Jockey James Slater had a feeling that the $25,000 Sport Of Kings maiden hurdle at the High Hope Steeplechase, May 20 in Lexington, Ky., might be the perfect place for Prep School, and he was right.
Slater and trainer Jonathan Sheppard have always liked the 6-year-old son of Polish Numbers, but he hadn’t really moved up in his running and jumping game this year. Slater wanted a good confidence builder for the young hurdler.
Certain things come with experience, and for veteran jockey Chip Miller, patience is definitely one of them. Looking at a wall of fast moving horses, Miller just bided his time until a hole opened up, then he shot through to win the $75,000 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., May 19.
Acorn Hill Farm’s Northern Thinking is one of the most versatile horses in timber trainer Jack Fisher’s barn. A consummate professional, the horse tackles some of the most unusual fences on the steeplechasing circuit. However, in the past he has not always enjoyed much reward for his big jumping efforts.
There’s a new horse on the block, and he is putting several veterans on notice. Harold Via’s Good Night Shirt not only won the $150,000 Iroquois hurdle stakes, May 12, but he also wired it in some very tough conditions.
The second Grade I of the season had 10 starters, including the two titans, Michael Moran’s three-time Eclipse winner McDynamo (Jody Petty) and the two-time Iroquois winner, Kinross Farm’s Sur Le Tete (Chris Read).
Sometimes winning the Maryland Hunt Cup is a matter of survival of the fittest, and sometimes it seems to be just plain luck. But this year, on April 28, winning was all in the family.
Representing the fourth generation of his family in the 111th running of the race in Monkton, Md., jockey Stewart Strawbridge took on the massive course with his little horse The Bruce and won it handily.
To say amateur jockey Diana Gillam has stepped up her racing game this year would be an understatement.
No stranger to the winner’s circle, the 33-year-old Gillam has been a constant fixture on the point-to-point circuit, mostly helping out her father, trainer Jeremy Gillam. But this year she is riding for Maryland trainer Jack Fisher in the amateur timber circuit, and her win at the 105th running of the $30,000 Grand National has many heads turning.
The $150,000 Keeneland Royal Chase, April 20, could not have set up better for William Pape’s Mixed Up and jockey Danielle Hodsdon.
Eleven top stakes horses entered the race in Lexington, Ky. Last year’s winner, Kinross Farm’s Sur Le Tete, was nominated but did not enter because he would have carried the lion’s share of the weight at 164 pounds. Sur Le Tete is also suffering from an old injury and may be out for the spring season.