View Full Version : Steeplechasing 101?

Mar. 13, 2007, 09:50 AM
Calling Emily, Drvmb1ggl3, and all other 'chasing experts!

I am hopelessly addicted to steeplechasing on TVG (International Racing around 9am EST). I LOVE IT. But I am admittedly ignorant. Please educate me!

I know the basics (hurdles vs. fences), but what are the ins & outs of the sport? Strategies? Why would you run a horse in a hurdle vs. a steeplechase? What is considered a "short" distance, or a "long" distance? How do trainers condition and prepare their horses?

The footing also amazes me-- so soft and deep, especially after multiple races. Yet there aren't too many scratches; the horses run through anything. How do they stay sound?? Do they wear studs? I don't see many wearing boots/wraps either. What else is unique about the sport?

Please share your wisdom! I've learned a lot about flat racing (in KY, it's hard not to!), but I know little about jump racing. I've read Dick Francis novels, and I know it's really fun at a 3-day (long format!!). :winkgrin: But what's it like, for REAL?

Mar. 13, 2007, 10:26 AM
First off, there are differences between jump racing in Europe (which is what you're watching) and the US version.
I'll anwser from the European perspective, since that is what you are watching.

Hurdles: smaller fences, only 3'6" in height. They are propped at an angle and fall when hit hard enough. The races are generally shorter, from 2m to 3m. Classic distance (i.e like the Champion Hurdle, which is sbout to be off at Cheltenham in less than an hour) is 2m. Hurdling requires a speddy horse, who doesn't have to be a great jumper.

Chases: bigger fences, 4'3" to 4'6" in height. The fences are stiffer, wider made of tightly packed birch and can have open ditches in front of them or water on the backside. There are exceptions, like the Grand National fences which used to be big scary things, now they are slightly smaller scary things.
Chases can be anywhere from 2miles to 4½miles. The classic distance is around 3¼m. A chaser needs stamina and the ability to jump well.

National Hunt horses run well into the double digits, it's common to see 12 year old horses running, so yes they do stay sound. They generally start their careers later, often not broken until they are 4yo. Most of the horses are purpose bred for National Hunt racing, though you will see the some converted flat horses, esp over hurdles where speed is important (the fav in todays Champ Hurdle, Detroit City, is a Kingmambo).

Mar. 13, 2007, 10:46 AM
As regards conditioning, they do lots of slow work, miles of cantering up and down hills with occasional "pipe openers" blowouts. A new horse will often start out with roadwork, trotting and walking 4 or 5 miles, and will sometimes go hunting. Once a horse gets the hang of jumping they actually do very little jumping at home, unless they start to get sloppy in racing.
Strategy wise, it's no different that on the flat. Some horses will to run off the lead, others are great closers. One huge difference is the the going. Horses will be pulled, even well known horses in high profile races, if they going isn't to their liking. That's not considered wimping out like it is in flat racing.

Mar. 13, 2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks! I had no idea hurdles were actually 3'6"... the horses just skip over (or through) them, and they do seem tiny compared to the birch fences.

I have noticed that they seem to be fairly normal "horses." Not multi-million dollar business beasts. ;) Maybe just because most of them are older, but all the horses seem quiet, well-behaved (in the walking ring, at lineup) and just, well "normal." Not hyped-up, lip-chained, dancing prancing balls of fire. (NOT meant to be offensive! just an expression)

As for pulling up when they're having a bad day-- that just seems like good horsemanship. Too much risk for horse (or rider!) to be hurt if the horse isn't on his game... I certainly wouldn't want to gallop a horse down to a 4' hedge if he wasn't going 100%!

This may be a sensitive question, but in light of recent racing outrage... how often are horses fatally injured? (not looking for statistics, just general) There are a lot of falls, but most horses seem to bounce right back up. We hear so much about US racehorses breaking down, simply from running circles on flat ground; how much of an issue is this for horses galloping miles up/down hills over fences, with the acceptance that there will be falls and crashes almost on a regular basis?

Again, thanks drvmb1ggl3, I appreciate your help! I wish 'chasing would catch on more here in the US-- I think the public might like to follow a racehorse's career into his teens, instead of retiring at 4. (though we'd have the backlash of the "cruel" crashes and falls...as with any)

I wish TVG was showing Cheltenham. I guess I'll look for the races on YouTube later. :)

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 13, 2007, 11:12 AM
No, no studs. When you're ankle or hock deep in mud (though not the 'pulling' kind of mud we have here, jsut a soft peat type of mud over there) studs don't do jack. Horses are shod flat, or maybe with outer rims. Just plain light steel or some in aluminum, but not many as they do so much road 'work' getting to their public training grounds.
It is an amazing sport over there. Taking nothing away from US jump racing, of which I am a lifelong supporter, UK jump racing is in another league.
Boots and wraps are bound to fall off or slip down. Only if a horse really really really hits himself will you see them used. Very rare.
Conditioning over there is the same as here - long slow work, short fast work. Not much long fast work. You save that for the racecourse. (Marathon runners don't 'prepare' for their marathon by jogging 26 miles, as a comparison.) Many of the chase trainers over there live miles from the public training grounds, so therefore jog miles on the macadam lanes to get to their gallops so, by proxy, get lots of 'legging up' work. Plus, the training grounds tend to be hillsides so you do a good bit of by-proxy interval training (gallop up the 3/4ths mile hillside, pull up, jog down, walk a bit, turn and gallop back up. Rinse. Repeat. Jog home) as opposed to galloping round and round like you would here at a standard training track or 'normal' galloping field.

Mar. 13, 2007, 11:25 AM
Cheltenham live audio http://www.rte.ie/smiltest/radio1mw.smil (http://www.rte.ie/smiltest/radio1mw.smil)

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 13, 2007, 11:41 AM
Re: fatalities. Sure it happens some.
But by and large, SPEED KILLS. Steeplechasers (here or there) aren't running quite as fast, nor quite as 'hard' (on a perfectly tuned, speed-favoring dirt track, I mean) as flat horses.

Mar. 14, 2007, 12:45 PM
I'm a novice to steeplechasing, too -- wish we had it on the scale the UK does. Or, at least, that TVG would send a satellite-camera crew to the meets.

The longest steeplechase in the world is the Grand National Steeplechase at 4 miles, 4 furlongs, at Aintree, Liverpool, UK -- you may have seen it dramatized in National Velvet (I also recommend Champions). They start with 40 runners but seldom more than 10 finish.:eek: The average winning time is over 8 minutes, but it's not unusual to go over 9. In fact, in 2001, Red Maruader slogged in first through the rain at 11:01.1.

The next running is coming up in April.

Mar. 14, 2007, 02:28 PM
I'm a novice to steeplechasing, too -- wish we had it on the scale the UK does. Or, at least, that TVG would send a satellite-camera crew to the meets.

A fading opportunity for the sport to be sure.

It's a shame that the NTRA [with their own fading but still big-league media connections] don't see steeplechasing as being an excellent complimentary product to track racing which should be promoted in unison.

Today it is often the showcase of second careers for retired flat track horses which is a good thing! Networks cringe to be honest more then ever at horse racing's "betting" element even though it’s legal. Some viewers/organizations do take them to task for promoting betting by carrying horse racing. Well steeplechasing - with the exception of Saratoga races and the Breeders' Cup - doesn't have formal betting assigned to it.

Steeplechase races up and down the eastern seaboard if you look at the people dotting the landscape, at the rail, and tailgating make for a marketers dream: a significant percentage are families, most races have adopted a charity for proceeds, they have a place in the community social calendar, raw attendance numbers have only been increasing in recent years, and lets face it the setting of an emerald green meadow can't be beat for a day at the races over some pealing paint, cigar smoke filled, and ice cold stadium seating at a tired old track. The measured demographics are top notch yet with precious little capitalizing by the "leaders" on it.

The central product itself - the racing - can be as exciting as tv needs to be for broadcasting. It does require more cameras to do so then the boring racetrack single shot [with the "ants on the backstretch"] but certainly nothing like what NASCAR requires to make their bland product exciting ;)

Then again from my own personal interaction with people in the sport [from the NSA down] I'll say much of the ignored focus is brought on by the players in the sport itself. They like that clubby feel, they don't want to give up the way its run now, they seemingly don't want it be any different.

Maybe things will change and like the amazing surge in popularity for PBR - which is cheap tv to produce - steeplechasing will change its tune.

Ok rant over

Mar. 15, 2007, 11:17 AM
Also, except for the summer cards at Saratoga or Belmont, the North American steeplechase venues are well off the beaten path. The British ones, in contrast, are just out of town if urban sprawl hasn't surrounded them already. And they race in the winter.

Mar. 15, 2007, 12:06 PM
Also, except for the summer cards at Saratoga or Belmont, the North American steeplechase venues are well off the beaten path.

That is actually a bit of a misnomer in my view.

Great Meadow in The Plains, Va for example with Virginia Gold Cup (40k people) and International Gold Cup (15k people) may not be the same geographically as RFK Stadium in DC - but it is fully accessable to the hordes of people who flock to it. The Gold Cup is well promoted in the social magazines and young social clubs in Wash DC.

The Breeders' Cup in Far Hills, NJ gets 50,000 to attend in no small part from New York City residents. The Iroquois Steeplechase draws huge numbers - 71,000 in '06 - of folks from Nasville. Last year's Atlanta Steeplechase had its highest attendence ever at around 25,000 and the organizers have 50k as their goal in 10 years. The Carolina Cup in Camden pulls in over 65,000 from all over South Carolina. The various races outside of Philadelphia - Radnor, Willowdale, and Winterthur - all do very well with an urban draw. And so forth ...

Sure some of the smaller Virginia and Maryland races on their respective circuits tend to draw just the local folks which is fine. Old Guard, Genesee Valley, up near Rochester NY likewise is small but fiercely loyal with its fans who generally number around or below 5,000.

Bottom line is that attendence for NSA sanctioned races [around 40] draws well over 700,000 people in person - excluding Saratoga - for their races during a year.

ps - no steeplechasing at Belmont or Long Island any more, which is making Ambrose Clark I'm sure roll in his grave

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 15, 2007, 04:18 PM
... and don't forget hurdle races every Sunday (or Saturday? Can't remember) for all 6-7 weeks of the Colonial Downs meet near Richmond. The Strawberry Hill hunt meet used to be held damn near downtown Richmond, at the old State fairgrounds til it was taken over by Nascar (I think.) The meet, formerly a blowout tailgate infield haven, has been equally well attended and supported since its move a few years ago to CD.
Plus, Nashville's Iroquois Steeplechase, another of hte big daddy's, attracts 75k or more. Its about 20 miles south of town, north of Franklin, which is now a 'city' itself. Atlanta's meet springs to mind too. Its out of hte city but not so far that ma and pa and the kids don't want to load up a picnic and a few dogs and friends and make a day of it.
THAT is the beauty of US jump racing - a day in the countryside, pretty horses, friends, up CLOSE to teh action (not ants on teh backstretch.) You can sit practically on TOP of the jumps at many of the meets.

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 15, 2007, 04:19 PM
Jeez. Sorrry Glimmerg. I only read your 1st paragraph. Yeah, what he said about Iroquois and Atlanta. I concur. (duh.)

Mar. 15, 2007, 05:27 PM
Back when I was a youngun, one of the premier chasing meets, much like the Iroquois, was at Rolling Rock in Ligonier, PA.

When did that one fold? And why? Its tailgating was legendary.

Mar. 15, 2007, 05:58 PM
... was at Rolling Rock in Ligonier, PA. When did that one fold? And why? Its tailgating was legendary.

As found on the web - Photo: Oct 1968 Rolling Rock Steeplechase (http://www.flickr.com/photos/elston/35330850/in/datetaken/)

From The New York Times October 2, 1983 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9400EEDE163BF931A35753C1A965948260)

The annual Rolling Rock steeplechase races, which have benefited handicapped children for almost 50 years, have been abruptly ended.

The races, held with a few exceptions since 1934 on the Mellon family estate of Rolling Rock, at Ligonier, 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, have been more a social than a sporting event.

Over the years the sponsors, the Mellon Trust and the Rolling Rock Hunt Racing Association, have contributed more than $1.2 million to the Rehabilitation Institute of Pittsburgh, formerly the Home for Crippled Children. The association, made up of a group of people from the Ligonier area, functions only to conduct the two days of racing at temporary facilities.

To ease the financial pain to the institute, the Richard King Mellon Foundation announced that it would grant it $500,000 over the next five years, giving it time to find new sources of funds.

33,500 at the Final Event

The cancellation came after the races last month drew 33,500 people, 4,500 more than last year. The association estimated that it raised $52,000 this year. Of $1.25 million in prize money distributed by the association in 1982, about $100,000 went to Rolling Rock.

The sponsors cited such factors as ''the need for other use of the land, higher labor costs and the need for increased security in regard to public safety.'' They said they had reluctantly made ''a thoughtful decision based on a combination of economic and practical factors.'' There have been reports that the site would be converted into a golf course or used for condominiums.

The Home for Crippled Children became the races' chief beneficiary five years after they began. They were canceled during World War II and in 1966, when danger of an equine virus arose.

The sponsors' statement surprised Richard P. Mellon, adopted son of the financier Richard King Mellon, and Alfred M. Hunt, of the family that founded the Aluminum Company of America. Lenny Bughman, the announcer who has called the races for 36 years, said he was unaware of the plans.

The races were run at the estate put together in 1921 by Richard Beatty Mellon. Many devotees of the steeplechase thought it was the nation's most attractive setting for that aristocratic sport, as spectators viewed not only the thoroughbreds leaping the temporary barriers but also the fall foliage.

As a side note - one the most recognizable Rolling Rock beer logos (http://www.rollingrock.com/) is actually of a steeplechase fence - the one with the white rectangle and lattice at the bottom ;)

(The famed Rolling Rock brand was sold by Latrobe Brewing Company to Anheuser-Busch in May, 2006)

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 15, 2007, 10:33 PM
The International Gold Cup (the actual trophy) used to be run for at Rolling Rock. It was a hurdle race, over natural hedges. A big stake.
When RR folded, Great Meadow attracted the cup and put it on a big, fall timber stake (to balance their big spring timber stake, the Virginia Gold Cup, which they'd attracted when VGC's longtime home of Broadview course in downtown Warrenton Va. was sold for development in the early 1980s.
The IGC actually ran at GM *before* the VGC, as GM opened for racing the fall (of 1985?) and the IGC runs in October, the VGC in May.
Rolling Rock was a fantastic meet. Sorry its gone.
The IGC, the trophy, by the way, is a fantastic solid gold cup, absolutely lovely. Prettier, IMO, than the more gilded VGC.

Mar. 15, 2007, 10:44 PM
... when VGC's longtime home of Broadview course in downtown Warrenton Va. was sold for development in the early 1980s.

Interestingly in this month's Virginia Living magazine there is an article on the lovely old Warrenton estate of Oakwood, today owned by M/M Bertrand Collomb. They have been slowly assembling back the parcels of land adjacent to it sold off in the prior decades. Per the article:

[Caroline] relishes telling visitors the fact that an early Virginia Gold Cup was held on the grounds and she would love one day [to] be able to redo all the jumps. "We still have the plan of the track".

The private c1805 estate will be open to the public April 25th for VA Garden Week (http://www.vagardenweek.org/schedule-warrenton.htm)

Mar. 19, 2007, 01:01 PM
Amazing .. I take back my knock on the NTRA [above] for not helping the NSA getting racing on air ...

ESPN will televise several major steeplechases on tape-delay this season and the events will also be featured on the network’s Internet site, thanks to an agreement between NTRA Productions and the National Steeplechase Association.

All airings are assumed to be ESPN [not the Duce or Ocho]

Race, Race Date, ESPN Air Date/Time (all times EDT)
Carolina Cup, March 31, April 7, 5-6 p.m.
Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings, April 20, May 5, Noon-3 p.m.
Iroquois, May 12, May 19, 2-5 p.m.
National Hunt Cup, May 19, June 9, 3-5 p.m.
A.P. Smithwick, August 9, Aug. 25, 4-5 p.m.

Also in the news - a few known ex racers who are going into steeplechasing. Perhaps Ten Cents a Shine will become like Straight Gin who finally has taken to steeplechasing :)

Ken Ramsey’s Grade 2-placed winner and former classic starter Ten Cents a Shine has been transferred to Maryland-based trainer Tom Voss for re-training as a hurdler.

The seven-year-old Devil His Due gelding, runner-up in the 2002 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs, won four of 17 starts in five seasons and earned $144,644. He finished unplaced in the 2003 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).

