up a deceptively long hill. The Iroquois course rises from its low point at the start of the backside to the finish line – a solid 6 furlongs of steady climbing, which must be negotiated twice at the 3-mile distance. Like peanut butter and jelly, Tax Ruling and 3 miles just go together. See tax ruling page 17

Tax Ruling powers toward the finish of the 3-mile Iroquois Steeplechase.

Tod Marks

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Tax Ruling –

Continued from page 16

His best races last year came at Radnor (a demanding 2 3/8 miles), Far Hills (2 5/8 miles) and the Colonial Cup (2 3/4 miles). “Last year, we said this was his race,” said Fogarty. “Three miles, you know? He got every yard of it. We thought 3 miles and jumping and coming up that hill should suit him to a T. He’s an out and out stayer, he’ll go on any ground, he’s a proper horse, a proper horse.” Tax Ruling and Slip Away came into the eighthorse race as the only true front-runners. Nagle and Paddy Young talked strategy beforehand and when Slip Away bounded to the front approaching the first, Tax Ruling took the second spot. More relaxed than when he won the Temple Gwathmey Slip Away (right) takes the three weeks earlier, Slip Away loped on the lead. lead early in the Iroquois. Tax Ruling set up camp in second, followed by the pack of Mixed Up, Chivite, Your Sum Man, Chess Board, Arcadius and Triple Dip. “I would have been happy to roll along in front and I half thought Paddy might try to bury Slip Away behind, but he said he was going to let his horse roll along, so whoever got to the first in front was probably going to make it,” said Nagle. “Paddy got there before me.” Tax Ruling popped the first fence a bit, and relaxed immediately in the second spot. Halfway through, Slip Away still handled the pace alone while Tax Ruling had a length on the others. He inched closer on the backside as Arcadius (Willie Dowling) advanced, Mixed Up flattened out and Your Sum Man retreated. The winner reached Slip Away on the final turn and they battled into ® the stretch while getting first run on Arcadius. Tax Ruling led by a length at the second-last and more at the last, which he barreled through while winning by 4 3/4 lengths in 5:37.20. Slip Away stayed for second with Arcadius third, 20 lengths clear of Chess Board. Last year’s champion Mixed Up faded to fifth while Grand National winner Your Sum Man was pulled up. “Tax Ruling relaxed brilliantly for me, which was as important as anything,” said Nagle. “He’s so straightforward and uncomplicated, it made my life very easy. He was happy to just sit there. I had an armchair ride the whole race. I was happy with the pace, he was happy there.” Nagle fought the urge to get too confident, but loved the feeling from his horse. “You only disappoint yourself if you think about winning one beforehand,” he said. “I got on him and wanted to see how he was down at the start, how he was going to the first couple of fences, then I was happy with him. He did everything very well. If you had anything to be confident about it was that he’d gallop from start to finish. He can gallop along at a pretty good pace for a while.” Bred but never raced by the Phipps Stable, Tax Ruling was sold to Naylor Subaru is pleased to announce that the Outback was recently named Motor Trend’s early and raced over hurdles for trainer 2010 Sport/Utility of the Year,® making Subaru the first car company to take home Bruce Miller as a 3-year-old (including a start vs. Slip Away in the Raymond Motor Trend’s Sport/Utility of the Year® twice in a row. Looks like a little love can go Woolfe Memorial) in 2006. The next a long way. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru. year, the horse made two flat starts for Jonathan Sheppard and moved to Fogarty’s care that fall. He progressed to Outback® with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Well-equipped at $22,995.† maiden winner in 2008 at Strawberry Hill, novice stakes winner in spring 2009 See more at subaru.com and Grade I placed by fall. The Iroquois came next. Subaru is a proud partner of Leave No Trace and a proud supporter of National River Cleanup. MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. And timber racing will have to wait. Dealer sets actual price. Outback 2.5i Premium pictured has an MSRP of $25,295.

Tod Marks

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Steeplechase Times

• 17 5/4/10 5:09:33 PM


At Last

Overdue Sweet Shani scores first American win in $50,000 Henley by joe clancy

IROQUOIS STEEPLECHASE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A.P. Smithwick? Third. Lonesome Glory? Fourth. Grand National? Second. Royal Chase? Second. Iroquois? Third. Sweet Shani spent much of 2007 and 2008 chasing Good Night Shirt, McDynamo and Mixed Up – the last three steeplechase champions. Chasing, not beating. The Grade I placings meant a big bankroll, but no victories, as Sweet Shani entered 2010 with $110,000 in American earnings and an 11-race losing streak. Owned by Nashville-area resident Mary Ann Houghland, Sweet Shani finished third in the 2008 Iroquois and would not have looked out of place in the 3-mile Grade I – but had options. “She could have run in the amateur race, the big race or the filly and mare race,” said trainer Jonathan Sheppard. “I finally thought that there’s no sense having a filly or mare and not running against your own gender.” Sheppard opted for the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley Stakes, just Sweet Shani’s third start with other females, and got rewarded as she powered through the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Sweet Shani (Danielle Hodsdon) watched as Jellyberry made the early running, let Diva Maria (Xavier Aizpuru) take a clear lead into the final turn and reeled in everyone late. She jumped the second-last on even terms with Diva Maria, but drew off while covering the 2 1/4 miles in 4:16.40. Confined, the 2009 filly/mare champion, finished third. Bred in New Zealand and raced in Australia, Sweet Shani came to the United States as a top prospect based largely on a win in the rich L .V. Lachal Hurdle in June 2006. Purchased by Houghland’s late husband Calvin, Sweet Shani missed nearly a year with an injury and didn’t make her American debut until

Saturday, May 8 May 2007. She closed that season with a second to McDynamo in the Grand National and placed in her only two starts in 2008, missing by a neck to Sovereign Duty in the Royal Chase and taking third behind Good Night Shirt in the Iroquois. She missed the next 15 months and returned last fall to finish a distant seventh in the Grand National, getting nosed out by Confined in the Crown Royal and fading to 10th in the Colonial Cup. “I think we used her a little bit too hard,” Sheppard said. “She was the last horse caught too many times, but she ran some very good races. We threw it at her a bit quick last fall: a training flat race at Middleburg, Far Hills in a bog, then Callaway – I don’t quite know how Confined beat her – and then the Colonial Cup two weeks after that.” The difficult schedule never dissuaded Sweet Shani, now 10. “She’s so genuine, you know?,” Sheppard said. “I don’t think it ever crossed her mind not to keep trying. She had some hard races, she deserves a good run, a win like this. Dani decided to ride her, she hasn’t ridden her very much, and gave her a great ride.” • Next assignment. When Bubble Economy won the 4-mile Virginia Gold Cup May 1, trainer Jack Fisher joked that he would run the timber veteran at Nashville. The Mason Houghland Memorial carries the same $75,000 purse, but comes a week after the Gold Cup and at 3 miles can develop into a something of a sprint. Bubble Economy won anyway – pocketing a cool $90,000 in a week and adding to a thick resume of timber accomplishments. This time, he did it with a corner move. Hugging the final turn like a Su-

