Two of the year’s top timber horses, Irv Naylor’s Ebanour and Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, will face off Saturday in the $25,000 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase, the signature race of the 17th annual Races at Shawan Downs.
The eight-race program of timber, hurdle, and flat races attracted strong entries and highly competitive fields. First post time at the Hunt Valley, Md., course is 1 p.m.
The Legacy Chase kicks off a busy fall timber racing lineup, and the 3 1/8-mile contest attracted a bulging field of timber veterans and a few newcomers.
Ebanour very nearly was undefeated in his two races this spring. He won the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup on May 6 and came back two weeks later to finish first by a nose in the Radnor Hunt Cup. But he was found to have impeded Mystic Strike and was placed second.
Trained by Cyril Murphy, multiple timber stakes winner Ebanour will be ridden by Gus Dahl. He enters the Legacy Chase as the leading earner on the 2017 timber standings with $65,400.
Not far behind him at $52,500 is Cornhusker, who scored his third victory in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial on May 13. Trained by Alicia Murphy, Cornhusker also won the Middleburg Hunt Cup in his 2017 debut and tightened for the Mason Houghland with a second in the Winterthur Bowl on May 7.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher entered Gil Johnston’s Syros and Straight to It, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stables. Syros won the C. P. and Edith DeBose Cup, a timber allowance at the Carolina Cup on April 1, and finished second in the Mason Hougland. Sean McDermott will ride.
Straight to It will be making his first start since finishing third in last year’s Legacy Chase. An easy winner of the 2016 Radnor Hunt Cup, Straight to It will be ridden by Brett Owings.
Kieran Norris, the reigning champion jockey, returns to action after a fall at Radnor to ride Four Virginia Gents’ Worried Man, who finished fourth in the Mason Houghland for trainer Doug Fout.
Several intriguing newcomers to American jump racing and a horse for the course will clash Sunday in Foxfield Fall’s featured optional allowance hurdle. The 2 1/8-mile race over National Fences will highlight a six-race program with several full fields at the Charlottesville, Va., course. First post time is 1:30 p.m. Carrying the race’s 156-pound highweight
Tryon International Equestrian Center has assured National Steeplechase Association officials that it will redouble its efforts with partner Tryon Riding and Hunt Club to assure a top-quality race meet at the North Carolina property next spring at the Tryon Block House Steeplechase.
TIEC informed the NSA in early September that it was canceling its inaugural fall race meet, which had been scheduled for Sept 30.
“TIEC officials told us that they had made every effort to prepare for their first fall meet, but they recognized that the many logistical issues would prevent them from putting on a first-class event,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri.
“Rather than stage a race meet that did not meet its standards, TIEC decided to cancel and prepare for next spring’s races. Obviously, we are disappointed for our program and for our horsemen,” Torsilieri said. “But we have to respect TIEC’s decision and support its efforts to build toward another outstanding meet at their lovely new course next spring. TIEC is determined to have a top-quality fall meet, and we will provide all the support that we can toward achieving that goal.”
Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem, twice second in his U.S. debut races, will carry the 156-pound highweight in Thursday’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park.
The 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory is one of two Grade 1 hurdle races on the National Steeplechase Association’s fall championship season schedule, followed by the $400,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Oct. 21. The Lonesome Glory will be the second race on the Belmont card, with a 2:01 p.m. post time.
Trained by Elizabeth Voss, British-bred Modem went off as the favorite in Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 27 and Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 24, and in both races was overtaken by a longshot winner.
Jack Doyle has the mount on Modem, who arrived in the U.S. after a victory at Ireland’s Ballinrobe Race Course in late May.
Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile defeated Modem by two lengths in the Smithwick Memorial at 28.50-to-1 but ran fifth in the New York Turf Writers. Trainer Ricky Hendriks named Michael Mitchell to ride Swansea Mile, who carries 144 pounds in the Lonesome Glory.