Alumni Hall did not begin his flat racing career until age five due a series of physical setbacks, but in a three-year career the A.P. Indy horse won nine of 28 career starts and four stakes, including the 2005 Ben Ali (G3) and Fayette (G3) Stakes at Keeneland Race Course, for owners-breeders William S. Farish, W. Temple Webber Jr., and the estate of James A. Elkins and trainer Neil Howard.

Alumni Hall, having not been all too interested in his stud career will be trained by Jonathan Sheppard. I suspect then he might be in Campbell Soup heir, George Strawbridge Jr's Augustin Stable.

Source: TB Times 3-17-07 "Alumni Hall, Ten Cents a Shine retraining for steeplechase careers" (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/racing-news/2007/March/17/Alumni-Hall-Ten-Cents-a-Shine-reschooling-for-steeplechase-careers.aspx)

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 19, 2007, 03:08 PM
... AND the Virginia Gold Cup will be the first US timber race to carry a $100,000 purse. (The Marlborough Cup in England, a proper US timber race which ran for just 2 years in 1997 and 98, was worth $100k.)
Big news for US chasing.
Now if we could just get poor Virginia's point to point season kick-started (Warrenton had to cancel their races last Saturday due to SNOW. Sigh. Casanova, Rappahannock and Blue Ridge had canceled prior weeks due to EHV.)
Piedmont SHOULD run (if the creek don't rise) this Saturday, with Farmington-Keswick on Sunday. Forecast looks good so far.

Mar. 19, 2007, 03:31 PM
Anyone planning to go to Piedmont...if it cancels...journey up to MD for the Howard County Iron Bridge Races. We're throwing a huge tailgate, and all are invited!

Mar. 19, 2007, 05:06 PM
... and the events will also be featured on the network’s Internet site, thanks to an agreement between NTRA Productions and the National Steeplechase Association.

Having the races on-line reminds me of the old Saddletude.com - six years they were at the VA Gold Cup (http://www.saddletude.com/mediakit/popupimages/vabig.jpg). It was in terms of a web-site and business well ahead of their time.

Joe Gillet Davis (http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=16423) one of the founders was keenly part of the steeplechase scene so you would've thought the sport could've benefited from being some of the early high-quality content on the web. But alas it wasn't meant to be.

Good to see that steeplechasing is returning to the on-line world.

Mar. 20, 2007, 08:57 AM
We had a mare booked to Alumni Hall, it will be fun to see how he does.

Mar. 20, 2007, 09:10 AM
The Little Everglades Steeplechase folks put together this 5 min video on youtube.com for promotion of the event as good time, community gathering (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=811VFFEQsGw)

The attendence numbers are excellent for that race which was held March 11th with a great deal of success (http://www.sptimes.com/2007/03/12/Pasco/No_roses_run__but_a_l.shtml)

The racing card has a 1 p.m. first post and the program includes four hurdle events and two flat races - all over Little Everglades's spacious turf course. During the morning and afternoon hours, there are all sorts of family events and exhibitions.

Admission is $15 per person, $60 for a carload. The proceeds this year have been earmarked for Diabetic Charitable Services, Quantum Leap Farm Inc., and the Pioneer Florida Museum.

Late arrivals should be aware that an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 may be on hand, depending upon the weather.

Mar. 20, 2007, 09:40 AM
Last year, or the year before, broadcast TV featured the International Gold Cup on Kentucky Derby Day, during one of the breaks from Churchill Downs. It was a segment of less than two minutes and showed one fence. Very disappointing.

I certainly hope TV will figure out how to show more of the race and do a better job of giving a feel for what chasing is about. But if a chase lasts 8 or 9 minutes, it isn't very TV friendly. Still, six two minute segments are better than none.

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 20, 2007, 10:01 AM
Virginia Gold Cup. That ones in May. IGC is in October.
But, yes, you're right. A little is better than none, Vridge. A lot would be better than a little. How on earth did Nascar do it??!! And pro level golf?? Of all the boooorrinnggg sports to be 'popular' on tv. ???!

Mar. 20, 2007, 10:19 AM
I recall the Gold Cup being aired on ESPN, too, during their full day of "horse" programing on Derby day in the last couple of years and it was indeed brief and confusing.

There are production values and then there are high quality production values. I think we all expect to get at a minimum the quality level we see with say the Rolex Three-Day with Carr-Hughes/NBC. Sweeping wide camera shots at crucial fences, audio which is "in there" capturing the brushing of the fences and the pounding of the hooves, and also transmitting the enthusiasm of the crowds.

The common single shot of a camera at a fixed location with almost no zoom - or if it does zoom it captures only one horse - lousy audio mixed with rushing wind sounds, and the feeling we are watching this race from about three hillsides away via some cheap binoculars isn't going to cut if :D

A lot of chases are filmed with smaller production teams, bless those folks, for sale later assumably for riders/owners/some fans. However they lack the equipment required to communicate the sport as expected on a network. I suspect the video we saw was really just a rebroadcast of that local team's video.

This isn't rocket science and unlike say cycling - the producers know where the action is going from step to step. Accordingly laying out the camera shots and doing the prep work should be easier. Rather then reinvent the wheel the production folks should really be lifting ideas that work - and respond well to audiences - from the European race coverage.

Mar. 20, 2007, 02:18 PM
I certainly hope TV will figure out how to show more of the race and do a better job of giving a feel for what chasing is about. But if a chase lasts 8 or 9 minutes, it isn't very TV friendly. Still, six two minute segments are better than none. You must have missed those Youtube videos in the Cheltenham thread, all those were taped off of live broadcast TV (i.e free to air national channels). There's nothing TV-unfriendly about chasing, unless one has the attention span off a gnat. If anything it's more TV friendly that most flat racing, at least the short distance stuff you see on dirt, where a 5f race is over in 1 min, and 10f lasts a whole 2min, then you twiddle your thumbs for 25 minutes.

Mar. 20, 2007, 02:28 PM
Alas, I live in the country--America's Ethiopia--and don't have access to broadband. Unless I hit oil and can afford satellite broadband, I'm stuck with dial-up. Or Bell South takes pity on us.

Streaming video on dial-up is not watchable. Used to be, the clip would load, no matter how long it took, then play. Now I get two seconds of video, then it buffers, plays another two seconds, etc. When it's all over, if I hit play, it just streams again.

So I haven't watched any racing on the internet, and until I figure out how to put the whole download in my buffer, I probably won't.

Dial Up sucks.

Mar. 21, 2007, 03:14 PM
Pleaseeeeee tell me I'm reading this wrong ...

The Carolina First Carolina Cup, Royal Chase, Iroquois, Mellon Financial National Hunt Cup and A.P. Smithwick Memorial will be featured on ESPN in 2007. Each steeplechase will get a one-minute segment on a show centered around a major flat race: the Wood Memorial, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont Stakes and Travers.Fauquier Times Democrat 3-20-07 (http://www.timescommunity.com/site/tab2.cfm?newsid=18104765&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_id=583968&rfi=6)

Come on, toss a dog a bone and don't just tease! A whole minute! Wow. Who brokered that "killer deal" with the network. Golly that might be all of 1/8th of the race.

I reinstate my criticism accordingly!

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 21, 2007, 04:14 PM
That's what it said. One minute. That's one minute x however many races they're showing (10?) than we had previously. Take what we can get. Now work on figuring out the tv draw of bull riding-golf-nascar and make it happen in steeplechasing.
Piedmont races are on Saturday. 19 horses entered in the Rokeby Bowl (3 1/2 mile open timber feature.) Even if half defect (due to cross entering etc., that will still be a rockin' race. Miles Ahead (2006 Gold Cup winner) is entered, as is Askim (06 NSA timber champ) and a few other notables, including some point to point standouts. Should be a fantastic day. Anyone coming?

Mar. 21, 2007, 04:54 PM
That's what it said. One minute. That's one minute x however many races they're showing (10?) than we had previously. Take what we can get. Now work on figuring out the tv draw of bull riding-golf-nascar and make it happen in steeplechasing.

It's very hard to get enthusiastic over such a minor concession. The typical personal interest "heart warming" fluff piece ESPN does as fillers (e.g., last weekend's Santa Anita jockey's playing basketball against 10-yr olds) lasts a minimum of 3 - 4 minutes!

With other sports network outlets like Vs (nee OLN) out there which covers PBR (Professional Bull Riding) with ratings success why not shop this high action, thrilling race content around? Heck even Spike TV might take a bite at airing it as its not like this is dressage we're talking about!

What has to happen is the NSA and partners need to take a risk - they need to spend the money to film the races with a high level of quality and if they want to jazz it up with music, exciting commentary, and fast action cuts, etc then all the better. Then once it is packaged then offer that to the other networks. Essentially USA Network, Bravo, VS, Spike, F/X, Fox Sports, you name it - they don't have to do anything more then air it. Heck why not make a go at it with PBS stations :)

Jiminy Cricket they can air it at Sunday morning at 11 am for all I care, although you'd think they would position it in a better slot. Consumers have DVRs, TiVO and VCRs to capture the stuff so the audience can find it - if its aired.

If tv producers can make a ratings hit out of 1-hours worth of programing largely filled with "waiting around" time filled with a bunch of souther drawl good ol boys chatter, then seeing some guy likely get tossed off in less then 7 seconds .. well NSA steeplechase can do the same! What is amazing is that back in the day steeplechase jocks were some of the most admired athletes because what they were doing was dangerous as hell and wildly thrilling. Last I checked no one was making this sport dull.

I only hope that ESPN.com will when they provide the on-line coverage won't do it on an abridged basis. That would just be insult to injury.

Regarding the VA races when will Straight Gin be back in action? :D

Mar. 21, 2007, 05:19 PM
Straight Gin is entered at Piedmont.

As for more broadcasting, there was a TV special that was broadcasted locoally on MASN that featured the whole race card from Shawan Downs Fall Races. It was quite a good segment, I believe it was an hour long. A little primative in the video production, but very well put together and even included trainer/rider/owner/sponsor interviews.

Mar. 21, 2007, 05:24 PM
LOL - I wonder if that minute will increase once those TV boys take a look at the 'ladies' at the Colonial Cup race. That race seems to open the season for many - It is rather humorous to watch the ladies in their sleeve-less dresses and high-heels turn pink to bright-red (they never understand the sunburn thing) and lose the heels in the sand. However it is grand viewing for the male of the species. Don't know about the other races, but this one is great for people watching.

One of my favs are the ol' grand dames in their classic Channel suits and muck type footwear in the saddling area. I figure if they can do it, so can I

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 22, 2007, 01:15 PM
I think you mean the Carolina Cup (in the spring), not the Colonial Cup (same place, but in November.) A huge turnout both times, but the spring one is the scantily clad crowd.

Mar. 22, 2007, 01:29 PM
We had a mare booked to Alumni Hall, it will be fun to see how he does.

DLee did you get Alumni Hall to cover your mare or was he removed from stud duty before the contract could get fulfilled?

Mar. 23, 2007, 11:52 AM
I'm coming down from the mudhole of western New York to the Cheshire
Races in Pa. My friend has a mare in training, & will run in the Novice Timber
there. There are 20 entries for that race, we'll see how it pares down after
all the cross entries sort themselves out! We should have a good cheering
section going, complete with tailgate----anyone else going to Unionville on
Sunday? Please come find us!

Mar. 23, 2007, 12:20 PM
I'm coming down from the mudhole of western New York ...

AWM how is the steeplechase scene doing there in Geneseo (http://www.geneseevalleyhunt.org/Races.htm)? I've read some accounts that the last few years have been sparce with attendees and not like it used to be. Maybe its been the October weather? Late fall timber races in Western NY just always seemed odd (http://www.kodakgallery.com/wgamble/horsehound/gvh_race_meet_-_10_14_06) and I'm originally from Cooperstown where the weather is no better.

With beloved Wegman's being a sponsor for the GVH Races it's not for a lack of corporate support.

Mar. 23, 2007, 07:20 PM
DLee did you get Alumni Hall to cover your mare or was he removed from stud duty before the contract could get fulfilled?

He was removed before we got there.

Mar. 24, 2007, 11:43 AM
Glimmer, the horses, owners & trainers still come! We had 6 run in the
GVH Cup, with a purse of $25k, 5 ran in the Novice Race for $10k last year.
Irv Naylor is a huge supporter for years, Jack Fisher, Paddy Neilson,
Billy Meister, Todd McKenna, Augustin Stables, Bill Lickle are regulars
making the trip up.
We had Askim, Ghost Valley, Mr. Bombastic, Ivorgorian finish in that order
last year. We've had Young Dubliner, Salmo, Dr. Ramsey, Rosbrian,
Bubble Economy, Sky & Sea, Hall of Angel, Albert's Crossing, Lil Starvin Marvin, to name-drop a few in the last 4 years. So, I would say that we
are still going strong, despite the iffy weather (we're due for a nice day!)
Attendance is still good, better with a good forecast for the people coming
from Rochester for a day-in-the-country. Our big wish is for local jockeys---
Thanks for the nice *advertising* using Bill Gamble's collection of photos!
Come on up, one & all, we'll promise a fun weekend!

Mar. 26, 2007, 01:47 PM
Glimmer, the horses, owners & trainers still come! We had 6 run in the GVH Cup, with a purse of $25k, 5 ran in the Novice Race for $10k last year.

Thats great to hear! It would be a terrible shame to ever see the Geneseo Hunt Valley Races die for lack of community support. Its good to know there are hearty folks willing to brave the elements in October for a day of fun.

Regarding the sport in the rest of NY one has to wonder at what point will steeplechasing be nixed at Saratoga - it appears to be kept only as a tip to tradition - by the new folks who will be running the big three tracks. Belmont did away with it years ago. Long Island has no more chases. So it would be besides Rochester/Geneseo just the Hudson Valley which continues the legacy in the State of NY.

That aside, does anyon know how Straight Gin did at Piedmont this past Saturday?

Hunter's Rest
Mar. 26, 2007, 02:22 PM
Straight Gin scratched - though he was cross entered at Cheshire and I haven't seen those results yet.
Miles Ahead, 2006 Virginia Gold Cup winner, won the 3 1/2 mile featured Rokeby Bowl open timber at Piedmont Saturday. Easy for him, though a reasonable test. Last time he was at Salem farm he was hunting ... A really good story if anyone wants to check out my coverage in Wednesday's Fauquier Times Democrat. (Haven't written the story yet, but it'll be a good one due to cool subject material.)

Mar. 26, 2007, 05:13 PM
I'll look for the coverage of the races in the Wednesday edition!

Faquier Times-Democrat (http://fauquier.com/site/tab2.asp?brd=2553)

With the massive Carolina Cup this coming weekend in Camden, South Carolina the newspaper The State for March 25th (http://www.thestateonline.com/news/flash/070325_carolinacup/gallery2.html) has a great series of 37 + pictures of the race of the last 75 years.

Perhaps the largest lawn party in the entire state, over 70,000 strong [maybe hitting 75k this year] will be there to eat, drink .. and see some horses ;)

The 300-year-old silver racing trophy briefly awarded the winner is among the oldest in the sports world, handcrafted in Ireland in 1704, according to the Carolina Cup Racing Association.

The trophy caught the eye of race founders Kirkover and Woodward at auction and was purchased as the official trophy in 1930, when the Cup races began.

Originally, it was given to the race winner to hold throughout the year. But, in 1961, the winner began receiving a replica.

The original is kept on display at the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden.

Mar. 28, 2007, 01:44 AM
HR's article: Fauquier Times Democrat 3/27 "Back on track: Strong entries mark return to racing at Piedmont " (http://www.timescommunity.com/site/tab2.cfm?newsid=18135220&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_id=583968&rfi=6)

Apr. 1, 2007, 08:52 PM
Any updates on this weekend's action with Straight Gin "going to the post" for his 2007 debut?


Hunter's Rest
Apr. 2, 2007, 10:47 AM
He did not run in Virginia - not sure if he was crossentered up in Md. or Pa.
Ground was pretty hard at Blue Ridge Saturday, hard and slightly uneven at Orange County. We got a fair rain shower last night and expect rain Wednesday. Need it badly - though the Old Dominion course is one of the circuit's best. They'll be rolling it with those sheep's foot rollers all week in preparation for the Saturday meet. The course was fertilized with chicken litter last month, and just needed a dousing like last night to work the stuff into the ground and the grass should POP this week and make for a wonderful green expanse by Saturday.

Apr. 2, 2007, 11:34 AM
I heard Telly (I'm Telling) won his race by about 30 at Orange County. I love that little horse, although he's a bit of an arse to handle in the paddock sometimes.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 2, 2007, 03:19 PM
Yes indeed-y. I'm telling was fantastic - wire to wire. Jumped great, very very impressive. I got some good pix if you want to email me your email SteeleRdr.