Sweet Shani (left) collars Diva Maria at the last fence in the Margaret Henley.

zuki at Daytona, Bubble Economy (Paddy Young) zipped over the last fence to pass runaway early leader Radio Flyer (Darren Nagle) and win by 5 3/4 lengths in 6:24.40. Incomplete (Charlie Fenwick III) stayed for third. “He was so good, again” said Young. “I just wanted to track Radio Flyer down the back and when I asked him, Bubbles just took off going to the last.”

Iroquois Steeplechase

Nashville, Tenn. Saturday, May 8. Turf: Firm. 1st. $10,000. Open flat. 1 1/2 miles. 1. Classic Bridges L 150 Petty 2. Duck Hunt L 145 Dalton 3. Sermon Of Love L 150 Hodsdon 4. Monarch Lane 155 Fenwick 5. White Holiday L 150 McVicar 6. Hue Of Crimson L 145 Murphy 7. Unbeliever L 155 Nagle 8. Beech Ridge 135 Helders 9. Matty’s Moneymaker 145 Quinn Margin: 1. Time: 2:38 4/5. O: Frances Hill Myers. T: Hill Parker. B. g. 4, Sky Classic-Two Bridges, Major Impact. Bred by Frances Hill Myers (Ky). 2nd. $35,000. Highweight hurdle. 3 miles. Amateur jockeys. 1. Dalucci (Ire) 161 Beecher 2. Swagger Stick L 166 Nagle 3. Lead Us Not L 162 Fenwick 4. Zozimus L 162 Potts LR. Cuse L 152 Garner Margin: 2 1/4. Time: 5:47 2/5. O: Cherry Knoll Farm. T: Janet Elliot. Gr./Ro. g. 7, Daylami (Ire)-Coigach (GB), Niniski. Bred by Michael Pitt (Ire). 3rd. $50,000. Open hurdle stakes. 2 miles. The Marcellus Frost (Gr. III). 1. Dynantonia L 142 Rafter 2. Dictina’s Boy 154 Aizpuru 3. Divine Fortune L 150 Hodsdon 4. Planets Aligned L 154 Geraghty 5. Sunshine Numbers L 146 Dalton 6. Terpsichorean L 154 Dowling PU. Birthday Beau L 146 Nagle Margin: 2 3/4. Time: 3:53. O: Gregg Ryan. T: Julie Gomena. B. g. 8, Dynaformer-Saragossa Strait, Bertrando. Bred by Woodside Farm & Liberty Road Stable (Ky).

Bubble Economy (right) fires over the last to pass Radio Flyer in the Mason Houghland.

18 •

Steeplechase Times

Tod Marks

4th. $50,000. F&M hurdle stakes. 2 1/4 miles. The Margaret Currey Henley. 1. Sweet Shani (NZ) L 147 Hodsdon 2. Diva Maria L 143 Aizpuru 3. Confined L 155 Rafter 4. Dynaskill L 143 Petty 5. Jellyberry L 143 Young

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Tod Marks

The 11-year-old took a stranglehold on the 2010 timber championship (which would be his third) and held second behind Tax Ruling on the overall earnings leaderboard. A head loss to South Monarch in the My Lady’s Manor to start the year prevents a perfect record. See iroquois page 19 6. Make Believe L 143 Nagle PU. Ptarmigan L 143 Murphy PU. Siren’s Echo L 139 Dalton PU. Moon Dolly (GB) L 143 Geraghty Margin: 3 1/4. Time: 4:16 2/5. O: Mary Ann Houghland. T: Jonathan Sheppard. Gr./Ro. m. 10, Kashani-Sterling Princess (NZ), One Pound Sterling (GB). Bred by M J Armstrong (NZ). 5th. $25,000. SOK mdn. hurdle 2 1/4 miles. 1. Call You In Ten L 142 Murphy 2. Parker’s Project L 142 Hodsdon 3. Wantan (Arg) L 154 Dalton 4. Lonesome Nun L 146 Petty 5. Vine Hill L 154 Aizpuru 6. All Together L 154 Dowling LR. Mask And Wig L 149 McVicar PU. Baylor Dude L 142 Young Margin: 3. Time: 4:27. O: James Piper. T: Doug Fout. B. g. 4, Ten Most Wanted-Georgiana Lake, Regal Classic. Bred by Franklin Kling Jr. & Taylor Asbury (Ky). 6th. $75,000. Timber stakes. 3 miles. The Mason Houghland Memorial. 1. Bubble Economy L 165 Young 2. Radio Flyer (Ire) L 165 Nagle 3. Incomplete L 165 Fenwick 4. Woodmont L 165 Murphy 5. Gorgeous Charger L 155 Dalton PU. Private Attack L 165 Beecher Margin: 5 3/4. Time: 6:24 2/5. O: Arcadia Stable. T: Jack Fisher. B. g. 11, Rakeen-Buffels, Vaal Reef. Bred by Gardner and Abbott (Pa). 7th. $150,000. Hurdle stakes. 3 miles. The Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. I). 1. Tax Ruling L 158 Nagle 2. Slip Away L 158 Young 3. Arcadius L 158 Dowling 4. Chess Board (GB) L 158 Dalton 5. Mixed Up 158 Hodsdon 6. Chivite (Ire) L 158 Petty PU. Your Sum Man (Ire) L 158 Geraghty PU. Triple Dip L 158 McVicar Margin: 4 3/4. Time: 5:37 1/5. O: Irv Naylor. T: Desmond Fogarty. Dk. B. or Br. g. 7, Dynaformer-Fantastic Find, Mr. Prospector. Bred by Phipps Stable (Ky).

