Since no one else will likely mention it I just have to Props to getting the heads up from Patricia
This weekend (3/15) is the Warrenton Hunt Point to Point at the Airlie Race Course (Virginia) and it marks the return - and the maiden timber start - of a great old horse that I've been a fan of for years: Rochester
Last seen running for his 5th time at Keeneland in the Fifth Third Elkhorn Stakes (G3-t) in 2006 at the age of 10 the George Strawbridge Jr. runner had a legion of fans. Multiple graded stakes winner he has since retiring from racing for a second career as a point to point runner for Augustin Stables. Some of those looks back:
"I can't explain it. He's a bit of a freak I guess," trainer Jonathan Sheppard said. "Some horses are like people. He's made his own rules, really. He's been running well in big races but he hadn't actually won one in quite a while, so I'm very happy for his reputation to be able to have a good win like this, particularly at a big track like Keeneland."
"I wish they were all that fun to ride," Gary Stevens said. "He's nine years old and has just about as much experience here as I do. He was happy with his position today and picked it up on his own. He made my job easy."
Now 12-yrs old but wise as they get he hopefully will do well. If anyone goes to the race be sure to wish him well.
Another runner is likely a big favorite: Straight Gin the former Marylou Whitney/Nick Zito Preakness runner. Lightly used in point to point racing (his 4th career after flat racing, dressage, and show jumping) he appears in Race 7 (The Springs Valley) in PP #7 an Open Timber race. Distance of About 3 miles over Timber - going off at abount 3:30 PM EST.
Last edited by Glimmerglass; Apr. 2, 2008 at 12:12 PM.
Reason: Wrong year cited for the BH article; updated following switch with maiden run
From what I hear, Straight Gin is most likely not running at Warrenton and running instead at the Foxhall Chase. You want some names...look there. Buck Jakes, Swayo, Welter Weight, etc...all the old AND new timber horses will be there.
I'm hoping to wiggle my way out of a review session for law school in order to try to make it up there. It's going to be a GREAT time. I enjoyed it two years ago.
HR that would be great to see pics of the 'old man' doing a timber course!
I dropped Bill Finley at ESPN an email regarding his maiden run. This is a perfect "poster child" for what folks have been talking about with progressive careers for race horses. A little fox hunting and point to point racing after a solid graded-stakes winning career on dirt and grass. While he might not be the next McDynamo over fences he put most 'chasers initial careers on the track to shame
Unfortunately, my camera was against me. However, there were several photographers there, and one I know has a website. I'll post when he uploads them.
I can't remember which team won the fast-times, but it was a team from Elkridge. Straight Gin looked in good form, and was on a quite fast team, however, there were some FAST teams out today. The most impressive of the fast times were friends of mine. An app/draft cross, a TB, and a TB/Hanoverian who came in 7th!!! They were FLYING, and it was super comical to watch the app/draft almost overtake the group of race horses in front of him.
I'm patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) awaiting the opening of the big timber and sanctioned season.
They only posted partial results to Foxhall up on Central Entry. Further, I don't believe the posted results to be accurate, as the team listed as the winners of the optimum time division actually ran in the Fast time division. Neither was the fourth place team listed in the optimum.
Maybe I missed something, but I'm 99.99% sure they ran the fast times.
Location: The Plantation Field, Unionville, Pennsylvania
Race: The Miles Valentine Memorial Novice Timber (race 4 on card)
Distance: About 3 miles over timber
Final Time: 6:22
Winner: Rochester, b. g. 1996, by Green Dancer - Central City (GB), by Midyan.
Owner: Augustin Stables (George Strawbridge Jr.)
Trained by Sanna N. Hendriks
Jockey: Jody Petty
Who knows maybe he'll be in NSA races by the fall .....
I've been behind in citing that Rochester subsequently won his 2nd and 3rd starts. As such the old man who showed his class and grit on the turf is at present tied for 1st as the Leading Horse in America for both Races Won Over Fences and Timber Horse Races Won with 3!
[Eclipse and NSA series runner, Good Night Shirt, is classified as a Hurdle Horse]