Apr. 2, 2007, 06:39 PM
Sent you an e-mail, HR, to the e-mail address that my e-mail apparently had (I guess you work e-mail?). Anyways, pictures are much appreciated!

Apr. 3, 2007, 11:16 AM
With the massive Carolina Cup this coming weekend in Camden, South Carolina the newspaper The State for March 25th (http://www.thestateonline.com/news/flash/070325_carolinacup/gallery2.html) has a great series of 37 + pictures of the race of the last 75 years.

They exceeded 75,000 for an all-time record. The State newspaper 4/1/07 "Cup attendance tops 75,000" (http://www.thestate.com/154/story/23964.html)

Keep in mind this is a one-day race that draws that many. Rolex Three-Day which is very enjoyable too, by comparison, only exceeds 75,000 people in sum over the four days [Thu - Sun] for the official event. At no time does the Kentucky Horse Park have more then 45,000 on the grounds.

Apr. 3, 2007, 03:11 PM
This past weekend was the kick off of the first steeplechase of the year in the Delaware Valley - Brandywine Hills Point to Point (http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070402/NEWS/70402003/-1/NEWS01) on Sunday April 1st which was the 65th running of it. It was held at Myrick Conservation Center near West Chester, PA. (The next big one in that region is at Winterthur on May 6th)

For April 7th it will be the 56th Annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase at Southern Pines, NC (http://banking.dbusinessnews.com/shownews.php?type_news=latest&newsid=113560). Last year the attendence at Stoneybrook exceeded 15,000. This year Crescent Financial Corporation is going to be the title sponsor. It's held at the Carolina Horse Park at Five Points:


Apr. 3, 2007, 03:32 PM
Actually I think for the Deleware Valley point to point association, the first race was Cheshire's pt-to-pt that was on the 25ht of March. I could be wrong, but I believe it was.

Apr. 3, 2007, 04:51 PM
The first race in the DVA was Cheshire 2 weekends ago then Brandywine and before Winterthur their will be Plumsted on April 22 it is the last race in the DVA for the season.

I only know this since I am racing in them this year.

Apr. 3, 2007, 04:56 PM
The first race in the DVA was Cheshire 2 weekends ago then Brandywine ...

I stand corrected and the original link from The News Journal, Willington DE does say "among" the first ;)
Always scheduled in April, the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point is among the first steeplechase races of the season, a full month before Winterthur’s.

Apr. 3, 2007, 06:16 PM
Aille...what is your horses name? How'd you do the past two races?

Apr. 3, 2007, 10:35 PM
My horse name is Cuckoo Too. I am running in the owners chase. I came in 3rd at Cheshire and 4th at Brandywine.

I hope to do better in a few weeks. But I am having so much fun!!!

Apr. 8, 2007, 10:11 PM
Despite the cold weather (around the 40 degree F mark) the 56th Annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase at Southern Pines, NC turned out to be very well attended and with plenty of enthusiasm

New 14 Carolina: "Popular Carolina horse race runs for 56th time" (http://rdu.news14.com/content/headlines/?ArID=102968&SecID=2)

Video in the link above of the day's festivities

see also: an estimated 8,000 turned out (http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=259296)

Despite blustery conditions and competition from a major holiday, organizers were pleased with the number of spectators.

“Given that it’s so cold, I think we’ve had a great turnout,” said Stoneybrook manager Landon Russell. “ People are having a great time, it’s a Carolina blue sky: What more could you ask for?”

Apr. 8, 2007, 11:53 PM
By the way did anyone catch the maybe 2 minute clip on steeplechasing during the ESPN coverage of the Wood Memorial on Saturday? It was a pretty skinny piece of reporting - just a couple of brief remarks from trainer and jockey.

There was plenty of time to fill on Saturday in between races at the Big A ... room enough to give to steeplechasing. Especially enough time if they exclude "Hammering Hank" Goldberg from even one minute on camera. Sorry folks that never-prepared guy is waste of precious air time. Randy Moss is such a pro and Jerry Bailey a total value add and then there is Hank :(

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 9, 2007, 07:17 AM
What was the ESPN steeplechasing spot about? Who? Where? When? What?

Apr. 9, 2007, 09:22 AM
What was the ESPN steeplechasing spot about? Who? Where? When? What?

It was about the Carolina Cup. Btw, I'm pretty sure it was less than 2 minutes, maybe one and it wasn't a ESPN piece, it looked like a paid ad by the NSA. They showed more footage of overdressed people than actually racing and predictably the one racing segement they cut away right as the horses went over the last fence (there was a faller... shock horror). Kinda silly to try and sell the sport if you're afraid to show that.

Supreme Novices Hurdle (G1) 4yo+ Cheltenham

1 Ebaziyan (IRE)-6 2 Granit Jack (FR)-5 3 Amaretto Rose (IRE)-6
Replay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKUy9HY-Otg&feature=related)

Apr. 9, 2007, 09:58 AM
It was about the Carolina Cup. Btw, I'm pretty sure it was less than 2 minutes, maybe one and it wasn't an ESPN piece, it looked like a paid ad by the NSA.

My error to suggest it was an ESPN/NSA cooperation and double the length ;) I think this is the end product of the NTRA partnership to get NSA information on tv during NTRA paid programming. Agreed with Drvmb1ggl3 that it was on the silly side if not confusing of what they are trying to promote or even convey.

As everyone likely knows horse racing is not paid for by ESPN (by contrast, Major League Baseball is paid by the networks to carry the games) but rather the NTRA pays for TV time. A large amount of underwriting comes from Citgo the sadly Venezuelan government controlled oil company. Hence the NSA video airing during the NTRA paid-for-broadcast doesn't get invoiced by ESPN/ABC to the steeplechase folks.

Sad that even 1-minute of attention with a couple million viewer audience is squandered with an uninspired segment. Did they every think to maybe create a fan-friendly website and then list that at the bottom encouraging those slightly interested to check it out and see if a racing is coming soon to a venue near them? The NSA website is not designed for that - its more "to the trade" so to speak which is what its for.

Marketing 101 isn't a hard class you just need to go to the sessions and get a passing grade :D

Apr. 9, 2007, 10:13 AM
HR- My dad said he saw it (I was at the Elkridge races) and said that they did an interview with Matt McCarron after he won on Orison. He was very proud of himself for seeing and recognizing Matt (my dad is non-horsey, but has shipped horses for Bay to some races).

Apr. 10, 2007, 01:25 PM
In stroke of good fortune (perhaps) this week's guest for The Bloodhorse's Q&A session 'Talkin' Horses will be NSA President Franny Abbott (http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/FA041207.asp) - the exchange takes place Thursday April 12th at 12 pm EST

Follow the link to submit a question!

Come on folks lets get some good ones in regarding the direction of the sport and better (read: more creative/more strategic) promotion of it!

Apr. 10, 2007, 03:38 PM
Glimmer- Straight Gin finished 4th in open company at Marlborough Hunt Races this past Sunday.

Apr. 10, 2007, 06:48 PM
Glimmer- Straight Gin finished 4th in open company at Marlborough Hunt Races this past Sunday.

Yep, The John Murray Begg Memorial race, and I did receive an email yesterday on that from Patty (thank you!)

Also provided is the excellent resource for Virginia races although for a horse like Gin, based in Virginia, you can extract his results if they occured out of state: http://www.centralentryoffice.com

Apr. 10, 2007, 07:58 PM
Yeah, the new central entry you can get a horses past performance record for any race that goes through central entry (mostly all the MD/VA/PA point to points). It's a very nice new feature.

Apr. 11, 2007, 12:15 PM
Wow guys...thanks for the info. about the new central entry feature! I found all my horse's past point-to-point results!! I only had his NSA race results from the JC. He raced against some good horses: Sam Sullivan, Young Dubliner, Welterweight, Swayo, Matchless, Florida Law and on. Now wonder he thinks so highly of himself LOL!

Apr. 12, 2007, 03:05 PM
Feedback from today's 'Talkin' Horses' with Franny Abbott NSA President (http://www.bloodhorse.com/talkinhorses/FA041207.asp)

A few marginally interesting elements

Middleburg, VA:
It's a fairly vague question, but where and how does steeplechasing fit into major track racing? It seems like it's lessened in recent years, why?

We currently race at Keeneland, Colonial Downs, Saratoga and Philadelphia Park. We are currently planning some additions to our major track program.

Los Angeles, CA:
Why isn't there any steeplechasing out here on the West Coast? We'd sure like to have it here.

Right now all of the trainers are working on the east coast. Organizing a race is difficult and sites are hard to find. Getting horses to the west coast would be costly and the purses to attract horses would have to be strong. Having said that we are always looking for more opportunities. If you have any ideas give us a call. We were very close to having a major race at Hollywood Park.

So far I would say it has gone well. Early still and we have a lot to do. My ultimate goals are many. More support for the race meets. Increased opportunities for the horsemen. Higher purses. More races at the race tracks. Implement some type of pari-mutuel betting on steeplechasing.

For those folks who have lamented the fact that Long Island - once the major center of 'chasing the US - has none today, there may be a change on the horizon:

[Abbott]: In fact we are in discussions with a group on Long Island to have a race meet at Caumsett Park

It looks like a heavy focus on making more meets available for wagering is the plan for the sport's future. That is not what I expected but perhaps it will pay off ultimately with more coverage and interest. One would think that because that ties into state legislative issues it would require a lot of lobbying funds and absorb a lot of resources.

As for the West Coast developing their own steeplechase league - under NSA rules and regulations - I never have understood why that hasn't materialized. You have several high quality tracks, tons of horses, strong public interest in competitive horse sports, great weather, etc. It would seem easier to cultivate an organization from stratch vs. putting up money for a meet hoping to lure East Coast based teams.

It should makse sense to get some backing [financial or at least endorcements/promotion] for this via the NTRA with ReRun and other post-flat track racing organizations mixed with Santa Anita and others. Steeplechase should be a viable option for West Coast horses seeking a second career.

Apr. 12, 2007, 08:05 PM
The West Coast has ZERO chasing culture, and no proper hunting to speak off (i.e where you actually jump fences, hedges, walls etc). There is nothing there that compares to what you have in VA, MD, PA etc. Also, it's not the chasing at the big tracks in the east that keeps the scene going, the races at Saratoga (maybe 6 total), Keenland (2?), Philly Park (less than 5?) only make up a tiny number of NSA races. What is the meat and potatoes is all the Hunt meets. That's the grassroots. You can't create that overnight in the West.
On top of that most chasers are not trained at tracks, but on farms.

Besides, I don't think chasing needs to get on more major tracks, I'm not sure it derives much benefit from that. It seems to get bigger crowds at places like Far Hills, Camden, The Plains or even many smaller hunt meets, than it does at Philly Park or the Meadowlands. Also, jumping on those bullrings, making 3 circuits of the course, who wants that? Hold it out in the country where it should be, up and down hills as God intended.
Now, wagering would be great if they could swing it.

Apr. 12, 2007, 10:36 PM
Besides, I don't think chasing needs to get on more major tracks, I'm not sure it derives much benefit from that.

Agreed 100% - the sport isn't going to suddenly benefit from being featured on Tuesdays at Gulfstream Park. Abbott in the Q&A today remarked that chasing has been shrinking at Saratoga because betters at the track in recent years don't bet on steeplechasing. That means its costing the NYRA money to hold open slots for steeplechasing. So why do they [the NSA] think that will suddenly change? I certainly have no idea.

Regarding the West Coast I didn't mean to project the notion of a circuit appearing overnight. Yet there is more potential out there then people give it credit. Steeplechasing can be as social and competitive as it wants to be at its roots between neighbors, stables and communities. Just as it has been cultivated for generations in MD, DE, PA, VA etc.

Polo thrives out there just fine. California as well has four recognized fox hunts by the MFHA, e.g. Santa Ynez Valley Hounds (http://www.syvhounds.com/). By comparison the very horsey Connecticuit has just two. The state of Washington has the Woodbrook Hunt (http://www.woodbrookhunt.com/) which has been around for 96 years. I'm not trying to compare the two regions as it will be a losing arguement.

Still if steeplechasing can find success expanding down into Georgia and Florida - two vastly different states then the Old Dominion with its link to horses - it could do well on the West Coast.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 13, 2007, 07:03 AM
But (to continue the constructive argument, not to quibble) Georgia's Atlanta races are elderly in comparison to Everglades. AND there is hunting (long standing tradition, actually) in both states.
They DID try a jump race at a California track some years ago (with the past 20, but not the past 10). Joe Gillet Davies had something to do with it.
It didn't work, no better than a timber race over portable timber fences at Arlington in Chicago about 25 years ago.
Ga. and Fla. work because of the $$ and because they are an easy day's ship from winter training quarters of SC.
Don't get me wrong - I am one of hte sport's biggest boosters. I've just seen enthusiasm quashed time after time (St. Louis, Beulah Park, Mason Dixon - those all of them in hunting country's of varying sorts.)

Apr. 13, 2007, 10:13 AM
Don't get me wrong - I am one of the sport's biggest boosters. I've just seen enthusiasm quashed time after time (St. Louis, Beulah Park, Mason Dixon - those all of them in hunting country's of varying sorts.)

Which just begs the question - what will it take to press into 'virgin' territory successfully with the sport? Money I'm sure isn't the sole problem. A lack of skilled riders? No places to stage chases? Lack of would-be owner support? Shortage of qualified steeplechase horses? Little spectator interest?

The Midwest - if you lump say MI, WI, IL, OH together - has plenty of hunts, show activity, wealthy patrons, select areas of rolling topography, swaths of land still open, and public spectators that do come out for eventing among other alternative equestrian sports. Again it just doesn't seem like a quantum leap to think that a coordinated plan could take root.

In terms of portable fences and an artificial feel by having a faux steeplechsing-lite at Arlington Race Course in Chicago isn't what I’d envision. Rather it will take a wealthy and devoted series of land holders to make it fly. Take an example from the showjumping world with the genesis and end product of Hummingbird Nest Ranch (http://www.venturacountytrails.org/News/0036-HummingbirdRanch/NewsPage.htm) in So. California. The owners [since divorced] built a world-class facility and showjumping grounds "just because". The mating of land preservation, equine benefit, and social cause can all work together - as it has in the MidAtlantic - to sell the sport.

Obviously as you've said HR it’s been tried many times before with little to show for it. I do appreciate the fact that this isn't a new idea and people far more skilled and even enthusiastic then I have tried and failed.

Hitching the proverbial wagon to betting as a big goal for the sport in hopes to further bolster the success just seems questionable. Almost every chase is non-for-profit with strong ties to a charity or benefit. The races attract families and public spectators looking to gather over drinks and good times. Corporate sponsors participate because of the good wholesome fun. If you introduce gambling into the mix it won't that change the level of participation by some organizations?

I wouldn't focus a lot of efforts in that direction if I were in the head office.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 13, 2007, 11:30 AM
The Midwest Hunt Race Association was alive and well when I was a kid, until about 15 years ago -- when George Sloan was alive, middle Tennessee was actually an active training area. Once he died, though, and my mom moved to Va. (she was longtime sec'y for MHRA) and my dad got into three-day (he was longtime prez) and Kirk Griggs retired from racing (and his pop aged, and therefore, had less horses in training) it sort of died down and eventually disappeared. MHRA was who boosted St. Louis and Oxmoor and Atlanta and Iroquois and St. James (a hunt meet in Chicago) and Arlington and Mason Dixon (next door to Turfway) and major track races at Beulah (of all places) and Hardscuffle and the like. Once you removed the head (MHRA) all of the tails died for lack of nurture.
Sad, really, but life moves on.
It would take a lot, a LOT, to build racing in the midwest or west.

Apr. 18, 2007, 01:08 PM
About 16,000 folks enjoyed the 75th running of the Strawberry Hill Races on Saturday April 14th which has since moved into Colonial Downs as the venue site. I suppose this is what Franny was talking about with moving chases to race courses.

Richmond Times Dispatch 4-13 "Strawberry Hill settles in at Colonial" (http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173350713373)

"I loved the old course, to be honest with you," said [Doug] Fout, 49, who's based in Middleburg. "It was a good country course and served its purpose for a lot of horses. But times change, and the race course at Colonial is quite suitable."

The Atlanta Steeplechase was also held over the weekend as well. Atlanta Steeplechase: Gray skies, but colorful day (http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpid=680&show=archivedetails&ArchiveID=1262210&om=1). It looks like a fine success despite mother nature only being slightly cooperative.