Friday, May 28, 2010


Iroquois –

Continued from page 18

• When Carl Rafter schooled Dynantonia a few days before the Temple Gwathmey at Middleburg April 17, there was a problem. “He was turning his head and grabbing the bit going to his fences, so we decided to change equipment (to a D snaffle and a figure-eight noseband) and obviously it didn’t work,” Rafter said of a rank, pace-pressing third in the stakes. For the $50,000 Marcellus Frost, Rafter and trainer Julie Gomena went back to a Dutch Gag bit – the equipment used when owner Gregg Ryan rode the horse – with the reins attached to the lower ring for, as Rafter put it, “proper leverage.” Dynantonia listened to Rafter while sitting behind Birthday Beau early, then took over on the final turn to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 3:53 for the 2 miles. The winner challenged Birthday Beau on the turn, idled just enough while getting a breather, and denied a challenge from Dictina’s Boy (Xavier Aizpuru) with Divine Fortune (Hodsdon) third. “He showed he could run and jump at speed at Middleburg and that helped us,” said Rafter. “The plan was to sit in the first three because we know the farther he goes the better he is. I got a beautiful breather after the fourth-last and that helped.”

Tod Marks

Call You In Ten touches down over the last.

Rafter made like Ryan, an amateur jockey who rode races for 30 years, in the stretch. “I asked him at the second-last and he said ‘that’s not the way to do things’ and we didn’t jump it very well,” Rafter said. “Coming to the last, I thought ‘what would Gregg do?’ so I sat still, left him and he came up for me right where I wanted him to. I tried it at the secondlast and I was a little aggressive. The spot was there, he just didn’t take it. At the last, it wasn’t really there and he did it anyway. That’s a great feeling.” The victor raced on the flat with trainer George Weaver – winning four times and competing in several classy stakes. A part-time exercise rider for Weaver, Ryan purchased the $150,000 Keeneland sales yearling in 2008 and has been rewarded with three wins from just eight jump starts. • Janet Elliot rang visiting Irishman Mark Beecher about riding Dalucci in the Bright Hour amateur hurdle: Elliot: “I understand you’re from Waterford.” Beecher: “Yes, I’m from County Waterford. Do you know it?” Elliot: “Kind of . . . a little bit. I’m a Cork girl (the neighboring county to the Irish-challenged). I’m from near Mallow.” Beecher (who until this point wasn’t sure where Elliot was from): “I know where that is, I’m from Tallow.” Elliot: “And I know exactly where Tallow is.”

The towns are less than an hour’s drive apart – on the N72 – but Beecher (24) and Elliot (61) had to meet in the United States. The formalities out of the way, Beecher agreed to ride Dalucci in the 3-mile, $35,000 Bright Hour. The 2009 race winner obliged his new jockey, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Swagger Stick (Nagle) in 5:40.40. Lead Us Not (Fenwick) finished third. Cuse opened a long lead, but lost Ben Garner while tiring at the second-last. Owned by Cherry Knoll Farm, Dalucci picked up his third U.S. win since arriving from Ireland in 2008. Then owned by Justin Carthy and trained by Charlie Swan, the son of Daylami made three stakes starts off a lone chase win at Ballinrobe – finishing behind Good Night Shirt at Belmont Park and Far Hills before placing fourth in the Noel Laing. Sold to Elliot client Margaret Duprey (Cherry Knoll), Dalucci won twice last spring and finished third in the New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga.

Dalucci (3) edges away from Swagger Stick in the stretch of the Bright Hour.

“When he first came from Ireland, nobody thought he could go 3 miles,” said Elliot, whose horse is 2-for-2 at the distance. “Now look at him. He had a hard go after he got here, but he’s holding more weight than he was and is a happier horse.” • Last of eight early and fourth behind a wall of horses at the top of the stretch, first-time hurdle starter Call You In Ten navigated from also-ran to winner in a quarter-mile. The 4-year-old (Jeff Murphy) passed Lonesome Nun, Wantan and Parker’s Project late in the $25,000 maiden hurdle. Trained by Doug Fout for his chief assistant James Piper, the winner kicked away from Parker’s Project (Danielle Hodsdon) and Wantan (Bernie Dalton) to score by 3 lengths in 4:27 for the 2 1/4 miles.

Tod Marks

Call You In Ten joins the likes of Tricky Me, Planets Aligned and Good Night Shirt as recent winners of the Nashville maiden, delighting his owner. Piper bought the son of Ten Most Wanted two years ago at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic, put him on a longterm plan that included a point-to-point run on the flat and a sixth at Laurel last fall. This spring, the $25,000 purchase finished second on the flat at Stoneybrook and took second again in a hurdle start at Fairfax Point-to-Point. “Jeff wanted to run him once more in a point-to-point and Dougie just said ‘we’re going to Iroquois,’ ” said Piper. “He has never put me wrong with the horse. At the third-last on the turn, he had a lot of work to do. I was impressed with the way he ran that last part.”

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Dynantonia (left) strides away from the last fence in the Marcellus Frost.

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Times • 19


Hello Again

McCarron renews partnership with Junood, who wins 3rd of 2010 by brian nadeau

tanglewood cup races

Matt McCarron was more than two years removed from his first spin aboard Dave Washer’s Junood when he got a leg up for the $15,000 claimer at the Tanglewood Races in Clemmons, N.C. May 8. Little changed in the interim. McCarron and Junood ran their record to a perfect 3-for-3 with a last-tofirst win as the NSA returned to Tanglewood for the first time since October 2002. Junood settled well off the pace as Pals Pride and Most Bossest set an honest clip through the early stages of the 2 1/8-mile claimer. Most Bossest (Roddy Mackenzie) continued on after Pals Pride lost Tom Foley at the seventh but began to tire nearing the second-last. The only other starter in the compact field of four, Fogcutter (Jacob Roberts) made first run but was soon joined by Junood as they took the second-last. They dueled briefly until Junood asserted himself late to score by 1 3/4 lengths, with Most Bossest back in third. “I didn’t have a plan but they went a decent gallop so I found myself trailing. I got an inside trip, pinged both the

Saturday, May 8 second-last and last and we were off,” McCarron said. “He was flawless out there; jumped great and settled very nicely for me. Dave’s done a great job spotting the horse and he’s obviously in great form this year.” The win gave Junood his third score of the spring, to go with a conditioned claimer at Aiken and an open claimer at Tryon (via disqualification). The Rodney Dangerfield of the sport now has a salty 5-for-11 career record over hurdles, with two seconds and a third. McCarron first got aboard at Aiken in March 2008, and steered Junood to a 10 1/4-length win in his hurdle debut. They partnered again at Stoneybrook the next month and took a $10,000 conditioned claimer. After reuniting at Tanglewood, McCarron recalled the Junood of old and was impressed with the present-day version. “It’s been two years since I rode him and I remember him as a decent jumper but a bit suspect,” said McCarron, who improved to 4-for-4 on Washer’s horses. “He was a different horse and did ev-