Hendriks also will saddle Rosbrian’s Simenon, who was pulled up in the Smithwick. Ross Geraghty will ride Irish-bred Simenon, also at 144.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher also will saddle a pair of contenders, Sonny Via’s Hinterland and Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff. Hinterland was second in the 2015 Lonesome Glory, missed last season, and returned with a second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May.
The French-bred nine-year-old will carry the second highweight at 152 pounds and will be ridden by Sean McDermott.
Mr. Hot Stuff, winner of the 2013 Smithwick, also missed the 2016 season and returned with a third-place finish in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) in April. Pulled up in the Iroquois, the former Triple Crown competitor finished seventh in the New York Turf Writers.
The 11-year-old Tiznow gelding, assigned 148 pounds in the handicap, will be ridden by top Irish jockey Danny Mullins.
The brightest members of the National Steeplechase Association’s rising stars division will line up Thursday for Belmont Park’s $75,000 William Entenmann Novice Stakes. The 2 1/2-mile Entenmann opens the Belmont card with a 1:30 p.m. post time and will be followed by the Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), the afternoon’s second race.
The Entenmann features three winners at the recent Saratoga Race Course meet and a spring stakes winner in the novice division, which is limited to horses in their first seasons of competition over fences.
Trainer Jack Fisher will saddle two Entenmann starters, Bruton Street-US’s Moscato and Armata Stables’ New Member. A good second to novice graduate Show Court in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26, Moscato came back with a dominant performance in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Aug. 23. Sean McDermott will ride.
Fisher will put top Irish jockey Danny Mullins in the saddle of New Member, who finished third in both the Kiser and the Walsh.
Jack Doyle will be aboard Robert A. Kinsley’s No Wunder, who won a Saratoga hurdle handicap by 9 3/4 lengths on Aug. 31. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, the Rock of Gibraltar gelding also was a good second to Grade 1 winner Choral Society in an Aug. 9 handicap after an unplaced effort in the Kiser.
PathFinder Racing’s Mutasaawy comes into the Entenmann Memorial from a victory in a Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 16. Darren Nagle, currently leading the jockey standings, has the mount for trainer Neil Morris.
Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul will try to get his season back on track after he finished fourth in the Kiser and was pulled up in the Walsh. Trainer Ricky Hendriks named Ross Geraghty to ride Canadian-bred Surprising Soul, winner of the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle in May.
Diplomat and Swansea Mile, winners of Saratoga Race Course’s two Grade 1 jump races this summer, are among 11 nominees to Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Thursday, Sept. 21.
The 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory will complete the New York Racing Association’s trifecta of Grade 1 jump races and will be a prelude to the year’s richest steeplechase race, the $400,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), on Oct. 21 at Far Hills, N.J.
Both Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat and Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile collected their first Grade 1 victories at long odds. Swansea Mile, trained by Ricky Hendriks, struck first in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial on July 27.
With Michael Mitchell in the saddle, Swansea Mile fired into the lane, opened daylight at the furlong pole, and won by two lengths at 28.50-1 odds. In his wake was Diplomat, who finished third.
Diplomat’s turn came next in the New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 24. Benefitting from a canny ride by Bernie Dalton, a low weight in the handicap, and a blinkers-off call by trainer Kate Dalton, Diplomat surged to the lead before Saratoga’s furlong pole and won by three lengths.
Swansea Mile finished fifth, 6 1/2 lengths behind Diplomat. Hendriks also nominated Rosbrian’s Simenon, who was pulled up in the A. P. Smithwick.
Finishing second in Saratoga’s Grade 1 races was Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem, who was nominated for a shot at a breakthrough U.S. victory in the Lonesome Glory. Favored in both Saratoga races, the British-bred is trained by Elizabeth Voss and carries the highest National Steeplechase Association rating of any horse currently in training at 140.
Right behind him at 139 is Sonny Via’s Hinterland, who was second in last year’s Lonesome Glory and also second in this year’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). He’s trained by Jack Fisher, who also nominated Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, a 2013 Grade 1 winner who finished seventh in last month’s New York Turf Writers.
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