Jeff Franklin, vice president of Georgia Power, who was at his second Steeplechase, said the event is a great draw from Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.

“It brings people who have never been to Northwest Georgia — it creates a positive image,” he said.

The threat of rain didn’t stop thousands from crowding the fundraising event that benefits the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation and the Coosa Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.

“This year’s event is fabulous,” said Joy Puckett, manager of the Friends of the Rome Library and Gift Shop who spent time reminiscing with a friend she hadn’t seen in 20 years. “I’ve gone every year it’s been in Rome, and it’s a lot better than it used to be in Atlanta — a lot more room and easier to navigate. I’m glad the rain held off — it’s such a festive event.”

Photos from the ATL Steeplechase (http://www1.romenews-tribune.com/snapHappy/)

This weekend - April 21 - is the Middleburg Spring Races at Goodwood Park (http://www.middleburgspringraces.com/index.htm)! What a venue :D

Apr. 18, 2007, 02:40 PM
Glim- I think you meant Glenwood, not Goodwood. The Goodwood festival is a car event in England.

I'll be at Middleburg this weekend :) I'm Telling is running the maiden claiming, I've known him since he was born and we have his half brother at the farm :)

Hope to see some of you there!

Apr. 18, 2007, 02:52 PM
Glim- I think you meant Glenwood, not Goodwood. The Goodwood festival is a car event in England.

Well I was actually starting to type out Glorious Goodwood (the horse track in England) as opposed to the deliriously brilliant festival of speed with that hillclimb! Nothing like a Ferrari F40LM setting a blistering pace with a skilled ex F1'er at the wheel .... I digress

It should be brilliant none the less at Glenwood Park this weekend :D

Good luck to you SteeleRdr in having a great time for us all and watching I'm Telling. Thankfully he's not racing in the 2nd against Straight Gin in The Middleburg Hunt Cup open timber at 3 1/4 mi ;) Go Gin Go!

Apr. 20, 2007, 02:46 PM
For those who have set up the free account on the non-betting site youbet.net today will be live steeplechasing from Keeneland:

Race 9 "Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings Hurdle Stakes" (G1) (http://www.drf.com/entries/20/eKEE20.html?rn=558143#9) going off at approx 5:15 pm Eastern:

About 2 1/2 Miles (Hurdle) | for 4 Year Olds And Up | Purse: $150,000

PP Horse - Jockey - Trainer, Wt., Morning Line Odds
1 Good Night Shirt -Dowling W - Fisher Jack, 146 , 10-1
2 Racey Dreamer - McCarron M O - Fout P Douglas, 148 , 8-1
3 Feeling So Pretty -Walsh R - McKinney F Lee, 139 , 30-1
4 Paradise's Boss - Aizpuru X - Fisher Jack, 148 , 6-1
5 Mixed Up - Hodsdon D - Sheppard Jonathan E, 150 , 3-1
6 Chivite (IRE) - Young P J - Miller F Bruce, 142 , 15-1
7 Mauritania - Massey R - Valentine Richard L, 146 , 10-1
8 Preemptive Strike - Miller C - Hendriks Sanna N, 152 , 4-1
9 Class Vantage - Boucher R - Boucher Lilith, 140 , 20-1
10 Party Airs - Murphy Cyril - Voss Thomas H, 146 , 10-1
11 Riddle - Petty J - Kingsley, Jr. A J, 148 , 8-1

Apr. 20, 2007, 05:38 PM
Danielle Hodsdon aboard Mixed Up takes the featured race at Keeneland - but I'll give big marks to William Dowling on Good Night Shirt for closing hard on the inside for Place. Hence the exacta paying $150 :)

Final order of finish
1 - Mixed Up
2 - Good Night Shirt
3 - Paradise's Boss
4 - Riddle
5 - Feeling So Pretty
6 - Chivite (IRE)
7 - Class Vantage

Ken/Sarah Ramsey's owned Party Airs was out of it early after pulling up; Mauritania jumped the first jump so weird and was never in the race and failed to finish. Preemptive Strike was out with a spill late as was Racey Dreamer.

Apr. 20, 2007, 06:07 PM
A shame - Brookhill Steeple Chase Cancelled (Raleigh, NC) (http://www.raleighchronicle.com/2007041901.html) and appears to be, for now, no more. This May's running was to be the 15th running but due to a possible sale of the land which its held on. No idea why they couldn't let the event still be held with it only a couple weeks out.

It's possible the event will be held elsewhere next year, but the organizers will need to find another large property to host the steeplechase. With many farms disappearing to make way for new homes, that task may be daunting but the Jaycees seemed hopeful.

"The Raleigh Jaycees are thankful for the continued support from the [National Steeplechase Association] and the trainers, riders and owners that have been so loyal to the Brookhill Steeplechase. We've enjoyed the past success of the race and will be evaluating our options for the future," said Raleigh Jaycee president, Ed Blackman in a statement on the website.

Apr. 20, 2007, 06:18 PM
Regarding tomorrow's (April 21) chases at Gleenwood mark the 86th running of the Middleburg Spring Races (http://www.leesburg2day.com/articles/2007/04/20/entertainment/ent14middleburg042007.txt) with high expectations for thrills:

The $75,000 Temple Gwathmey is a hurdle race for novices, sponsored in part by Bank of America. "The race is for the best young horses in the country, for horses who have not won a race since March 1, 2006," Fout said, adding that the race has a special appeal to jockeys because it allows "young horses to compete in a big race alongside horses of the same kind."

"It's a very competitive race and a very equal race and it will be one of the best races of the day," Fout said.

The Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase race runs over brush and timber fences, and is designed for older horses between the ages of 8 and 10. The Middleburg Spring Races committee has dubbed the steeplechase as the "funny" race for its twisting, turning course, Fout said, and will challenge the agility of horses and riders as they hurdle over 17 obstacles, all of which have been renovated with fresh junipers, yews and arborvitae.

"The idea for the race was put together for older horses," Fout said. "You'll see a lot of older horses that have been around, and it gives them the opportunity to win a big race for a big pot. Because of their experience, the horse are always good jumpers and they always put on a good show."

Also for Saturday's action further North will be the 105th annual Grand National Steeplechase in Butler, MD along with a unique bonus. Baltimore Sun 4/20 "Bonus adds intrigue to Grand National" (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/horseracing/bal-racing420,0,3441369.story?coll=bal-sports-more)

The Maryland Amateur Timber Association, with a sponsorship from Union Memorial Hospital, has spiced the proceedings with a $30,000 bonus to the owner of a horse who wins both tomorrow's Grand National and next Saturday's Maryland Hunt Cup.

"The goal is to link the Grand National and Hunt Cup," said Peter Fenwick, secretary to Maryland Steeplechasing.

Added to a $35,000 purse for the Grand National's 3¼ miles and 18 jumps, the bonus is one more variable to ponder.

Alas neither the VA or MD steeplechase action will be available on tv or the internet ....

Apr. 21, 2007, 02:50 PM
Preemptive Strike was out with a spill late as was Racey Dreamer.

Racey, who was my favorite from Dougie's barn, besides the sweet Hirapour, broke his leg badly at the second to last jump and had to be put down. Very sad. I loved Racey. He was such a sweet horse. I know this happens, and it sucks, I just wish it hadn't happened to such a nice horse.

Apr. 21, 2007, 07:27 PM
Racey, who was my favorite from Dougie's barn, besides the sweet Hirapour, broke his leg badly at the second to last jump and had to be put down.

Indeed the son of AP Indy was euthanized after fracturing his leg. It was per this Associated Press article (http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/sports/17110748.htm) his first start since 2004.

"Mixed Up Wins Royal Chase for Sheppard, Pape" 4-21-07 (http://www.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=38540) - link includes a replay of the entire races which, aside from the spill, was a good thriller although jock Chip Miller said otherwise:

Racey Dreamer wasn't the only horse to fall attempting a jump. Preemptive Strike had the lead at the eighth fence when he threw jockey Chip Miller, but that horse got back up and kept running.

"From my perspective, (the race) stunk," Miller said. "He's a very free-running horse and they're very high risk. He was a little extravagant around the fences."

Apr. 21, 2007, 10:30 PM
Report for you Glim:

Straight Gin pulled up in the Open Timber today at Middleburg. I thought he was going along pretty good, but I heard somewhere he pulled a shoe on course or something like that. Betsy may be able to tell you, I meant to ask but I forgot.

Gliding (NZ) won the second leg of the steeplechase triple crown. Winner of the first leg, Orison, nearly fell at the first fence, and seemed to never recover and was not a threat.

Kudos to Jeff Murphy of his ride on Bon Fleur...he put in a hell of a ride and the sharp left hand turn to the final time on the backside in the steeplethon was AMAZING! I was super impressed with how he rode that turn.

That's all I have to report at this time. Oh yeah, my boy Telly (I'm Telling) didn't have as much work this week as Bay would have liked because of the rain, and he ran out front and led much of the way, but tired in the last 1/4 mile. His jockey though, a new kid, Nick Carter was quite impressive and his riding ability definitely turned a few heads and had a few trainers asking Bay who he was and his story. Really nice jock!

Apr. 22, 2007, 08:35 PM
Straight Gin pulled up in the Open Timber today at Middleburg. I thought he was going along pretty good, but I heard somewhere he pulled a shoe on course or something like that. Betsy may be able to tell you, I meant to ask but I forgot.

Thanks for the news - any updates on his condition and/or what was wrong?

Glad to hear that the Spring Races were a success and the steeplethon was a blast. There are others who lurk here who love that format :)

The 61st Block-House Steeplechase in Tryon, NC was picture perfect and brought in some 35,000 fans (http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770421049)

The horses cooperated to make it a great day, with a thrilling ride in the featured Block House run, two miles and three furlongs over national fences.

In addition to two horses losing their jockeys during the race, River Bend produced more drama with a strong surge at the finish to pull away from the pack and win by three lengths over Niello, with Kilbeggan Lad finishing third.

Photo gallery of Tryon Block House chase (http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=B0&Dato=20070421&Kategori=FRONTPAGE&Lopenr=421004&Ref=PH&Params=Itemnr=1) - no idea why they included the one of the jockey being dragged.

Apr. 23, 2007, 08:57 AM
Article on the Maryland "Grand National" on Saturday- Baltimore Sun (http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/horseracing/bal-horseracing0421,0,2705690.story?coll=bal-sports-horse)

The Maryland Amateur Timber Association has put up a $30,000 bonus to a horse that can double in the $30,000 Grand National and next Saturday's Hunt Cup, but Andre Brewster, Bubble Economy's owner, expressed no interest in running the 8-year-old there.

"Three weeks in a row is too much," Brewster said.

Regarding the winning jockey:

According to Gillam, riding Bubble Economy is a matter of less is more.

"He's an interesting horse to ride," she said. "I have the utmost confidence in him. I let him do his job, I'm just the passenger. I was waiting for the race to come to me."

Gillam, 32, knows what it's like to own a swift set of legs, as she was a fine middle distance runner for James Madison University, qualifying for several NCAA championships and once covering 1,500 meters in 4:18.

Now her days begin as an exercise rider at Pimlico, for trainer Dickie Small. Jack Fisher, Bubble Economy's trainer, was racing some of his other jumpers in Virginia today.

As an aside - no updates on the condition of jockey, Ellen Horner who went over the top of Thundering Home. Ellen Horner suffered serious head, neck and back injuries. She was transported by MedStar helicopter to the Shock-Trauma Center at University Hospital, where she was listed [on Sat evening] in critical condition last night.

It must be something about ___ home horses as we all recall that Gary Stevens was tossed hard by a horse named "Storming Home" in the Arlington Million.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 23, 2007, 09:47 AM
Gruesomely, Ellen Horner had TWO falls at Grand National. Douglas Lees just sent me some amazing photos - they'll probably show up in the Steeplechase Times next issue. She's in an INDUCED COMA at the shock trauma unit of University of Maryland in Baltimore.
Pray for her.
Middleburg Spring Races were the best. Good horses, great footing, wonderful weather, good crowd. Oh, my, the steeplethon was a joy to watch - short field (4) but each fenced professionally, and the riders were a treat - so good at their jobs. If there had been 24 you'd've thought you were railside on a pretty June day at Leopardstown - top quality competition.
I think Straight Gin is just no good. Sorry Glimmer. He's had enough chances to show his mettle. Didn't hear about a pulled shoe, but I've just not been so impressed.
However, check out my special Virginia Gold Cup special section included in this week's Fauquier Times Democrat paper (4/25/07) - there's a lovely photo of Chip Miller on the horse jumping like a grand prix horse last year at Great Meadow.
I'm Telling looked superb yesterday until swallowed by late-comers. I think the front runners were all coming back at Glenwood. The footing was in prime condition but it wasn't forgiving to front runners.
More about ELLEN HORNER shortly. Keep her in your thoughts.

Apr. 23, 2007, 09:54 AM
On the topic of steeplechasing perhaps someone would know the answer - has there ever been specifically quarter horse chasing?

Obviously thoroughbreds are used in all recognized chases, but QH can easily jump and contrary to bias they can last more then 1-mile. Ask eventers and they can tell you that a QH will do a cross country course just fine.

I'm wondering if the AQHA would've ever encouraged that as an interesting sporting alternative.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 23, 2007, 01:40 PM
Errr, I'm afraid (no offense) but QH jump racing would be akin to Arabian flat racing -- reallllllly realllllly slowwwwwww.

Apr. 23, 2007, 02:53 PM
Gruesomely, Ellen Horner had TWO falls at Grand National. Douglas Lees just sent me some amazing photos - they'll probably show up in the Steeplechase Times next issue. She's in an INDUCED COMA at the shock trauma unit of University of Maryland in Baltimore.
Pray for her.

How horrible! Please keep us up to date if possible.

The ugliness of the GN asdie, I'm glad to hear the Glenwood Races went off so well. The perfect countryside, good weather and plenty of tradition and horse fans ... how can you go wrong?

Just give Gin one more try ;) He certainly isn't coming in dead last and while not the second comming of Lonesome Glory I think he's a fine addition to the sport if only to bring some name recognition and being decent player.

No offense on the QH question - I would've though the folks in Houston or Dallas would've tried something like that at some point in time.

Apr. 23, 2007, 04:38 PM
However, check out my special Virginia Gold Cup special section included in this week's Fauquier Times Democrat paper (4/25/07) ....

HR - when will the special section be also available on-line?

The Fall 2006 special on Steeplechasing is still available (http://www.adquest3d.com/da/?brd=2553&pag=779&ssid=9702) ;)

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 23, 2007, 07:48 PM
Gosh, I had no idea they put the special sections online. Wow.
It's coming out this Wednesday, April 25, so I guess it will be up then.

Apr. 25, 2007, 08:32 PM
The 66th Annual Iroquois Steeplechase isn't until May 12, but already it has some solid buzz for the day with last year's Eclipse champion scheduled to run!

2007 Iroquois field billed as best in history
April 25, 2007
the Murfreesboro Post (http://www.murfreesboropost.com/news.php?viewStory=3885)

NASHVILLE- Nominations are in for horses to run in the 2007 Iroquois Steeplechase and Dwight Hall, Clerk of the Course, says this years field could be the best in the events 66-year history.

Two of the best horses in steeplechasing, McDynamo and Sur La Tete, will run for the first time this season at the Iroquois. These two giants were actually held out of an important race last Friday, the Royal Chase for the Sport of Kings at Keeneland, so that their trainers could focus on getting them ready for our race. This is just one indication of the level of excitement the Iroquois is generating on the national steeplechase circuit, Hall said.

Also nominated are the horse that placed second at Keeneland last week, Good Night Shirt, as well as Mon Villez, which placed second to McDynamo at the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C. last November. Then we have Bow Strada and The Looper, which captured second and third, respectively, at the Georgia Cup in Atlanta a few weeks ago. During the same Atlanta meet, two other horses nominated for the Iroquiois finished in the money: Hip Hop ran first and Meadow ran second in Atlantas Irongate Capital race.

It is shaping up to be a very exciting race, perhaps a historic one. There is also strong local representation. Nashville owner Calvin Houghland has nominated five of his horses: Bow Strada, Chivite, Meadow, Mon Villez and Say What You See, Hall continued.

Horses nominated for the 2007 Iroquois Steeplechase.
(Trainers in parentheses.)