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Riders pass on unique opportunity Controversy continues to reign over our “Sport of Kings” during a time when unity should be uppermost in our minds if we want our sport to survive. This was evidenced at the May 1 Virginia Gold Cup when riders and trainers threatened to boycott a fence that has been used in all hurdle races over the last 52 race meets at Great Meadow. The brouhaha centered on the featured water jump – beautiful to watch and thrilling to jump. At precisely 12:15 p.m. as the Color Guard and the soprano performed the traditional Star Spangled Banner, a crew was busily chain sawing the fence apart for several disgruntled riders. Making a concession of this nature an hour before the first race will not happen again. In early February 2010, the veterinary safety committee met at Fair Hill with directors and two riders to discuss their findings over the last several years of detailed data on falls, pull-ups and horse injuries in steeplechasing. Following that meeting, it was determined that I would head up a critique committee acting as liaison between jockeys and race meets. I sent a letter to 50 current and active riders asking for opinions, reactions and suggestions for improvement of all the racecourses. Three months later, only one response appeared – from the conscientious Jeff Murphy. His response was precise, specific and well written and already a number of his suggestions have been put into effect. This golden opportunity was wide open for riders to respond and they did not take advantage of it. So what are race meets to do? Well certainly not make changes on raceway as was done at Gold Cup. The aggravation comes from riders being given the chance to have their say and not, and then “whining” on race day as they walked the course. If we are to try to promote our sport we cannot continue to have this division between owners, riders, trainers and race meets. It will only cause our sport to die on the vine as sponsors are not interested in forming relationships with an organization so torn apart. We are hanging on by a thread as it is. Let us address the issues as gentlemen. Do your part and we can continue to grow. Shirk your responsibilities and your riding opportunities will wither along with the game.

Junood, with Mary Louise Leveen at Aiken, picked up his fifth career win.

erything right for me. He was perfect; he was long, short, you name it, he did it. There’s a lot of confidence to him.” • Richard Boucher continued to pick up spares for Jonathan Sheppard, riding a pair of winners for the Hall of Fame trainer. Boucher won three for Sheppard during the busy weekends of April 17 and April 24 and was at it again in the opener, a $15,000 maiden hurdle, with Maggie Bryant’s Air Maggy. The 4-year-old son of Sky Mesa stalked in third as Straightredcard (Roberts) led a tight group for the first 2 miles. Air Maggy and Old Timer (McCarron) moved as a team after the leader and collared him with two fences remaining. The leaders took the final two fences together, but Air Maggy proved best by three-quarters of a length, with Straightredcard holding for third. Final time for the 2 1/8 miles was 4:28.80. Air Maggy won his career debut as a 3-year-old last August sprinting at Delaware Park and then ran fifth in a Philadelphia Park allowance in December. Sheppard aimed for hurdles and tuned up with a training flat win at Aiken March 20. Boucher climbed aboard during a schooling session at Camden and knew what to expect at Tanglewood. “I knew he was a talented horse who had a nice turn of foot when needed,”

Don Yovanovich, Virginia Gold Cup racing coordinator

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Tod Marks

Happy Seamus, at Camden, scored in the maiden claimer for Janet Elliot.

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Tod Marks

Boucher said. “He had shown to be a little unsure of his jumping so Mr. Sheppard added blinkers to try and reassure him. We were just hoping for a nice experience for the horse and that’s what he was able to have. He’s a very handy horse and got more confident with each jump.” • Boucher and Sheppard teamed again in the third when Bryant’s Triplekin took the featured $25,000 allowance by 5 lengths over Easy Red (McCarron) and Farah T Salute (Roberts). The flag-to-wire win was a carbon-copy of Triplekin’s maiden tally under Boucher at Tryon April 17, when he made all the running and won comfortably. The 5-year-old son of the Danzig sire Makin won two of 13 on the flat but pulled up in his hurdle debut at Stoneybrook April 3. Boucher climbed aboard for the Tryon win two weeks later. Though Triplekin used the same speedy tactics at Tanglewood, Boucher noticed a more polished version. “He definitely improved off the Tryon run. This time he was looking for his fences and judging the distance very well,” Boucher said. “We led all the way again, which I don’t want to be his forte, but no one was in a hurry so we went out there and got it done. He jumped impeccably. He’s a very honest horse who enjoys what he’s doing and this was a nice step for him with no pressure at all.” • Happy Seamus (Mackenzie) broke through in the second for owner/trainer Janet Elliot, taking the $10,000 maiden claimer over Sky Count (McCarron) and Twinbucktu (Boucher). The 7-yearold entered winless in 16 career starts but closed with a rush to draw off by 5 lengths after lagging behind early. Happy Seamus covered the 2 1/8 miles in 4:16.00 “Janet said he had been a little keen in his recent starts so she wanted me to kind of miss the break and try to get him to come from off the pace,” Mackenzie said. “We really did miss it, got away last, and that allowed me to creep away from there and find some rhythm and in turn he jumped brilliantly. I knew about three fences out that I was going to win and that’s always a great feeling.”

Friday, May 28, 2010


Tanglewood Cup Steeplechase Clemmons, N.C. Saturday, May 8. Turf: Firm.

1st. $15,000. Maiden hurdle. 2 1/8 miles. 1. Air Maggy L 144 Boucher 2. Old Timer L 144 McCarron 3. Straightredcard 150 Roberts 4. Rockon Rockoff L 149 Mackenzie 5. Allail 154 Watts 6. Dancing Sky (Ire) L 146 Foley Mgn: 3/4. Time: 4:28:2/5. O: Maggie Bryant. T: Jonathan Sheppard. Gr. g. 4, Sky Mesa-Mighty Mags, Wild Again. Bred by John Oxley (Ky). 2nd. $10,000. Mdn. clm. hurdle. 2 1/8 miles. $15,000-$10,000 clm. price 1. Happy Seamus L 143 Mackenzie 2. Sky Count L 146 McCarron 3. Twinbucktu L 148 Boucher 4. Eye Said Scat Cat L 150 Roberts Mgn: 5. Time: 4:16. O/T: Janet Elliot. Ch. g. 7, Middlesex Drive-Warning Belle, Caveat. Bred by James Urell (Fla). 3rd. $25,000. Allow. hurdle 2 1/8 miles. NW1X. 1. Triplekin L 156 Boucher 2. Easy Red L 152 McCarron 3. Farah T Salute L 150 Roberts 4. Indy Run L 143 Mackenzie 5. Johann Star L 144 Watts Mgn: 5. Time: 4:21. O: Maggie Bryant. T: Jonathan Sheppard. Dk. B. or Br. g. 5, Makin-Triple Kiss (GB), Shareef Dancer. Bred by Carlos Moore & Gillian Gordon-Moore (Va). 4th. $15,000. Open clm. hurdle. 2 1/8 miles. $20,000-$15,000 clm. price 1. Junood 152 McCarron 2. Fogcutter L 150 Roberts 3. Most Bossest L 135 Mackenzie LR. Pals Pride L 148 Foley Mgn: 1 3/4. Time: 4:20. Gr. g. 7, Cozzene-Melody Queen (GB), Merdon Melody (GB). Bred by Nellie Cox (Ky). 5th. Training flat. 1 1/4 miles. 1. Left Unsaid L 150 McCarron 2. Port Morsbey L 150 Torres 3. Ottasea L 150 Mackenzie 4. Truffle Hunter L 150 Roberts 5. Complete Sport 140 Boucher Mgn: 3/4. Time: 2:30:4/5. O: The Fields Stable. T: Tom Voss. B. g. 5, Dynaformer-Hello Soso (Ire), Alzao. Bred by Jerome Amerman & Bobby Frankel (Ky).

