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October 9, 2009

Bon Caddo Heads Timber Thrills At Shawan Downs

When trainer Bruce Fenwick bought Bon Caddo two years ago, he saw a future show jumper, but the horse had other ideas. Now he’s settling nicely into a career of timber ‘chasing, with his latest victory in the $25,000 Ski Roundtop Timber Stakes at Shawan Downs.

In the process of winning in Hunt Valley, Md., Sept. 26, he bested two former horses of the year—Augustin Stable’s Irish Prince (2007) and Arcadia Stable’s Bubble Economy (2004, 2008).

Piloted by amateur rider Jacob Roberts, Bon Caddo jumped well behind Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do (James Slater) and J Alfred Prufrock (Conrad Somers) for most of the running. As the field of seven turned down the right-hand course for home, Irv Naylor’s gray Hot Springs (Mark Watts) hooked up with Bubble Economy (William Santoro) and Irish Prince (Paddy Young).

At the last, Bubble Economy chipped in, falling and sending his jockey flying. The riders scrambled to avoid the fallers, but Bon Caddo needled through and galloped on to win by more than 2 lengths over Irish Prince.

Bubble Economy was unhurt in the incident while his jockey sustained a few cuts to his face.

Bon Caddo, an 8-year-old grandson of Tactical Advantage, is a favorite in Fenwick’s barn.

“He’s just so keen,” Fenwick said. “That’s why he did not work out in the show ring. He loves this game. I told Jacob, ‘Don’t get this horse hurt; don’t kill him to be third.’ Everyone who has ever ridden him says when they reach for it there’s more horse. He can go all day. I want to try bigger fences either at [International Gold Cup] or [Pennsylvania Hunt Cup].”

Owner-rider-trainer Ben Swope ran off with the amateur highweight timber on Incaseyouraminer. Although he has been the front-runner before without such success, this time the rest of the field couldn’t catch him.

Swope, who works as a farrier, coasted into the stretch all smiles some 42 lengths ahead for his first sanctioned timber win.

“My horse was waiting for someone to come challenge him,” Swope said. “He wasn’t even pushing it. I kept looking back, and there was no one there. He did real well.”

This summer, officials at Shawan Downs found out they were up against a serious hurdle card the same day at Monmouth Park (N.J.). In order to save money, they decided to forego renting the national fences and stick to timber and flat racing.

Race director and brother of the feature winner, Charlie Fenwick Jr., was pleased with the outcome.

“The trainers found the jockeys, brought a lot of nice horses, and the weather held off for us,” he said. “I think it was a pretty good day.”

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