1. BOW STRADA (B. Miller)
2. CHIVITE (B. Miller)
4. HIP HOP (Johnny Griggs)
6. MCDYNAMO (S. Hendriks)
7. MEADOW (Sheppard)
8. MON VILLEZ (B. Miller)
9. SAY WHAT YOU SEE (Thompson)
10. SUR LA TETE (Morris)
11. THE LOOPER (Voss)

The event benefits the Monroe Carell Jr. Childrens Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Apr. 26, 2007, 09:14 AM
Did anyone see the shocking image captured at the (Keeneland) Royal Chase of April 20th with Chip Miller aboard Preemptive Strike? Per the record the horse got back up and kept running. However if you see the picture you wonder how the horse isn't without a broken leg!

Herald Leader Photos - look up "The Week In Pictures" for April 15 - 21 (http://www.heraldleaderphoto.com/weekinpictures/wipindex.html) it will be the second to last of the series.

(You can't directly link to the exact image)

> If you are looking at 'The Week in Pitcures' series and see the week prior with the horse on her back with legs in the air, that would be ... Hucking Hot (GB): Right before the Ashalnd Stakes, she tossed jockey Rafael Beajarano, broke loose, almost crashed into the starting gate and tried to jump over the rail. She flipped over onto her back and was scratched. Beajarano was not injured.

Maryjean Wall, the Lexington Herald-Leader's racing writer, wrote: "In the day's most carefully enunciated disclosure, track announcer Kurt Becker informed the crowd of 12,937 that Hucking Hot was scratched."]

Apr. 26, 2007, 10:35 AM
I just read in the Hunting forum that Virginia Beach has passed away---

We're very sad to hear that in western New York, she ran the Pt. to Pts.
so well, someone has some serious shoes to fill.

If there is any place to send condolences or rememberances, will
someone let us know?


Apr. 26, 2007, 11:14 AM
awm- There was an announcement both in the Official Notices for the NSA and also at www.centralentryoffice.com. I believe any donations, etc can be made to the Marion DuPont Equine Center Horse Ambulance.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 26, 2007, 04:30 PM
With your double negative, I can't tell what you mean about Preemptive Strike, but he didn't break down -- Racey Dreamer did (broken shoulder.)

Apr. 27, 2007, 08:27 AM
Racey broke his leg, not his shoulder. At least that is the word from a friend that works for Dougie Fout.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 27, 2007, 10:59 AM
The owners told me shoulder, but I don't know. Sad in any case. He was a lovely, competitive, handsome horse. Pity.

Apr. 27, 2007, 01:22 PM
SteelRdr, thanks for the info.

Apr. 29, 2007, 10:12 PM
With your double negative, I can't tell what you mean about Preemptive Strike, but he didn't break down -- Racey Dreamer did (broken shoulder.)

Actually my remark was ...

Did anyone see the shocking image captured at the (Keeneland) Royal Chase of April 20th with Chip Miller aboard Preemptive Strike? Per the record the horse got back up and kept running. However if you see the picture you wonder how the horse isn't without a broken leg!

I was stating my amazement that he was not injured after seeing the picture they feature. I know he wasn't injured but shocked that is the case. You need to see the picture in the context of my remark ;) He contorted leg back with the spill would've snapped on most other horses ... just very lucky in this case.

Apr. 30, 2007, 08:45 AM
12th annual Queen's Cup Steeplechase near Charlotte, NC record crowd ;) excerpt ..

Charlotte Observer - April 29 (http://www.charlotte.com/217/story/103557.html)

Perfect setting for day at the races
Annual Queen's Cup event raises $20,000 for hospice

The weather was perfect Saturday for the 12th annual Queen's Cup Steeplechase on the grounds of Brooklandwood in Union County. The crowd for the event totaled a record 17,000, and visitors came from as far as Los Angeles.

In the infield, picnickers and families lounged on blankets and in lawn chairs, moving to the rails each time the racers sped by.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 30, 2007, 11:34 AM
Tighten your girths, everybody. Virginia Gold Cup RECORD timber purse $100,000 this Saturday, and the weather forecast looks good. We got good rain last week, plus its a nicely irrigated course. Oh boy!!
Anybody else already picking out their sundresses and strappy sandals???!

Apr. 30, 2007, 12:00 PM
Tighten your girths, everybody. Virginia Gold Cup RECORD timber purse $100,000 this Saturday, and the weather forecast looks good.

If the weather holds up - unlike Churchill which looks like it might be total slop - then I'll hazzard a guess at breaking the 45,000 mark. Traffic is still traffic and the days of easily jaunting down to The Plains for day's worth of fun in the country are fading fast.

Although social magazines like DC and Capitol File (http://dcpages.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=Virginia-Gold-Cup&page=1) do push this as a being a must attend event on the urban social circuit.

Tally Ho for Gold Cup; Washington Post (http://blog.washingtonpost.com/goingoutgurus/2007/04/post_5.html)

While equestrian events are ostensibly the reason for the day, you'll probably spend more time checking out the eye candy at your party than watching the horses.

Hey, nothing wrong with that with the net results. The more people, the more revenue which supports the preservation of the lands and facility and it keeps steeplechasing in the public eye to some degree.

Apr. 30, 2007, 01:24 PM
I am quite annoyed I'm going to be out of town this weekend! But...I'm going to be getting updates via phone from the course (the lady I ride for is supposed to be hauling a horse there).

HR- Any rumors about supplemental nominations???? I was hoping Miles Ahead would run...but wasn't sure what his story is since his last outing at the pt-to-pt.

Hunter's Rest
Apr. 30, 2007, 03:08 PM
Miles Ahead was injured - is turned out for the year (!)
Tons of early noms - no word yet on supp's. I'll know when you do - when entries are posted at nationalsteeplechase.com tomorrow afternoon. Bubble Economy was expected to come from Fisher's barn since he skipped Maryland Hunt Cup.

Apr. 30, 2007, 03:57 PM
Yeah, I confirmed Bubble Economy at the Hunt Cup. The connections for Fappa Fire weren't so thrilled...I believe they were trying to avoid Bubble Economy by skipping the hunt cup but now are going to still end up running against him.

Too bad about Miles Ahead :( I really am fond of him...and there goes my timber horse for my ST fantasy stable!

May. 3, 2007, 09:18 AM
Looking for a chasing fix on line?

ETV - the South Carolina PBS affiliate - covered the 2007 Carolina Cup and someone with that organization has made several of the races available on youtube.com

Check it out. Good quality. Good announcing although I'd love to hear Vic Stauffer (Hollywood Park) making a call of a 'chase

youtube.com six Carolina Cup races to watch (http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=CarolinaCup)

May. 5, 2007, 05:48 PM
That is so fun to watch! I got to see my nephews ride without the fear! (already knew the results)

Did anyone go to Gold Cup today? Have not heard anything so I am guessing that is not good but not bad either!!! (as far as my family goes)

May. 5, 2007, 10:41 PM
That is so fun to watch! I got to see my nephews ride without the fear! (already knew the results)

Great, if I'm right in saying that is in response to the Carolina Cup being produced by ETV and put on youtube.com

The person behind the effort indicated they will be doing the same for the Colonial Cup too!

May. 5, 2007, 11:48 PM
All I heard about the Gold Cup was that Salmo won, Mr. Bombastic was second, and Ghost Valley was third.

Hunter's Rest
May. 6, 2007, 08:14 AM
Salmo (known as 'Slammo' around the stable since he's, uh, a 'regular' faller) won wire to wire in an absolutely lovely demonstration of jumping. Just a wonderful race. Mr. Bombastic lost on the nod. Ghost Valley never fired - jumped poorly each time over the fence I was posted at - and finished third, close up but not his devastating late kick. Seeyouattheevent was fourth, giving Jack Fisher 3 of the 4 top slots in America's first $100k timber race.
Chip Miller rode - he was the only jockey willing to ride Salmo.
Salmo was bred just a few miles from Great Meadow in Casanova, bred by long time Virginia racing supporter Sara Collette. She was in tears in the winner's circle. A fine tribute to a longtime breeding program. Score one for the little guy. I love that.
Last race was a nightmare. 14 maiden claimers (over hurdles.) 1 fell early, ran backwards around the track. 2 slipped next time around on the south turn. A U.S. Park Police horse was trying to help guard the fallen riders (from the 1st fall, I think) and the PP horse freaked out and ran backwards into the field, which had by this time come around again. PP horse got T-boned by a horse Matt McCarron was on (I think), popping Matt off, popping the PP officer off. PP horse, whose saddle was now under his belly, took off with the field and, now, 5 loose racehorses. PP horse made it down the backside, jumped 2 jumps, before exiting to the outer rail and collapsing with frothy blood gushing out of his mouth. My friend the attending vet said it was clearly a heart attack - the vet was unaware of hte T-bone collission but agreed that, probably, the collision caused a thump hard enough to knock the poor PP horse's insides.
Kathy McKenna reported her horse (one of hte loose ones that was vanned off) was going to be ok; not sure if anybody else was injured badly.
It was like watching a horror film. Dozens of photographers watching out of four corners trying to avoid getting run down, jockeys hiking back in a group of a half dozen. Awful. Just awful.
I think the formal term for such an occurance is 'cluster-fuck.' No reason for it, no particular cause. Just a series of bad luck. I guess we in horse racing are lucky stuff like this doesn't happen more often, as rife with possibilities the sport is.
Racing, otherwise, was clean and competitive. Very very good Gold Cup, and very very nice day. Cool, drizzly, good footing, good horses. The girls in their sundresses looked cute with goosebumps on their bare shoulders. I was snug in rubber boots and a barbour ....

May. 6, 2007, 09:11 AM
YIKES, the last race sounds like a nightmare. It is so horrible when one horse is loose on the track but that many .... ... looks like from my lack of frantic phone call from Tenn that the nephews survived that one. (Actually, I think one of them had scratched the last race). Hope everyone and everyone's horses are okay this morning. I am sorry to hear about the PP horse.

Last week at the Aiken Spring Classic, Michael Traurig, gave me the first-hand description of seeing Jody Petty's face get stepped on... and then I see he (Jody) was back in the irons and racing this weekend. WOW!

And yes, I was speaking of how fun it was to watch the you tube video of the races and be able to see it without your stomach in your throat. It is a lot easier to see it when you know the outcome.

thanks for the updates!!!

May. 6, 2007, 12:58 PM
HR what a mess with the final race there at the Virginia Gold Cup. Silly question but was the race immediately red-flagged when you had two horses loose running the opposite way? You would think in the interest of everyone the race would be halted. Loose horses going with the flow of the course are one thing but geeze the other is horrific.

Sorry the event otherwise ended on such a terrible note.

ps. why am I not shocked Chip would be the one to step up to this challenge:

Chip Miller rode - he was the only jockey willing to ride Salmo.

Hunter's Rest
May. 7, 2007, 10:50 AM
The downed riders were not too injured, just shaken, and they were not 'at' a fence, so, no, no flagmen were waving riders off. I did not see the loose horse running the 'wrong' direction with my own little eyes so I don't know what they did or could do about that.
The police reporter here at the paper is going to do a story -- I'll cc it to here when its up. I've given her quotes from Matt McCarron and Xavier Aizpuru (the race winner) and from the attending vet on the backside. She is contacting the Park Police.

May. 7, 2007, 12:29 PM
My nephew said that they did not know how the PP horse got out there on the course, but he did know that the PP horse did indeed hit his horse while galloping. He said it knocked into his horse's hind end but did not knock him down. He also did say that it was the wildest thing he had ever seen or been involved in and very scarey. Sounds as if everyone who was there in any capacity was lucky if they left that race unscathed.
The family had a pretty good day! Sixth in the Gold Cup, second in the Steeplethon and third in the craziness of the last race.

Let us know what you find out Hunters Rest!

Hunter's Rest
May. 7, 2007, 01:11 PM
Parminch - who's the nephew????
The Park Police horses are posted around the course (4 of them) as crowd control etc. They are not actually supposed to be outriders or whatever, but the downed riders were quite near Officer Marklin's station (on the infield) and he went, in concern, I am certain, to try to assist, with another officer. That his horse allegedly ran backwards into the oncoming field, rather than scooting forward out of hte way seems clear. I did not 'see' the incident other than I was at the fence before where it happened (last fence on the front-side - no one else posts there so I like having it 'to myself' for photos.)
Cops beat reporter is running into a stone wall with Gold Cup officials, cops and hasn't gotten the USPP yet. I am running a piece about the incident (assigning no blame, just clearing up the rumors) and I will run it with, or without, cooperation from the named parties. They'd sure help out if they'd tell us 'their side' of the story.

May. 7, 2007, 01:25 PM
Bruce is my brother so..... Will and Russell Haynes are the nephews!

Keep trying to find out what happened!

Hunter's Rest
May. 7, 2007, 03:03 PM
Here is a series of first-hand reports I've transcribed and just sent to the cops reporter -- stream of conciousness, but she'll pluck from the quotes for her police report.

* From Don Yovanovich, Director of Racing for the Gold Cup:
A U.S. Park Police officer "was responding to the fallen riders" (2 of which fell the first time around the South Rail turn). "He had his horse behind the hedge", out of the way of the continuing race, "but he lost control of his horse and got in the path of the oncoming runners."
"The first (race) horse to hit the police horse flipped him (the officer) up into the air, and off. The police horse then took off with the race."
"The police horse collapsed and died of a heart attack" shortly thereafter, apparently caused by the original collision.
"There were six horses running loose on the course at one time ... It was a huge series of unfortunate events."

* From jockey Paddy Young, who finished fourth aboard Fire Island Jet:
"I saw the Park Police horse sort of in the way" as the field approached the South Rail turn for the second time.
"Carl Rafter (aboard Notable Contender) had fallen on the turn first time 'round, and taken out Chip (Miller, on Focus on a Star) and Cyril (Murphy on Ed's Empire) as he came down."
"It looked like to me that the police officer was trying to protect the fallen riders when we came back around. But his horse backed up into us as we passed. James (Slater, on Competence) collided with the police horse, knocking his quarters around," and knocking both the officer and Slater to the ground.
Later in the race, "Matt (McCarron, on Hey Doctor) was pushed out of a fence by one of the loose horses," as were Liam McVicar on Meshwaar, and Michael Traurig on Cuse.

* The last race on the program, a $20,000 maiden claiming hurdle turned into a war of attrition as nine of 14 starters came to grief in a series of related occurences in the 2 1/4 mile event.

* Shiny Emblem was the eventual winner. "I could hear some of the commotion, and saw some of the loose horses," said winning rider Xavier Aizpuru. "I was sure glad to be running on the front end, out of the way of all the mess."

May. 7, 2007, 03:34 PM
Wow! that is just crazy! Good Job Hunters Rest! I knew you would find out what happened. Will said that he could not figure out what the Policeman was trying to do but I guess by the time he got there the horse had already backed into the path of the race horses. Sounds as if everyone was trying to do the right thing.. but when things go that awry I am not sure there is a right ....or wrong for that matter.
thanks, PHM

May. 8, 2007, 02:34 PM
In light of the purported bad news regarding maiden runner, Ten Cents A Shine, at Winterthur here is the only uplifting bit I can offer:

DE OnLine: Steeplechasing gone wild (http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070507/NEWS/70507050)

She doesn't exactly look violent or 40 yrs old for that matter ... ;)

Otherwise 20,000 people enjoyed a nice day at the (http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070507/NEWS/705070335) ex DuPont estate.

May. 9, 2007, 06:08 AM
CuriosoJorge, I cannot believe they are old enough either! (19 and 17) I must be really old! Rowdy's dam lives there on the farm and just had another foal. Not sure if this one is a half sister or full sister to Rowdy Irishman.
The bulls are fun!!!! Thanks!

May. 9, 2007, 11:43 AM
As cited before, McDynamo will start the season this weekend in Nashville for the Iroquois Steeplechase:

May 9, 2007: "66th Iroquois boasts steeplechase showdown" (http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070509/SPORTS11/705090444/1002/MTCN0302)

Sur La Tete and McDynamo meet for the first time this year in the $150,000 Iroquois, a 3-mile Grade I hurdle stakes. Sur La Tete won head-to-head here in 2005. The encore matchup fell through last year; McDynamo was a race-day scratch with shipping fever.

Sur La Tete is bidding to become the first to win the Iroquois three years in a row. Twelve horses have won it back-to-back.

Other entries include Houghland horses Meadow and Chivite, as well as The Looper, Kilbeggan Lad, Good Night Shirt and Summersville.

Bow Strada, another Houghland horse that led much of last year's Iroquois before fading to fifth, is in the 2-mile $50,000 Marcellus Frost.