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• 21


WILLOWDALE STEEPLECHASE Sunday, May 9

Aqua Man

Beecher communicates with ‘Steve’ in feature by joe clancy KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. – Mark Beecher accepted the mount on Scuba Steve for Willowdale’s $15,000 open timber May 9, and braced for the fallout. “Everyone was saying to me, ‘best of luck’ and ‘good luck riding him,’ so I wondered if I had signed on for something I didn’t want,” said Beecher, whose mount’s pendulum of a timber career included four wins, a fall at Willowdale in 2009 and an early pull-up at Middleburg this year. After winning the amateur race by a hard-to-fathom 52 lengths, Perry Bolton’s veteran made Beecher think differently. “He’s the kind of horse where you make him feel in charge, like he’s half running away with you and then you can codge him into running a good race,” said the jockey. “He was a lot of fun.” Scuba Steve jumped to the front early and was joined on the uphill run to the backside by The Other

Jim Graham

Scuba Steve (left) shows the way over a fence early in his open timber win at Willowdale.

Me. That one fell shortly thereafter, leaving Scuba Steve and Prospectors Strike to battle over the final half-mile. They sped down the hill, turned right into the stretch and drifted wide toward a hurdle. Scuba Steve stayed inside, barely, but Prospectors Strike collided with the wing and lost Justin Batoff – providing the long margin of victory. Delta Park (Fritz Boniface) wound up second with Vinnie Boy (Patrick Worrall) an even more distant third. “When (The Other Me) came up beside me, I thought it was far too soon but he fell at the next fence,” said Beecher. “Then it was Justin and myself. When you come down that hill, you spin out of the turn toward the hurdle. Scuba doesn’t really have power steering, so I just got there in time and Justin went through the wing. It was fairly eventful.”

Scuba Steve won two hurdle races for Mike Berryman back in 2006 and was purchased for Bolton by trainer Kathy McKenna. The son of Distorted Humor missed nearly two years before returning over timber in 2008. He’s won twice over Great Meadow’s steeplethon course and once over Middleburg’s Alfred Hunt Course. • One race earlier, Fieldview kicked off a double for McKenna in a $10,000 maiden timber. Second in the amateur highweight at Winterthur a week earlier, the winner enjoyed the slower tempo and bigger fences at Willowdale. The Pennsylvania-bred let East Coker set the pace while rating as far back as fourth, waited again as See willowdale page 23

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Willowdale –

Continued from page 22

Little Dewey Know emerged with a lead at the last fence (where Mr. Pike fell) and arrived five strides before the finish. Fieldview (Carl Rafter) scored by 1 1/4 lengths in 6:12.66 for the 3 miles over Little Dewey Know (James Stierhoff) with East Coker (Jake Chalfin) third. “I saw the horse run last weekend and knew he would be better suited to today,” said Rafter. “That’s a real sharp track and that’s not his game. He jumped well and I just tried to stay one-paced. They made a move up the hill and I’d rather make a move on flat ground than going up a hill. I kind of ran into the back of horses coming to the last – they kind of slid across the fence, one fell, I got a nice run. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen.” Owned by Irv Naylor, Fieldview won over hurdles for breeder Gene Weymouth at Willowdale in 2008 and picked up his first timber score in eight tries. • Trainer Todd Wyatt won two at Willowdale, former stomping grounds for the former Jonathan Sheppard assistant and now Marylander, but he couldn’t help thinking about one that got away. “I’m going to be thinking about that gray horse for a while,” Wyatt said of Mr. Pike who fell at the last fence while looking like a winner in a maiden timber. “I know, I know, I’m lucky, I won two. I need to get better about turning the page.” Wyatt’s day started with a maiden timber win by Comanche Station. The 9-year-old son of Yarrow Brae (of Twill Do fame) led much of the way and seized control by rolling down the hill to the stretch. Owned by former amateur rider Kingdon Gould, Comanche Station (Jody Petty) scored by 3 lengths over He’s Got Mojo (Beecher) with Hey Doctor (Jacob Roberts) third. The winner covered the 3 miles in 6:28.07, while scoring for the first time since a hurdle win as a 3-year-old back in 2004. Gould’s tartan silks were well known in the 1960s (he won the 1962 My Lady’s Manor aboard Hurdy Gurdy), but hadn’t seen a winner’s circle in awhile. “My daughter thought this horse would be a good buy,” Gould said. “She did the preliminary training and thought he had a lot of ability so we’re going to campaign him and hopefully have some fun.”

