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Bruton Street-US's Snap Decision challenged Chief Justice at the last fence of the David Semmes Memorial and won impressively. (Tod Marks photo)

When the 2019 National Steeplechase Association racing season concluded, Bruton Street-US reigned as the leading owner for the second time in three years, Jack Fisher was champion trainer for the eighth straight season, and Michael Mitchell graciously skipped the year’s final meet to end in a tie for the jockey championship with Jack Doyle.
As the pandemic-shortened spring 2020 season wrapped up on Saturday at the Virginia Gold Cup, Bruton Street-US leads the owner ranks, while Fisher and Mitchell had four wins apiece at Great Meadow to grab the top spots on their leader boards. Both also lead by earnings.
Coast-to-coast lockdowns to limit the spread of the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease that it causes went into effect shortly before the 2020 NSA season opened and forced the cancellation of all but two meets, Middleburg Spring and the Virginia Gold Cup, which were postponed to June from their respective dates in April and May.
Those Virginia meets were offered without spectators and under strict health and safety guidelines. In all, 21 races were offered to provide purse money for steeplechase horsemen after a most difficult spring.
Bruton Street had two wins, and they occurred in the two principal hurdle races, Middleburg’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 1) with Moscato on June 13 and Snap Decision in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial on Saturday.

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Virginia Gold Cup Recap: Doc Cebu, Snap Decision star in finale of abbreviated spring season

The NSA Spring season may have consisted of only two meets, but they offered a springboard of hope for the upcoming summer at Saratoga and Colonial Downs, as well as optimism for the fall. Saturday's 10-race card at Great Meadow in The Plains showcased the best the sport has to offer: the re-emergence of former champion Doc Cebu as a timber star; the ascension of Snap Decision, last year's novice champ, to a formidable foe in open company, and the emergence of promising maiden competitors in Emerald Rocket, Lonely Weekend, and Fast Car, the latter owned by prominent flat horse campaigner Robert LaPenta. The human winners on the card were trainer Jack Fisher and jockey Michael Mitchell, who each captured four races. Tod Marks has the photo recap.

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photos by Tod Marks

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