May. 9, 2007, 02:29 PM
Fingers crossed for the nephews! Kilbeggin Lad with Will and Summersville with Russell. Their other grandparents live in Nashville and it seems every time they come to see them ride they fall at the jump where the grandparents are sitting. Hope they can either kill the jinx or leave grandparents at home

May. 9, 2007, 03:19 PM
A few options to choose from and not a bad idea with the the more public party - which raises funds for charity too - to educate folks on how it works ;)

Nashville City Paper 5-9-07 (http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/index.cfm?section_id=12&screen=news&news_id=56071)

The 2007 Iroquois Steeplechase events begin this weekend with the Steeplechasers pre-race party as well as the Hunt Ball.

A new tradition, only three years old, the Steeplechasers pre-race party is a chance for future Steeplechase volunteers and patrons to meet current participants and learn the ropes. The party starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall (405 12th Ave. S.).

Partygoers will help themselves to a full bar and cocktail buffet and be entertained by Holly Williams and Chris Janson. Tickets for the event are $50 in advance or $60 at the door; all proceeds benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

Also on the list of festivities is the annual Hunt Ball where the Masters of the Hillsboro Hounds and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will celebrate the 66th running of the Iroquois Steeplechase with an evening of elegance.

The black tie event includes dinner, dancing and a silent auction. Prizes for the auction include a PGA Golf package, a Baldwin Grand Piano and a week-long trip to Italy.

Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m. for this invitation-only event and dancing continues until Midnight at the Belle Meade Country Club.

May. 11, 2007, 02:00 PM
The Tennessean May 11, 2007 "Hats, horses and history in the making" (http://www.rctimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070511/ENTERTAINMENT07/705110561/1005/MTCN0303)

Because of the $150,000 purse that will be awarded to the winner of the Iroquois' last race of the day, some of the most celebrated animals in the sport will be in Music City to participate. With a combined $415,000 in purses and bonuses (up from $385,000 in 2006), six races are scheduled with varying levels of difficulty, with the last being around a three-mile oval track with a slight incline at the end.

"They call it Heartbreak Hill," said Henry Hooker, Iroquois Steeplechase
Race Committee chairman. "That's where the test is, and we find out if the horses have anything left."

Sur La Tete, the horse that has won the past two years, will return in hopes of a three-peat. His strongest opposition will likely come from McDynamo, a converted flat-track racer whose career earnings of $1,118,104 set an American steeplechase record. Sur La Tete edged McDynamo for the victory four of the five times they have faced each other. The two horses haven't met in the Iroquois since 2005.

If Sur La Tete wins the Iroquois this year, he will be the first horse in the event's history to do so three years in a row.

DRF: Entries Sat May 12 at Percy Warner Field; Race 6 (http://www.drf.com/entries/12/ePW12.html?rn=349016#6)

Iroquois Hurdle S. (G1)
3 Miles (Hurdle)
4 Year Olds And Up
Purse: $150,000

All horses assigned 158-lbs
PP - Horse - Jockey
1 Mon Villez (FR) - McCarron M O
2 Sur La Tete - Read C
3 Good Night Shirt - Dowling W
4 Meadow (NZ) - Hodsdon D
5 Summersville - Haynes R
6 Kilbeggan Lad (IRE) - Haynes W
7 Hip Hop - Miller F B Jr
8 Chivite (IRE) - Young P J
9 McDynamo - Petty J
10 The Looper - Murphy Cyril

May. 11, 2007, 05:36 PM
Parmich, I was at the point to point in March. Was that Will and Russell who came off iin the second race when that horse crashed through the wing? That was just crazy!!! Although, I don't think anyone was hurt, which is good.

Good luck to them Saturday, I have to work so I'll miss it.

May. 11, 2007, 11:50 PM
yes, In Atlanta a loose horse crashed into them and they both fell. Russell cracked a few ribs and partially collapsed his lung. He went to the hospital for a little while and then said he needed to get out and get back to School. Will drove him back to school that Sunday night ... He is freshman at Va Tech and you can imagine what happened the day he got back to into class... the horrible shooting.
Hope for better luck for the them this weekend!!!! they are great boys and lots of fun. It is a real family affair. Their little brother hot walks the horses back at the barn and sometimes takes them to the paddock.

Hunter's Rest
May. 12, 2007, 07:25 AM
Parminch - FatDinah was talking about the Hillsboro point to point, at Percy Warner (Nashville.) I remember hearing about all the problems at Atlanta, but, FatDinah, no, they weren't the ones (I don't believe) at the HH point to point. I think it was Robbie Walsh, maybe on one of Mike Berryman's. I can find out if you like.

May. 12, 2007, 04:44 PM
Does anyone have the Iroquois results yet?

May. 12, 2007, 08:33 PM
Good Night Shirt won the big race-- Noblest won the 1st -- can't remember the rest...

I have a few pics on the Iroquois thread, too.

May. 12, 2007, 11:35 PM
One of the racing magazines has a brief blurb, and it looks like McDynamo was 24 lengths or so back. It is early in the season for him, though.

May. 12, 2007, 11:45 PM
AP/ESPN 5-12-07 "Good Night Shirt wins Iroquois Steeplechase" (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/news/story?id=2868746)


Good Night Shirt beat Sur La Tete by 5 lengths Saturday in the $150,000 Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park.

With Irish rider William Dowling in the saddle, the 6-year-old Good Night Shirt upset three-time steeplechaser of the year McDynamo and Sur La Tete, the winner of the last two runnings of the Iroquois.

Dowling and Good Night Shirt, trained in Maryland by Jack Fisher for Harold "Sonny" Via of Free Union, Va., set the pace for 2 3/4 miles of the 3-mile contest over 18 national hurdles. Long-shot Chivite finished third.

McDynamo, who was seeking to earn his fourth Eclipse Award as chaser of the year, was another 18 lengths back in fourth place.

Good Night Shirt, who was second in the Grade I Royal Steeplechase for the Sport of Kings at Keeneland Raced Course three weeks ago, earned $90,000 to raise his bankroll to $288,043. His finished in 5:50 2-5.

The first 4 finishers ...

1 - Good Night Shirt; with Dowling up
2 - Sur La Tete; with Read C up
3 - Chivite (IRE); with Young P J up
4 - McDynamo; with Petty J up

May. 13, 2007, 10:52 AM
Dumb chasing question.

You see the same five or six jockeys riding almost every horse in every race that isn't owner up. Are they all there are, or are there just so very few chasing stables and trainers?

Hunter's Rest
May. 13, 2007, 02:12 PM
It is a small, insular sport. That said, look at any flat track program - its much the same. Every owner wants the 'best' riders - the best riders get their pick and most ride the card. The 'beginner' gets the leftovers with less chance to shine and make a name for himself (or her). The apprentice and amateur races are a pretty good way to boost participation -- most of the owners rode races as amateurs and continue to pour money into the sport (for the pros - trainers, riders, grooms, breeders, feed man, etc.) just because they got a kick out of riding a few races.
The sport of steeplechasing is reallllllly lucky in that way.
But, yes, there are few jockeys at the top of the game. Note that many foreign riders were imported late this spring as several of America's top riders have been injured (Jody Petty, Robbie Walsh to name two.)

May. 13, 2007, 08:29 PM
There are definitely more than 5 or 6, but certain jockey's are stable jockey's for certain trainers. I believe Matt McCarron is the stable jockey for Doug Fout, Chris Read is jock/asst trainer for Kinross Farm/Neil Morris, Xavier Aizpuru also rides a lot for Kinross/Neil, Jack Fisher has a variety of jockey's (Dowling rode the winner this week, but last week at the Gold Cup, Chip Millier rode the winner for Fisher), Jody Petty rides a lot for Sanna Hendricks, Dani Hodsdon is stable jock for Jonathan Shepperd, Cyril Murphy is stable jock for Tom Voss, Bob Massey rides for certain trainers, the Haynes brothers ride for their Dad/family (and others), Jeff Murphy rides for a variety of trainers...then you have others that ride around (or I just don't know details of) like, Diana Gillam, Paddy Young, Carl Rafter, James Slater (I think he rides for Fisher too), Michael Taurig,....much smaller amount of jocks compared to flat racing...but the amount of races run is also a lot less!!

May. 14, 2007, 10:43 PM
Rafter used to ride for Jimmy Day til he (Rafter) got fired a year ago or so. Liam McVicar still rides for Jimmy. Yes, Matt is the stable jock for Doug Fout, and Vicki Laurence is riding a few flat races every now and again. She's an assistant trainer for Dougie.
All you have to do to find out who's riding for who, besides knowing the jump jocks, is go to Magpies (it will never be called Maxwell's to those of us who knew Magpie's) on a sunday night around eleven or midnight. All the jocks are there getting drunk and hitting on anything female!! There's a reason they all call it Shagpie's....

May. 15, 2007, 01:00 AM
I guess it was a no-brainer, but Kauto Star cleaned up at the end of season Jump Racing awards (NH season ends on May 1st), including horse of the year.
He also picks up a check for around $400k, which brings his earnings close to the $4 million mark, not bad for a young 7yo with years ahead of him.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star was hailed as one of the greatest chasers in recent times after claiming top honours at the second annual Anglo-Irish Jump Racing Awards in central London.
The seven-year-old, who is owned by Clive Smith and trained by Paul Nicholls, claimed no less than four awards, including the coveted Horse of the Year title.
Kauto Star was also crowned champion two-mile, two-and-a-half-mile and three-mile plus chaser.

He also bagged the Racing UK Order of Merit following a season that saw him record six straight victories, over a range of distances, at six different racecourses.
British Horseracing Board chairman Paul Roy said: 'This, like so many others over the 2006/07 season, was Kauto Star's day.
'Horses like him do not come along very often, and are to be cherished. To be top-rated in every distance category is an outstanding achievement, and he was a unanimous choice as horse of the year.'
Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee Senior Steward John Moloney said: 'It has been another wonderful year for National Hunt racing both in Ireland and in Britain. We are delighted to co-host this prestigious awards scheme which once again highlights the fact that when it comes to National Hunt racing in these islands there are no country barriers.
'We are all partners in this wonderful sport of ours and that is perhaps the real secret of its success.'

May. 15, 2007, 01:04 AM
Full list of winners.

Award winners: '
Champion novice hurdle, Katchit;
Champion novice chaser, Denman;
Champion two-mile hurdler, Hardy Eustace, Sublimity;
Champion two-mile chaser, Kauto Star;
Champion two-and-a-half-mile plus hurdler, Mighty Man;
Champion two-and-a-half-mile chaser, Kauto Star;
Champion three-mile plus chaser, Kauto Star;
British champion conditional, Tom O'Brien;
British champion jockey, Tony McCoy;
British champion trainer, Paul Nicholls;
British champion owner, JP McManus;
Horse of the year, Kauto Star.

May. 15, 2007, 12:25 PM
Dumb chasing question.

You see the same five or six jockeys riding almost every horse in every race that isn't owner up. Are they all there are, or are there just so very few chasing stables and trainers?

That's true this side of the Atlantic. In Europe, especially the UK and Ireland, it's a top sport.

May. 15, 2007, 05:33 PM
I am going to my first ever steeplechase this weekend. :yes:

Does anyone know how Alumni Hall is doing in his training? I have NO idea how long it takes for a flat track horse to become a steeplechaser.

Hunter's Rest
May. 15, 2007, 07:52 PM
It can take one week (literally - I know of some hurdle horses that, literally, have a couple schools and off they go) to forever and a day (there are others - athletic, fast, willing) that just never get it. I think Alumni Hall ran already, didn't he? Over fences, I mean. I'll check.

Jul. 22, 2007, 11:28 PM
For those going to Saratoga Springs this summer you can catch NSA chasing as follows:

+ Thursday, July 26: $68,000 optional claiming hurdle; 2 1/16 miles

+ Thursday, Aug. 2: Steeplechase Jockeys Challenge Cup; $70,000 novice hurdle. For horses which have not won over hurdles before Jan. 1, 2007; 2 1/16 miles.

+ Thursday, Aug. 9: A.P. Smithwick Memorial. $80,000 Grade II hurdle stakes;
2 1/16 miles.

+ Thursday, Aug. 16: $68,000 optional claiming hurdle; 2 3/8 miles

+ Thursday, Aug. 23: Michael G. Walsh Memorial. $70,000 novice hurdle. For horses which have not won over hurdles before Jan. 1, 2007; 2 3/8 miles

+ Wednesday, Aug. 29: $70,000 optional claiming hurdle; 2 3/8 miles

+ Thursday, Aug. 30: The New York Turf Writers Cup. $150,000 Grade I hurdle
stakes; 2 3/8 miles.

[Today, July 22nd, was the 27th Annnual Open House of which there were three NSA races: a pair of $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdles and then a 1 1/2-mile training flat on the turf, which was restricted to Saratoga-eligible steeplechasers]

Jul. 26, 2007, 12:42 PM
For those with TVG you should be able to see live the 1st race at Saratoga today - 2 1/16 Miles (Hurdle) for 4 Year Olds And Up; Optional Claiming ($30,000) | Purse: $68,000 (http://www.drf.com/entries/26/eSAR26.html?rn=542577#1)

A-Coupled: Gryffindor and Jazzitupgeorge
B-Coupled: Sermon of Love and Divine Fortune

Two entries by Jonathan Sheppard and also Tom Voss; Doug Fout has Pukka (NZ) with Matt McCarron up .. interesting this is one of the $30k claimers

Betting suggestions from the Steeplechase Times - and who would know better in this race? :D

RACE 1: DIVINE FORTUNE won a strong maiden back in May and followed that up by trouncing straight maidens on the flat at Colonial Downs for a trainer who points to this meeting – in like Flynn. Coupled with SERMON OF LOVE. Tom Voss’ entry is headed by GRYFFINDOR, who drops down in class and has run some of his best races at the Spa; he’s reunited with the excellent Chip Miller, who piloted him to his maiden hurdle win. PUKKA is another who, like the top pick, goes back to his win rider and takes a drop; I’d feel even better if the horse had a little more racetrack form but I’ll still be using.

Aug. 9, 2007, 09:51 AM
Today is the A.P. Smithwick (Grade II) as the first race at Saratoga; Jonathan Sheppard wasn't going to run Mixed Up in this race (http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/news/story?id=2966258) (it was supposed to be a Philadelphia Park) but changes forced him to do the entry. We'll see what happens ...

TVG and youbet.net will carry the race live

Thursday, Aug. 9 at Saratoga
Post Time 1 p.m.
The A. P. Smithwick Memorial Steplechase (Gr. II)
2 1/16 Miles. Hurdle. 4&Up. Purse $80,000.

PP HORSE -- Jockey - (Trainer) - ML ODDS
1 The Looper -- Murphy, Cyril -- (Voss, Tom) 10-1
2 Orsay -- Massey, R -- (Voss, Tom) 5-1
3 Sweet Shani (NZ) -- Aizpuru, X -- (Sheppard, Jonathan) 15-1
4 Preemptive Strike -- Young, P J -- (Hendriks, Sanna) 5-1
5 Chess Board (GB) -- Dowling, W -- (Fout, Doug) 8-1
6 Mixed Up -- Hodsdon, D -- (Sheppard, Jonathan) 3-1
7 Orison --McCarron, M O -- (Fout, Doug) 4-1
8 Best Attack --Miller, Chip -- (Miller, Bruce) 7-2

Aug. 9, 2007, 01:08 PM
Mixed Up takes it by a neck over Preemptive Strike. Dani Hodson rode a great race and took the lead about 20 lengths from the finish. PS ran on the front most of the race.

6- Mixed Up
4- Preemptive Strike
3- Sweet Shani

Aug. 9, 2007, 01:09 PM
A fine race in the A.P. Smithwick - Mixed Up gets up and nips Preemptive Strike by about a 1/2 a length before the wire!

Aug. 23, 2007, 01:03 AM
This is something you don't see very often, shipping to the US to race over Timber.
From the RP.

Newbury trainer takes team timber racing

by Rodney Masters

NEWBURY trainer Gary Brown is preparing a team of five horses to take timber racing for ten weeks in the US, and they include the 101-rated chaser Your A Gassman, a winner of five races for Ferdy Murphy.

“The prize-money is very good, and the big advantage is that they can compete as maidens in timber races,” said ex-jump jockey Brown, who will travel the horses to Virginia next month.

He added: “I feel rather like Christopher Columbus because I doubt trainers in Britain have previously taken quite this approach to autumn timber racing in the US, but it is worth an experiment.

“My owners Lucy Horner and Emma Whetton are both keen to give it a go, and hopefully we'll have some winners out there.”

Other members of the team will include Profowens, who won two chases for Trevor Hemmings when trained by Peter Beaumont, most recently at Wetherby in April. He has an official rating of 106.