• Wyatt closed his day with a hurdle victory by Closertoyourheart in the $10,000 conditioned claiming hurdle. The 7-year-old (Roddy Mackenzie) split Determind Stand (Petty) and With Bells On (Matt McCarron) at the last fence and won by a length in 5:05.19 for the 2 1/2 miles. A son of Awad, the winner joined Wyatt’s stable in 2007 (winning an amateur flat race with the trainer’s wife, Blair, aboard) and broke his hurdle maiden at Radnor in 2008. he fell in his 2010 debut at Stoneybrook, but had no such trouble at Willowdale. “I love that horse, he’s special to me and digs me out of a hole when I need it,” said Wyatt. “I knew he would love this trip. He’s all right.” • Trainer Tom Voss won the maiden claimer with Fox Ridge Farm’s Canardly, who rebounded from a dismal effort at the Virginia Gold Cup thanks to an equipment change. “He swallowed his tongue at Great Meadow and just stopped,” said Voss. “I put a tongue tie on him – much better.” Canardly (Ross Geraghty) shadowed the early lead, let Meshwaar (Jeff Murphy) make the first move on the backside, then rallied in the stretch to score by 2 lengths over hard-luck Meshwaar (second for the eighth time over jumps) with Lenape Jim (Xavier Aizpuru) third. The winner got the 2 1/2 miles in 5:16.58 to improve his career mark to 1-for-13. • Cheshire Foxhounds huntsman Ivan Dowling won his second race of the spring by guiding Thermostat to an odd victory in the $5,000 amateur highweight timber. Three horses went to the start, but Kilbreena refused. The match race between Thermostat and Music To My Ears lasted until the sixth fence when the latter lost George Hundt with a mistake. From there it was a procession as Dowling used his hunting skills to keep his horse interested and pick up the $3,000 first-place check for owner/ trainer Sanna Hendriks. A runaway winner at Winterthur a week earlier, Thermostat stayed far more relaxed this time. “My mentors, Chip Miller and Jody Petty, kept telling me to drop my hands and it didn’t make sense for a while,” said Dowling of his difficulties holding the 9-year-old former flat stakes horse. “Today, once I got them down there it worked. Maybe I’m learning something. Being alone didn’t bother me – it’s like hunting, get him home.”

Jim Graham

Closertoyourheart (center) splits With Bells On (left) and Determind Stand in the finale.

Willowdale Steeplechase

Kennett Square, Pa. Sunday, May 9. Turf: Firm. 1st. Amateur training flat. 2 miles. 1. Meet At Eleven (Ire) L 160 McKenna 2. Foyle 160 Boniface Mgn: Head. Time: 4:32. O/T: Todd McKenna. B. g. 11, Oscra (Ire)-Everdancing (GB), Dance In Time. Bred by David Magnier (Ire). 2nd. $10,000. Maiden timber. 3 miles. 1. Comanche Station L 165 Petty 2. He’s Got Mojo L 160 Beecher 3. Hey Doctor L 160 Roberts 4. Artist’s Stroke 160 Gillam 5. Justpourit (Ire) L 165 McCarron 6. Bug Eyed Willy L 160 Stierhoff LR. Algezir 165 Murphy Mgn: 3. Time: 6:28. O: Kingdon Gould Jr. T: Todd Wyatt. Ch. g. 9, Yarrow Brae-Apalachee Breeze, Apalachee. Bred by Elizabeth Houghton (Pa). 3rd. $10,000. Maiden timber. 3 miles. 1. Fieldview L 165 Rafter 2. Little Dewey Know L 160 Stierhoff 3. East Coker 160 Chalfin 4. Pleasant Top L 156 Boniface 5. Won Wild Bird 157 Nagle 6. And The Eagle Flys L 160 Gillam 7. Any Key L 165 Slater F. Mr. Pike L 165 Petty PU. Inca Magic 165 Young PU. Sand Box Rules L 165 Read Mgn: Nose. Time: 6:12:3/5. O: Irv Naylor. T: Kathy McKenna. B. g. 7, Charismatic-Good Opportunity, Cox’s Ridge. Bred by Gene Weymouth (Pa). 4th. $15,000. Open timber 3 1/2 miles. Amateur jockeys. 1. Scuba Steve L 167 Beecher 2. Delta Park L 167 Boniface

3. Vinnie Boy (Ire) L 172 Worrall F. The Other Me L 167 Chalfin LR. Prospectors Strike L 167 Batoff PU. Western Fling L 172 Nagle Mgn: 52. Time: 7:57 3/5. O: Perry Bolton. T: Kathy McKenna. B. g. 10, Distorted Humor-Frigid Zone, Procida. Bred by Charles Nuckols Jr. & Sons (Ky). 5th. $5,000. Hwt. allow. timber. 3 miles. NW $9,000 in 2009-10. Amateur jockeys. 1. Thermostat L 175 Dowling LR. Music To My Ears (Ire) L 175 Hundt R. Kilbreena (Ire) L 180 Nagle Mgn: NA. Time: 7:48 1/5. O/T: Sanna Hendriks. B. g. 9, Summer Squall-Comfort Zone, Rubiano. Bred by WS Farish & Kilroy Thoroughbreds (Ky). 6th. $10,000. Mdn. clm. hurdle. 2 1/2 miles. $15,000-$10,000 clm. price 1. Canardly L 142 Geraghty 2. Meshwaar L 156 Murphy 3. Lenape Jim L 148 Aizpuru 4. Rosemont Runner L 146 Roberts 5. Sir Dynamite L 156 Young 6. Sir Ivor’s Sword L 151 Mackenzie 7. Music Tune L 142 Rafter Mgn: 2. Time: 5:16 2/5. O: Fox Ridge Farm. T: Tom Voss. B. g. 4, Dynaformer-Coronation Cup, Chief’s Crown. Bred by BP Walden & L Taylor (Ky). 7th. $10,000. Cond. clm. hurdle 2-1/2 miles. NW2 for $15,000-$10,000 clm. price. 1. Closertoyourheart L 135 Mackenzie 2. Determind Stand L 152 Petty 3. With Bells On L 130 McCarron 4. Blue Rider L 150 Nagle 5. The Editor L 151 Murphy Mgn: 1. Time: 5:05. O/T: Todd Wyatt. Ch. g. 7, Awad-Lotsbrass, Dixieland Brass. Bred by Wayne Rhodes (Md).

Congratulations Ivan Dowling and Thermostat Four wins in four starts over timber in 2010 See you when the cubbing begins ~ Your friends at Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds ~ Tod Marks photo

Friday, May 28, 2010

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Steeplechase Times

• 23


6

Steeplechase

‘Pick Six’

FA N TA S Y S TA BL E G A M E Presented by The Whip Tavern

And still in front...

Hold on a second. The Iroquois results were supposed to usher in a new leader, but Jim McVey hangs on to his top spot once again thanks to the recent success of timber horse Bubble Economy and Strawberry Hill winner Virginia Minstrel. Bob Lunny and Douglas Lees used Tax Ruling’s $100,000 payday to complete the top three while Richard Hutchinson’s Cheltenham Invasion reaches No. 4 on the list and is the only other stable showing more than $200,000. Oddly, no players have the season’s top two earners, Tax Ruling and Bubble Economy, in the same stable. Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial for fillies/mares could shake out the May results so check back in June. The top 12 are listed here. Check www.st-publishing.com for complete standings. Try Again Stable...................... Jim McVey Bubble Economy................................... $95,400 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Torlundy................................................ $27,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Make Believe......................................... $13,500 ............................................ $234,400 Rolling Thunder Stable...............Bob Lunny Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Patriot’s Path......................................... $10,500 Confined.................................................. $5,000 ............................................ $216,250 Browntrout Stable.................. Douglas Lees Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Incomplete.............................................. $7,500 Confined.................................................. $5,000 ............................................ $213,250

Cheltenham Invasion.......Richard Hutchinson Bubble Economy................................... $95,400 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Prince Rahy........................................... $17,500 Diva Maria............................................. $10,000 Left Unsaid.............................................. $9,000 ............................................ $200,400 Here’s The Plan Stable........... Serelee Hefler Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Swagger Stick....................................... $15,900 Fleeting Thunder..................................... $6,000 Confined.................................................. $5,000 ............................................ $197,650 Prestbury Dreams Stables.......Pete Fornatale Bubble Economy................................... $95,400 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Dictina’s Boy......................................... $14,400 Make Believe......................................... $13,500 Steppenwolfer................................................ $0 ............................................ $191,800

Radnor maiden winner Quiet Approval looks like a good Pick Six pick. Kim’s Kutie Kolts.......................Kim Koran Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 South Monarch..................................... $30,500 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Confined.................................................. $5,000 Best Alibi........................................................ $0 ............................................ $188,750 Pink Moon.......................Susan Haldeman Bubble Economy................................... $95,400 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Make Believe......................................... $13,500 Mixed Up................................................. $8,000 All Together................................................ $750 ............................................ $186,150 Pony Girl.......................Elizabeth Watrous Bubble Economy................................... $95,400 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Left Unsaid.............................................. $9,000 Back To Mandalay................................... $8,100 Jellyberry................................................ $4,500 ............................................ $185,500

Tod Marks

It’s Hard Being A Mets Fan...... Brian Nadeau Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Erin Go Bragh.......................................... $5,750 Confined.................................................. $5,000 Best Name...................................................... $0 ............................................ $181,500 Genesee Valley Racers........... Gail McGuire Spy In The Sky...................................... $47,500 Meet At Eleven...................................... $36,000 Arcadius................................................ $33,000 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Make Believe......................................... $13,500 ............................................ $181,000 Mitch’s Mule Ranch............. Edwin Mitchell Tax Ruling........................................... $102,250 Virginia Minstrel.................................... $30,000 Italian Wedding..................................... $21,000 Mixed Up................................................. $8,000 Incomplete.............................................. $7,500 Confined.................................................. $5,000 ............................................ $173,750

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Steeplechase Times

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Friday, May 28, 2010


A Tough Call

STAFF COLUMN

BY BRIAN NADEAU “Just call him up and act like you know what you’re talking about. You’ll do fine." Like a trainer giving paddock instructions to deerin-the-headlights apprentice, Sean Clancy gave me a leg up and sent me on my first Steeplechase Times writing assignment back in 2006. I called, he answered and it’s been that way ever since. Every time I called, steeplechase racing answered. Last Thursday I made my last call for ST Publishing, trading in my pencil and notepad for a job a bit closer to home in Dover, Del. Sometimes that thing called life shouts at you a little louder and makes you jerk the wheel, but I wouldn’t trade my time in the sport for anything. Four years ago I signed on knowing I could chat with the likes of Todd Pletcher and Steve Asmussen and depict the exploits of stars such as Invasor and

ST

Street Sense. Now I leave privileged to call Jonathan Sheppard and Doug Fout friends and lucky to have watched horses such as Salmo and Mixed Up defy time and logic. Four years ago steeplechase racing was nothing more than an unavoidable 30 minutes every Thursday at Saratoga that only made a person wait that much longer for the real early double. But over the past four years steeplechase racing bullied to the fore and as I told Joe the other day, I leave not really giving much thought to missing six weeks (well, seven) of Saratoga or a month in Lexington. Instead, it’s the cheap maiden claimer at Foxfield and the open timber at Winterthur I’ll miss most. I realized pretty quickly it was more fun rooting for a hard-knocker like Meshwaar to finally get there than watching a Juddmonte blueblood break his maiden after seven tries. It was one hell of a ride working for Sean and Joe Clancy. Friends more than bosses, their talents are surpassed only by the passion for the sport they love. They welcomed me into their world, made me a better

writer than I could have imagined and introduced me to a lifetime friend in steeplechase racing. For all of that, I can’t say thank you enough. This is the time during the speech when a person mentions that there are too many people to thank and because they might leave someone out they won’t mention any names. Watching at home, you always chuckle and think ‘what a line of bull.’ Well, there’s no bull here, that’s the truth. Thanks to everyone for answering that phone when I called and for calling back when you weren’t there. Spend a week trying to preview the daily feature on the flat at Saratoga and you’ll know I deliver that thank you with conviction. But don’t think I’m straying too far off course. However futile it may be, I’m still going to try and out-pick Sean and Joe in the staff picks, maybe handicap a few races and hopefully you’ll still see my name pop up next to an article or two. I’m still going to give you a call every now and just to check in, see how things are and see if you’ve got a live runner in that maiden claimer at Foxfield or the open timber at Winterthur. The best part? I know you’ll answer when I do. Thanks, see you at the races.

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Times • 25


The

ast Fence Editorial • Opinion • Comments • Columns

Times Editorial

Blessings rain on Iroquois, beyond Steeplechasing is an outdoor sport. Rain or shine, hell or high water, the show is meant to go on. The Iroquois in Nashville, Tenn, went on despite rain, hell and high water. The sun even shined a little on raceday. The May 8 race meet carded a star-studded roster like always. Tax Ruling took home a check for $100,000. Bubble Economy earned his second $45,000 check in seven days. Fans dressed up, toasted the horses, partied. All under a pall. Massive flooding rocked Nashville a week earlier, the destruction and damage will be felt for years. Tennesseans struggle to salvage their lives from floods that decimated the city and surrounding areas. At the races, the dichotomy was palpable. High life at the races, high water around the state. Steeplechase race meets can serve as escapes, never more so than at Nashville this spring. Some Internet blogs and columns raised a good point – how could a steeplechase meet be held while the city still struggled? Iroquois president Albert Menefee III wrestled with that same question. “At Opryland, two of their venues were underwater and they went ahead and did their show. I said ‘They’re a tradition; we’re only a couple years younger. We need to keep traditions going.’ We employ almost a thousand people today,” Menefee said on raceday. “They’re all part-time workers and you need to keep those people working in times like this. If it was impacting things or stressing some kind of services or necessary parts of the community, then we wouldn’t have run.” City officials locked up Iroquois’ irrigation system and talked to Menefee about opening up Old Hickory Boulevard to traffic because so many other roads were out. That would have been fine. Menefee arranged for his suppliers to take leftovers to the Second Harvest Food Bank and the race meet made donations to flood-relief charities via program and souvenir sales. The race meet benefits the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Over the past 28 years, the Iroquois Steeplechase has donated more than $8 million to the hospital. That’s why the races are important. That’s why they were held during Nashville’s trying time. Steeplechasing can be difficult to market in today’s society. What really is the point of seeing whose horse is fastest running over fences? Iroquois can give 8 million reasons, just like all the other race meets around the country. From Far Hills to Iroquois, Aiken to Radnor, Montpelier to High Hope, Camden to Middleburg – money is raised for good causes. Come hell or high water. “People pulling together, that what’s this area’s about,” Menefee said. “That’s why we’re called the Volunteer State. I think it’s neat. Real. You don’t hear about it in other parts of the country.” It happens every weekend in steeplechasing. Volunteers raising money for charities. You don’t hear about it enough but you should.