James Davies and Seamus Durack are schooling the team over timber-style fences at home, and Davies will travel out on a couple of weekends to race-ride.

Aug. 23, 2007, 01:56 AM
Well, thank you Saratoga...for the races over jumps... although the distances are still relatively short by European standards (not so much for hurdles per se), I'm impressed. This is one way that "failed" flat horses can make their living - over the sticks. Maybe some day America more generally could embrace the idea that flat racehorses have some great second careers - in racing!

Anyone out here read Jenny Pitman's autobiography? It's a great tale of great 9 and 10 year old steeplechasers...

Hunter's Rest
Aug. 23, 2007, 07:00 AM
Re: British trainers 'doing' timber horses -- It actually has been done, and rather recently, and repeatedly. Dai Williams, a Lambourn trainer, brought over 2 at a time 3 times in the past decade. One of them won a race at the International Go;d Cup about 6 years back; one won at Morven Park 2 years ago. All were sold once they were here. Not many of them went on to do much, though Bavario went on to be a point to point standout and a durable veteran who's competitive on all levels.
And dont' forget about the short-lived Marlborough Cup timber stakes they ran in England in 1997 and 98 (maybe one other year; can't recall.) It was styled after -- and tied to, with a $100,000 bonus, the Virginia Gold Cup. Virginia-bred and -owned Saluter (trained in Maryland by Jack Fisher) won the VGC and Marl. Cup in 1997. I was there. Timber racing did not catch in England, but it gave a few trainers, Dai Williams for instance, a taste of it so they can pick among their jumping stock and select those horses more adept and likely saleable for timber.
Very very cool that this guy's bringing 5, and staying 10 weeks. Did it say which meets he's aiming for? All those horses will be maidens over timber; there aren't so many maiden races. He may find them slightly overfaced.

Aug. 23, 2007, 08:08 PM
Just a little steeplechasing info: Chip Miller won his 200th race today at Saratoga!

Planet's Aligned, trained by Tom Voss, owned by Fox Ridge Farm.

Saved ground off the pace, classic Chip ride.

Aug. 30, 2007, 10:02 AM
The 8th race [off at 4:47 pm EST] at Saratoga today (8-30) is the final 'chase of the meet and is the "big one" the Grade 1 $150,000 NewYork Turf Writers Cup.

Heavy favorite - Mixed Up - if he should win will step closer to securing the Eclipse award at the end of the year. He took the Grade 2 A.P. Smithwick Memorial three weeks ago however that was then and today's race will be tough largely due to weight.

The Jonathan Sheppard trained and Danielle Hodsdon ridden 8-yr old must carry the high weight of 162 pounds (4lbs more then he dd in the Smithwick) and compared to the rest of the field that ranges from between 10 to 29 more than his rivals!

As cited in the August 30th edition of the Saratoga Special (Steeplechase Times) there was mention of another dual Spa stakes champion who is now a showjumper:

With a win in today’s New York Turf Writers Cup, Mixed Up will become the first horse to sweep Saratoga’s two steeplechase stakes since Campanile turned two in 1999.

Owned by Greg Hawkins, Campanile began his career in Mike Freeman’s barn, winning once on the flat. Switched to Janet Elliot’s stable, the son of Lear Fan broke his maiden over hurdles in the fall of his 4-year-old year. The next season, he swept the Midsummer at Monmouth, the Smithwick and the Turf Writers. Retired after finishing fifth in the Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan, Campanile earned over $400,000 in his career, good enough to finish in the top 30 of career steeplechase earners.

Campanile retired to the good life on Iris and Mike Freeman’s Chime Bell Farm in Aiken, S.C., where he lived day and night with Freeman’s turf star Hodges Bay. Now 13, Campanile has begun a new career in the show ring with Aggie O’Brien. So far, he’s taken to it just like he took to steeplechasing. “He was reserve champion at his first show, it was just a small unrecognized show, he trotted all the jumps,” O’Brien said.

“Then we went to an A show where the jumps were considerably higher and wider, still some trotting but a fifth out of over 30 horses.” Tall and long like a hook and ladder, Campanile has been ridden by O’Brien, Joy Slater (the first woman to win the Maryland Hunt Cup) and Elizabeth Solter who rode Hall of Fame show hunter Rox Dene.

“Now, he’s jumping level three, three foot six inch jumps with big spreads,” O’Brien said. “He loves it.”

Aug. 30, 2007, 08:14 PM
In a bit of an upset, Footlights, a 7yo mare beat up a nice group in the Turf Writers. Footlights won her most recent race for trainer Roger Horgan (a former jump jock) and rider Xavier Aizpuru.

Sep. 2, 2007, 07:55 AM
Another one for the Girlls! Is this the Year of the Mare?!!

Does anyone know how Class Vantage is?


Sep. 9, 2007, 11:08 AM
For those that have never seen the Velka Pardubicka (http://youtube.com/watch?v=az81uQBbjyw), a famous old race in the Czech Rep, this is last years edition. 4¼ miles, with lots of interesting X-country elements in it. Fence no 4, the one after the water, is the famous Taxis ditch.

Hunter's Rest
Sep. 9, 2007, 08:30 PM
Class Vantage was put down. See this week's Fauquier Times-Democrat -- I'm doing an obituary -- he was Virginia-bred steeplechase champ last year.

Sep. 10, 2007, 12:19 PM
Those wild Kiwi riders :D as spied by the equidaily folks

Photo: (Getty Images) James Gillies riding Hart in the Great Northern Steeplechase (http://sports.yahoo.com/rah/photo?slug=getty-76517124pw012_great_norther&prov=getty)


Sep. 10, 2007, 02:28 PM
Those wild Kiwi riders :D as spied by the equidaily folks

Photo: (Getty Images) James Gillies riding Hart in the Great Northern Steeplechase (http://sports.yahoo.com/rah/photo?slug=getty-76517124pw012_great_norther&prov=getty)


Here's the replay (http://www.nzracing.co.nz/Images/Video/200709/20070908ELLS07_BB.asx) of the Great Northern, a grand old race, check out the huge hill they climb on the back side, what an energy sapper.

If the link doesn't work, then copy and paste this URL in the Windows Media Player.... http://www.nzracing.co.nz/Images/Video/200709/20070908ELLS07_BB.asx

Sep. 10, 2007, 02:34 PM
As an aside, 2 of the runners in the Great Northern were sired by the late Heroicity.

Sep. 22, 2007, 06:05 PM
Goodnight Shirt makes it happen in the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Hurdle run at Belmont Park! A odd race with added surprises plus when did you last see 'chasing at Belmont?

BloodHorse 9-22-07 "Good Night Shirt Wins Inaugural Lonesome Glory Hurdle" (http://news.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=40932)

(Video replay in the above link)

Despite only having 3 starts in 2007 Goodnight Shirt now has two Grade 1 victories. Will that be enough to take the Eclipse Award?

Oct. 18, 2007, 12:43 PM
With the flat track Breeders' Cup event at Monmouth Park it means this year both the Steeplechase and track BC will be held in New Jersey ;)

The 87th Running of the Far Hills Race Meet will be held Saturday October 20th at Moorland Farms, Far Hills.

What started as a benefit for the Essex Fox Hounds has grown in leaps and bounds. In the 1950s, the Far Hills Race Meeting drew about 2,000 to 3,000 people. This year, more than 50,000 spectators are expected to attend.

The race which benefits the Somerset Medical Center Foundation has nearly $17 million for the facility over the years. It's not hard to see why - tix aren't exactly cheap ;)

General admission tickets are $50 in advance, $100 at the gate. Parking is $30 per vehicle.


Race card and entries found here - DRF (http://drf.com/entries/20/eFH20.html?rn=657101) - the 4th race, the Grade 1 Grand National Hurdle Stakes :

2 5/8 Miles (Hurdle) | 4 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $300,000

PP Horse (Jockey) Weight
1 Three Carat (Hodsdon D) 156
2 McDynamo (Petty J) 156
3 Best Attack (Miller F B Jr) 156
4 Good Night Shirt (Dowling W) 156
5 Chivite (IRE) (Young P J) 156
6 Underbidder (Slater J) 156
7 Orison (McCarron M O) 156
8 Sweet Shani (NZ) (Aizpuru X) 150
9 Luongo (Gillam Diana) 156

McDynamo pretty much has owned this race with 4 straight priors (http://thoroughbredtimes.com/racing-news/2007/October/17/McDynamo-aims-for-fifth-straight-win-in-Breeders-Cup-Steeplechase.aspx) but will Good Night Shirt deny him of his 5th?

Did anyone go to the Genesee Valley Hunt races of last weekend? Good turnout?

Oct. 20, 2007, 06:26 PM
TVG showed the race: McDynamo gets his 5th consecutive victory impressively!!

Hunter's Rest
Oct. 20, 2007, 07:55 PM
It was actually McDynamo's SEVENTH consecutive victory at Far Hills (he broke his maiden there and then won an allowance over the course before streaking 5, now, consecutive BC wins.)
And, at the International Gold Cup races in The Plains, Virginia, it was Seeyouattheevent, Robbie Walsh up, winning the $50,000 IGC timber stakes handily. Robbie told me he was 'to the boards' trying to stay with a fast fast fast pace set by Jack Fisher-trained Allimac early, but that one backed up to the field at the water jump (the 15th) and though Fields of Omagh (2005 IGC winner) moved first, Walsh got the inner on the final, 90 degree bend. Fellow Irishman Jeff Murphy came to him at the last aboard Woodmont, jumping upsides, but Seeyouattheevent outkicked him to the wire winning as he pleased in a hand-ride.
Bon Fleur, Murphy, won the Steeplethon wire to wire.
Walsh rode Orpington to win the NW2. Chris Read won the SoK maiden for Kinross; English visitor Lucy Horner rode Capital Peak for Kinross to win the invitational amateur turf.
A fantastic day of racing in Virginia, made all the better by reports trickling thru from Far Hills.
Other winners at Far Hills were Irish Prince in the timber stake, and Imagina in the filly stake (both, like McD, for Petty-Hendriks), Gliding in the $100k hurdle stake, Party Airs the $50k stake and CR's Deputy the 3yo hurdle.

Alibhai's Alibar
Oct. 20, 2007, 08:01 PM

What an awesome horse. I just about cried with joy when he took the lead and ran off with the race. I took lots of pictures and I'll post a link when I get them online.

Are today's full Far Hill results available online? I wrote down as many as I could but I missed a few races.

Oct. 20, 2007, 08:32 PM
Has all the winners.

Alibhai's Alibar
Oct. 20, 2007, 11:30 PM
Has all the winners.

Thank you!

Here are a few shots from today:


Oct. 24, 2007, 03:30 AM
Forget that stuff going on at Monmouth this weekend, Breeder's Cup Schmeeders Cup. The real racing season starts on Sunday.

The top National Hunt horses come out of their summer hibernation and line up in the first big Chase of the season, the Old Roan Chase (G2) at Aintree.
Look at this for a lineup.... last year's undisputed champ, Kauto Star, plus Monet's Garden, My Way de Slozen, Exotic Dancer, Monkerhostin and a host of others.
Will be a tough test for the still young Kauto Star (7yo), as he will carry the top weight in this handicap, of 164lbs, giving away as much as 20lbs to the likes of My Way de Solzen and Monkerhostin and 14lbs to Monet's Garden who's a specialist over the shorter 2m to 2½m chases. Kauto Star did comfortably win this race last year, carrying a similar weight, but it was a very anemic field of five runners who had no business running in a graded race.

While winning the Gold Cup last March crowned him as the next big thing, I think a win in a handicap like this, conceding serious weight to good horses, will truly put him on the road to being considered up there with the mighty Arkle.

Oct. 28, 2007, 02:15 PM
First kink in the armour for Kauto Star, the 14lbs he was giving to Monet's Garden proved just that bit too much, though he put up a gallant fight to finish a length and a half behind the winner, who is a specialist over the shorter distances.
From the Racing Post...

Monet's Garden wins the first battle but Kauto not disgraced

by Martin Kelly

MONET'S GARDEN floored Kauto Star to landthe Bonusprint.com Old Roan Chase at Aintree.

The Nicky Richards-trained grey took full advantage of the 14lb he received from last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup hero to win by one and a half lengths.
Monet's Garden (9-4) had been left in the clear when Ashley Brook fell at the fourth-last fence.

Exotic Dancer, the only other runner, was a long way back in third.

Ashley Brook set a sensible pace with Tony Dobbin close up in second, with a gap to Kauto Star and Exotic Dancer.

There was no change in the order but the race turned dramatically when Ashley Brook came down at the cross fence.

Monet's Garden was left 10 lengths in front of Kauto Star, whose rider Ruby Walsh was hard at work.

However, last season's top chaser responded and cutthe gap to just two lengths at the final fence.

But the concession of 14lb to the course specialist proved too much and Kauto Star could not repeat last year's success in this race.

The first two pulled 20 lengths clear of Exotic Dancer.

Nicholls was happy with Kauto Star's seasonal debut and told BBC Sport: "It just as we thought - Monet's Garden was always going to be hard to beat at the weights.

"He's a true stayer and wants three miles.

"They went a fair old gallop early on and we were never going to try and get to involved in that.

"Monet's Garden's a specialist two-and-a-half-mile horse.

"It was a great place to start off and we've now got a month to get him ready for Haydock (for the Betfair Chase), which is three miles."

Oct. 29, 2007, 09:33 PM
Worth taking a peek:

youtube.com: "Red Rum's Song 1979" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSA3GXEopVU)

As shared by the producer of the 1979 tribute and ode to the great Rummy.

You'll never see this again when it comes to an (inter)national hero:

Red Rum's trainer Ginger McCain, a very nice guy, arranged the day especially for us and brought "Rummy" to Aintree for the occasion.

Oct. 29, 2007, 10:00 PM
Check this out, footage of Red Rum's three Grand National wins, '73, '74 and '77 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g6mDsxlpf8).

Oct. 29, 2007, 10:08 PM
Oh wow, now this is the real deal, the 1973 Grand National, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG823NeJefI) one of the greatest races of all times. The amazing Crisp led the field for most of the race, at one point almost a full fence ahead of the rest, putting on an absolute exhibition of jumping. He ran out of gas in the run-in and Red Rum, who was getting over 20lbs from Crisp, came from way back to grind him down and catch him at the wire.
Red Rum was seen as a huge villian that day, even people that had backed him to win were cheering for Crisp to hang on after the amazing display he put on. It was almost criminal that he should lose that day.
Absolute heartbreaker.

Watch Crisp jump, have you ever seen a more noble jumper in your life?

Nov. 5, 2007, 09:37 AM
Perhaps making even the Aintree-based Grand National look slightly easy ....

The Czech Republic's Velka Pardubicka (video - 2007) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8ObCD9UvfI) which albout 7km distance, 31 obstacles and run since 1874, with a few years having been cancelled. Not taking a thing away from the GN winners, but it takes as tough as nails horse and rider to finish that!

Nov. 5, 2007, 01:46 PM
The last two winners have Northern Dancer tail male. One is by a Lyphard son and the other is by a Viceregal son.

Nov. 18, 2007, 10:55 PM
While the Far Hills race has been expectedly McDynamos to take year after year, I doubt he'll take the Eclipse this year unless it is for sentimental reasons.

Good Night Shirt romped the field in the $150,000 Grade 1 Marion du Pont Scott Colonial Cup (video) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Yk5TBsUP1U) today. While he lost in Jersey to McD by a few placings, the youngster at 6 yrs old, has twice soundly defeated the 10-yr old this year.

Nov. 18, 2007, 11:47 PM
Kudos to whoever produced the Colonial coverage, nicely done.
Hell of a nice looking horse that Good Night Shirt, very striking. I'd never have pegged him to be a champion jumper on his breeding though, but he sure jumps with a lot of zest, stands off his fences nicely. Man was he rank in the early going, Dowling didn't have much choice but to let him go on.

Was it the screen, or is it really that brown in South Carolina? Looked like they were galloping on a desert.

Nov. 19, 2007, 07:14 AM
I don't think his pedigree is that bad. Concern has produced some American jumpers, along with his dam's sire, Two Punch. Those are both up close, and I'm fairly certain that you'll see atleast Two Punch in a few notables.

McD was definitely fairly beaten. After seeing how harshly GNS was lugging on Willy, I figured he'd be tired towards the ends, but it was McD that fizzled. Impressive run by GNS!

Nov. 19, 2007, 09:32 AM
Kudos to whoever produced the Colonial coverage, nicely done. [snip] Was it the screen, or is it really that brown in South Carolina? Looked like they were galloping on a desert.

The video was produced live for South Carolina's PBS station - ETV. Nice to see that something like that is made accessable across the region.