26 •

Steeplechase Times

Tod Marks

A Perfect Ten. Owner James Piper gets set to plant a kiss on Call You In Ten after the 2008 purchase won the maiden hurdle at the Iroquois.

Sweet Rides

Effort, luck produce results for Wyatt, Piper Mrs. Gump said life was like a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get. The same could be said about buying horses. Todd Wyatt bought a horse, borrowed a truck and trailer to ship him, tried to return the horse, had to return the truck and trailer, kept the horse, sold him to an owner, got him back and now smiles about how it all came to be. James Piper stepped out of his comfort zone as an assistant to trainer Doug Fout and bought some 2-yearolds at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic in 2008. Suddenly an owner, he planned early educations, paid bills, made decisions, worried about everything. Now he’s smiling at his good fortune. Wyatt acquired Closertoyourheart through Wendy Kinnamon, but borrowed Jack Fisher’s pick-up truck and trailer to move the horse from Pennsylvania to Maryland. A day after arriving in Wyatt’s barn, Closertoyourheart’s leg swelled – not a good sign. “I still had Jack’s truck and trailer,” said Wyatt, “but the day I was going to take him back Sheila (Jack’s wife) called and said she needed to take a rug to the cleaners or something. So I kept him.” Closertoyourheart won Wyatt’s first race as an independent trainer, scoring on the flat (with Wyatt’s

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The Outside Rail By Joe Clancy

wife Blair aboard) at Pimlico in 2007. He won again on the flat that summer and made several jump starts for owner Richard Stokes – winning once and placing second twice. Stokes declined to campaign the horse in 2010 and Closertoyourheart returned to Wyatt’s purple and green silks this year. The 7-year-old fell at Stoneybrook, but won a $10,000 conditioned claimer at Willowdale. With $44,000 in career earnings, the Maryland-bred is not exactly a winning lottery ticket, but he does his part. “I love that horse, he’s special to me and digs me out of a hole when I need it,” Wyatt said. “I’m the third owner by default, he’s won four races (from 11 starts) for us. He tries.” Like Wyatt – who spent years with Jonathan Sheppard and Tom Voss – Piper is best known for his handson work with steeplechase horses. The Englishman led 2004 champion Hirapour to the post in most of his See outside page 27

Friday, May 28, 2010


Outside –

HRTW’s & Frank’s Kind of Town

CHICAGO

Continued from page 26

Grade I clashes with McDynamo and others at the top of the sport. Piper rises early, works late, travels the country with the horses, cares as if his name (rather than Fout’s) is in the program. He put his horsemanship to the test two years ago in Timonium’s sales pavilion. “Why buy? The answer is I don’t know,” he said. “I had a few horses in England that were never any good. I had the opportunity to do it and thought I’d try. I was very lucky at one stage in my life so I had some money to try to do it. I didn’t tell many people I was going to do it. I took a day off and went to Timonium.” He credited friends Sam Maloney, Randy Brandon and Kirsty May with helping make the choices but Piper found a few he liked, raised his hand, spent his money. He bought on looks, bought on pedigree (a little), but mostly he bought on feel. “If you sift through the horses the flat people don’t want, you can find some quality bargains,” he said. “The big buyers are looking at the ones who work fast, who will develop quickly. I was looking at the other ones, the ones that probably worked slow, the ones that would take awhile to mature.” Predictably, he put his horses on a longterm plan with six months of turnout, early lessons at Maloney’s Dogwood Farm in Virginia and then on to Fout’s training program (where Piper now occupies the dual role of employee and employer). Call You In Ten, the first NSA jump starter in Piper’s green and red silks, won the $25,000 maiden hurdle at the Iroquois. Like an owner, Piper accepted the trophy, shook hands with his trainer, smiled in the winner’s circle. Unlike an owner, Piper fretted over Ptarmigan’s performance a race earlier and rode home on the van at 3 the next morning. The victory, and some quality flat starts by Two Ticks, confirmed Piper’s opinions and he’s excited about the prospects of his prospects. “At the sale, I loved his bone, his bone below the knee – being English, we go on that big time,” Piper said of Call You In Ten. “I genuinely like this horse, I like this horse a lot. I don’t know how far he’ll go, but the way he did it (at Iroquois) makes you think he can be OK.” True to form, Piper isn’t about to quit his day job to pursue ownership glory. “Oh no, back to the grindstone,” he said. “Dougie has been very, very good to me over the years and I like my job. The horses haven’t been there for us as much as they were with Hirapour and some of the others a few years ago. Maybe this horse can help.”

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• •  • Real life struck a few days after Willowdale May 9 when local police issued a safety alert about an attempted child abduction. Police are searching for a man who grabbed a 7-year-old girl purchasing ice cream with her brother and a friend. The man apparently grabbed the girl by the wrist and started walking. He released her when the other children reacted. The suspect then ran from the area. He was described as a white male between 50 and 75, 160-180 pounds, 6 feet tall, white hair, no facial hair and wrinkly skin. He was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, yellow coat and boots. Anyone with information or photographs of the spectator area (and perhaps, inadvertently the suspect) is encouraged to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at (610) 268-2022. More importantly, the incident underscores the need to be mindful of your children (and others) at the races, inform them of the potential dangers. A steeplechase meet is essentially a public place. Remember that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

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Steeplechase Times

• 27


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May 28 Steeplechase Times  

The fifth edition of 2010 with coverage from Iroquois, Radnor, Strawberry Hill and more.

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