As for the brown indeed the drought of the Southeast US is quite bad. (Although I can't say that SC ever is that green in the winter months.) Still the water rationing is luckily not a factor in SC - like it is for Atlanta, for example - but lush and green isn't a motto of Camden ;)

Nov. 19, 2007, 09:40 AM
His connections suggested Saturday a good showing in Sunday's Colonial Cup could open the door to a return to racing in the fall races of 2008. That door of opportunity was closed with yesterday's performance although who knows what could transpire. A winter and spring's worth of foxhunting and maybe one more Far Hills race?

Steeplechase Times 11-18-07 "McDynamo retired after finishing sixth" (http://www.st-publishing.com/st-times/viewstory1.php?id=446)

McDynamo retires sound with a record $1.3 million in career earnings from 15 wins in 25 lifetime starts over jumps for owner Michael Moran and trainer Sanna Hendriks. The 10-year-old won five consecutive Breeders' Cup Grand National steeplechase races.

“I’m happy to retire him, and proud to own him,” said Moran of the 10-year-old Thoroughbred. “There were so many years where we felt that degree of confidence because he’s so good but now as he’s gotten older it’s not that your not confident in the horse, but you’re not confident in the decision you’re making. It would be greedy to ask him to do more. He’s been so good to everybody that I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.”

Hunter's Rest
Nov. 19, 2007, 11:03 AM
Seen and most notable in the hunt field Saturday - Big joint meet between Piedmont Foxhounds and Orange County Hunt. Met at Kinross Farm which literally is the "segregation lane" between those 2 adjacent clubs. Farm trainer Neil Morris was mounted on multi grade I winner Sur La Tete -- who has overcome his lunacy at the races to be quite a lovely field hunter. Farm jockey Chris Read was mounted on Virginia Gold Cup winner Miles Ahead.
Double Wow. Great photo will be in this week's Fauquier Times-Democrat. Page B5. I'll make sure to post it on the online paper, too. www.fauquier.com

She's Incogneto
Nov. 20, 2007, 05:27 PM
I just found this thread. I actually just returned to Canada from working on a Tb breeding farm in Ireland. We bred for the flat, but some of our stallions have sired some amazing jumps horses. I went to quite a few jumps races over there at Fairyhouse and Punchestown. Here are some pictures from the Powers Whiskey Easter Race Festival at Fairyhouse: http://s86.photobucket.com/albums/k90/mmacke03/Ireland/

Nov. 25, 2007, 02:40 AM
First kink in the armour for Kauto Star, the 14lbs he was giving to Monet's Garden proved just that bit too much, though he put up a gallant fight to finish a length and a half behind the winner, who is a specialist over the shorter distances.
From the Racing Post...

Kauto Star is back to winning ways, taking the BetFair Chase at Haydock on Sat, though Exotic Dancer made him work for it at level weights (161lbs). The replay, (http://youtube.com/watch?v=X2opTM8VfG4) ... look at the way he jumps the last open ditch, the 3rd fence from home, what an amazing leap.
Sam Thomas deputised in the irons for the injured Ruby Walsh.

Betfair Chase (Lancashire Chase),
G1, Haydock
3m, £200k (~$400k)
1. Kauto Star
2. Exotic Dancer
3. Beef or Salmon

Dec. 1, 2007, 05:46 PM
Looks like 2008 will be a good year for further expansion of the NSA

TB Times 11-30-07 "Steeplechase purses rise to record levels in 2007" (http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2007/November/30/Steeplechase-purses-rise-to-record-levels-in-2007.aspx)


Total purses for steeplechase racing in 2007 reached a record $5,357,645, up 10.5% from last season, according to the National Steeplechase Association.

The average race purse of $26,655 was also a record, up $4,112 per race from 2006, according to the organization’s year-end statistics.

Despite a decline in the number of National Steeplechase Association owners, trainers, jockeys, and horses in 2007, Gallo said there is framework for a plan that would boost purses and attract new participants to the sport.

“Palm Beach in Florida is looking to have a meet [March 16] and that would change the dynamic of the early part of 2008.”Kentucky Downs [in Franklin, Kentucky] has expressed interest for next fall, and, although nothing is set, we are hoping to have a few races there on opening day in September. Penn National [Race Course] has shown interest and we would like to have a few more races over the summer at Philadelphia Park, in addition to what we currently have there."

Dec. 2, 2007, 02:02 PM
Kauto Star is back to winning ways, taking the BetFair Chase at Haydock on Sat, though Exotic Dancer made him work for it at level weights (161lbs).

Well, he's got a serious challenger, Kauto beware!

Denman just slaughtered the field in the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury yesterday, carrying 11-12 (166lbs) and giving away 10lbs to the next highest weight, and 15-25lbs to the rest of the field. Absolutely dominating performance, the replay (http://youtube.com/watch?v=qfX8bDuN_HU).

Such was his performance that several of the top bookies have made Denman joint-fav with Kauto Star for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Both horses are trained by Paul Nicholls, who announced post race that both horses will kept apart until the big day in Cheltenham in March. Kauto Star's next assignment is the King George at Kempton the day after Christmas while his stablemate will cross the Irish sea to run in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown the following day.

Man, it must be some thrill to have two horses of that quality in your yard.

Dec. 21, 2007, 04:31 PM
Warrenton, VA based photographer Douglas Lees takes his 2nd Eclipse Award for Photography (http://news.bloodhorse.com/viewstory.asp?id=42855)

Lees is a really nice guy, with great eye for those very engaging shots, who I've done business with when I was going to do a magazine a few years ago. Kudos to him!

The 2007 Elcipse Award shot is a rather nasty looking spill.

The photo, taken Oct. 20, is of jockey Will Haynes and his mount, Navesink View, tumbling over a fence at the International Gold Cup at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va. It appeared in the sports section of the Fauquier Times Democrat on Oct. 24.

Dec. 21, 2007, 05:50 PM
Nothing against Douglas Lees or his work...but I don't care for that photo. Congrats to him all the same on the Eclipse, though. That's quite an honor.

I prefer these steeplechase-themed photos (which I found in the ST publishing photo gallery, all by Tod Marks):

Footlights (http://www.st-publishing.com/gallery/photos/112207-12.jpg)

Adam Helders manages to hold on in Springdale (http://www.st-publishing.com/gallery/photos/120207-1.jpg)

Making sure McDynamo is McDynamo (http://www.st-publishing.com/gallery/photos/112007-2.jpg)

Dec. 21, 2007, 06:01 PM
I have not read this entire thread so maybe this horse has been mentioned - maybe not. I have a canadian filly whose grandsire is Run Softly. I have heard he sires chasers. Anyone heard of him. He stood in Virginia at one time.

Dec. 21, 2007, 06:40 PM
...but I don't care for that photo. Congrats to him all the same on the Eclipse, though. That's quite an honor.

I have to concur that while its shocking and an amazing 'caught' image I think the Eclipse should be a bit more positive if that makes sense. The one last year I believe was the leaping horse in a fully tucked position - front and rear - in a perfect levitated state about 4' off the ground after being spooked. It was a true "wow, oh wow" type shot.

I've seen some really neat pics this year from one snagged with Rags to Riches edging out Curlin at Belmont to relatively unknows just looking great.

A couple years ago there was a steeplechase shot from a Virginia race where the horse did a full flip while not racing - the image caught the horse in mid-twist with the saddle still on. It was a killer shot but outside of the Fauquier Times Democrat giving it recognition it didn't get national notice.

Dec. 26, 2007, 01:19 AM
It's that time of year, the day after Christmas, or St Stephen's day/Boxing day, when the King George VI Chase, big mid-winter chase is held at Kempton.
Chasing's crowned prince, Kauto Star will be taken on by 6 rivals in his attempt to repeat last year's dominant victory, when he firmly announced his arrival as jump racing's next big thing. This is also the 2nd leg of the Betfair £1m ($2m) bonus, which of course he won last year. Kind of amazing to think this horse is only a 7yo and has over $4m in earnings, he still has a good 3 or 4 years of racing in him so he could be off the charts if continues his winning ways.
The field is small, but full of quality, and includes Exotic Dancer who got to within a half a length of him last time out at Haydock.

King George VI Chase
3m, chasing fences
G1, 4yo+
£220 (~$440k)
All horses carry 11-10 (164lbs)
1. Exotic Dancer
2. Hi Cloy
3. Kauto Star
4. My Way de Solzen
5. Our Vic
6. Racing Demon
7. Taranis

Dec. 26, 2007, 01:38 AM
The King George gets the headlines, but it's only one of several big races that happen in the holiday period between Chrirtmas and New Years.

KS's biggest challenger to his chasing crown, his stablemate Denman, is taking a short boat ride and will be in action on Friday in the Lexus Chase (G1, 3m, $400k)at Leopardstown.
Meanwhile on Thursday the Welsh Grand National (G3, 3m6f, $200k) will take place at Chepstow, a Handicap Chase over a 3¾ mile mid winter slog in the mud.

There's also a couple of big hurdle races on, the Christmas Hurdle (G1, 2m, $220k) at Kempton will include the likes of Harchibald and Straw Bear, while the Irish version of the Christmas Hurdle is run at Leopardstown on Fri.

Dec. 26, 2007, 10:17 AM
*spoiler* ___ wins King George Chase (http://breakingnews.iol.ie/sport/story.asp?j=241450588&p=z4y45yz94&t=sport)

I'll await someone to post youtube.com :)

Dec. 26, 2007, 12:22 PM
You guys have to see this replay. Just WOW... a class apart. Jumping for fun is about right

Dec. 26, 2007, 01:21 PM
You guys have to see this replay. Just WOW... a class apart. Jumping for fun is about right

Still not posted on youtube.com - is there another outlet for the replay?

Dec. 26, 2007, 07:21 PM
The picture that won the Eclipse award is of my 17 year old nephew! We watched the youtube of it over and over at Thanksgiving. It is quite a fall. Both he and the horse were fine. He rode in the next race.

Dec. 27, 2007, 02:19 PM
The replay. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6s6rGysHys)

Excellent race. I know Taranis had a career-ending injury but does anyone know if My Way de Solzen is ok?

Dec. 27, 2007, 05:05 PM
Thanks for the link, JER. My Way was walking around fairly normal afterwards. I don't think it's yet clear why he was pulled up - looked like he never started the race.

But Kauto Star couldn't have been having more fun, what a treat to see!

Dec. 27, 2007, 07:11 PM
Some info on My Way de Solzen and Tiranis from the Racing Post.
MWdS does seem to have gone off the boil somewhat, he looked to be up and coming star last year. Good news on Tiranis, looks like he'll make it, though he'll probably never race again. I'd rather hear career threatening than life threatening, which is what they were saying after the race yesterday.

ALAN KING remained mystified on Thursday as to why My Way De Solzen ran so poorly in the King George VI Chase.

The 2006 World Hurdle winner, who returned to Cheltenham to win the Arkle Trophy this year, was a 13-2 chance to return to winning ways at Kempton after finishing out of the frame for the first time in 13 starts in the Betfair Lancashire Chase.

However, he was to post back-to-back lacklustre efforts and was pulled up before the 13th, having made a mistake three flights earlier.

King initially described himself as “shellshocked” by My Way De Solzen's disappointing run and on Thursday he said he was no more the wiser as to his poor display.

King, who nominated a left-handed 2m4f race as the ideal next target for My Way De Solzen, said on Thursday: "He seems fine this morning, and nothing obvious has come to light. We have taken blood tests today and we should get the results in a day or two.”

Taranis was on Thursday reported to be “comfortable” after sustaining what are believed to be career-threatening injuries in the King George.

Trainer Paul Nicholls said on Thursday: “Taranis is obviously a bit sore today, but he got back last night, he is in his box and he is very comfortable. As to the extent of the injury, we won't know until we do a bit more investigation next week.”

Dec. 27, 2007, 07:25 PM
JER thanks for posting the link! A wonderful ride for Ruby Walsh and as was hinted last year, KS has become an excellent runner.

I must admit that Ruby (from Kill, County Kildare) is one heck of a hard person to understand when he talks. Like the interviewer I was straining to understand the lad. None of that matters when he rides as that is understandable in any language!

Dec. 27, 2007, 07:34 PM
In other news, a fantastic finish in the Welsh National at Chepstow, with Miko de Beauchene holding off last year's winner, Halcon Genelardais by a HEAD, after almost 4 miles. A fantastic performance by the runner up considering he was giving away 21lbs to the winner in this handicap race.

Btw, the number of top French bred horses these days in the Chasing ranks is truly amazing, they really are starting to take over from Irish-breds as the premier chasers. Too much emphasis on speed in Irish National Hunt breeding these days methinks, which is reflected in the Irish domination of the Hurdling ranks. Double edged sword I suppose.

Dec. 27, 2007, 07:36 PM
JER thanks for posting the link! A wonderful ride for Ruby Walsh and as was hinted last year, KS has become an excellent runner.

I must admit that Ruby (from Kill, County Kildare) is one heck of a hard person to understand when he talks. Like the interviewer I was straining to understand the lad. None of that matters when he rides as that is understandable in any language!

Now you know how people on the right side of the pond felt during Calvin Borel's post KD interview!! :lol::lol:

Dec. 27, 2007, 08:49 PM
Replay of the Welsh National (http://play.www.atr.servecast.net/ppv/atr/frameset.asp?va=CHP_2007_12_27_04_1405) at Chepstow.

Dec. 28, 2007, 01:07 PM
And then it was Denman's turn.
Kauto Star's stablemate, Denman (btw these horses are stabled right next to each other in Paul Nicholl's yard), dismissed his rivals handily in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown.
This is setting up for a juicy Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March.

From the Racing Post...

Denman destroys Lexus rivals

DENMAN led all the way to win the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in the style of a top-class performer.

Ruby Walsh set only a steady pace on the 4-9 favourite, closely tracked by last year's winner The Listener, but quickened the tempo with half a mile to run.

Denman soon asserted and was not pressed in accounting for Mossbank by four lengths, with The Listener third.

Walsh was content to make the runningon the Paul Nicholls-trained Hennessy winner, while Daryl Jacob employed slightly different tactics this time on The Listener.

Mossbank, who travelled well throughout, loomed up large on the final bend to lay down a challenge but Davy Russell's mounthad no answer to Denman's striking turn of foot going to the last.

The Listener ran like he would be better suited to stepping back down in trip, while L'Antartique and State Of Play were never competitive.

Three-time race winner Beef Or Salmon stayed on after the last and was far from disgraced.

Denman was left unchanged at 2-1 with VC Bet for the Cheltenham Gold Cup while Mossbank was cut to 33-1 from 50s. The Listener was pushed out to 50-1 from 33s.

Stan James opted to cut the winner to 7-4 from 2-1.

Nicholls said: "That is what I expected really.

"Ruby said this is a hard track to go out and make all, but it was fairly obvious after the first that they weren't going much pace so he let him bowl along.

"I was slightly worried by the lack of pace but I don't know the track as well as Ruby, so I left it entirely to him and he was always going to gallop all the way to the line.

"When he won at Newbury the last day he knew he'd had a race, but he's hardly blowing today so he was that much straighter and it was perfect.

"The Aon (at Newbury on February 9) would be a possibility next and he will have an entry back here in the Hennessy (February 10), but nothing is set in stone. I have options and will sort them out later.

"Hopefully he will end up at the Gold Cup and, like Kauto Star, will have one more run before."

Here's the replay of the Lexus Chase (http://play.www.atr.servecast.net/ppv/atr/frameset.asp?va=LEO_2007_12_28_05_1435).

Jan. 28, 2008, 12:44 PM
A devestating performance from Sizing Europe, in the AIG Champion hurdle at Leopardstown (G1, 2m, ~$220k) yesterday has propelled the Harry de Bromhead trained horse into favourite for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, with some bokkies qouting him at as short as 5/2, with last year's winner Sublimity drifting out to 5/1.
Here's the replay (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYZtFmBaHEI), as you can see he handily disposed of former Champion Hurdle winner, Hardy Eustace, and perennial top hurdler, Al Eile. Seems to have almost too much respect for the hurdles, jumping them like a chaser, but it didn't slow him down any. Very impressive indeed.

Jan. 28, 2008, 08:13 PM
A devestating performance from Sizing Europe, in the AIG Champion hurdle at Leopardstown (G1, 2m, ~$220k) yesterday has propelled the Harry de Bromhead trained horse into favourite for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham,

Incredible run.

Sizing Europe looks like he'd make a mighty fine eventer. It's nice to see some young Irish-breds (like SE and Denman) making their way amid the French invasion.