NSA Network—the first and only video channel devoted exclusively to steeplechase racing—will make its debut this week as part of the recently launched Plaid Horse Network and will feature exclusive, high-definition coverage of the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday.
The live-streaming broadcast from the National Steeplechase Association’s season-opening meet also will be the sport’s first studio-based show, with expert commentary supporting the high-definition images from Aiken, S.C.
Created by TPH Productions, the NSA Network will offer livestreaming and on-demand video of all 2019 race meets. Each race meet has its own channel, which contains years of archived video and other information. The NSA Network can be accessed at www.theplaidhorse.com/steeplechase.
“We welcome the launch of the NSA Network by TPH Productions,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “The high-definition live broadcasts, the polished production, and the on-demand archived video will only help to expand the audience for American Steeplechasing, both in our home markets and overseas.”
The NSA Network will be available on a wide variety of devices, including mobile, desktop or laptop computers, and television on Apple TV or advanced TVs with internet browsers. The Plaid Horse Network app is now available free of charge on the Apple app store. All video will be accessible on the app.
The NSA Network is part of a new, innovative horse-sports video destination, The Plaid Horse Network, that will have the largest-ever collection of steeplechasing video and will serve a wide range of equine disciplines.
“Our goal is to make it the most-visited horse sports platform for video content of all types,” said Steve Hankin, TPH Production’s chief executive. “I have no doubt that the NSA Network will increase fan interest in American jump racing.”
The studio broadcast of the Aiken Spring races will encompass the entire six-race program. First post time is 1 p.m., and the featured fifth race will be the $30,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup, a ratings handicap.
The National Steeplechase Association and the Carolina Cup Racing Association will host “The Cup Runneth Over,” a full program of jump racing offering $90,000 in purses at the Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C., on Saturday, April 6.
“The Cup Runneth Over” takes the place on the NSA calendar of the Georgia Steeplechase, which was canceled by its organizers on March 18. “The Cup Runneth Over” will offer a second consecutive weekend of racing over the historic Springdale course, after the 87th annual Carolina Cup Races on March 30.
“We regret that, after a valiant effort last year, the Georgia Steeplechase could not sustain its position on the NSA calendar,” said NSA President Guy J. Torsilieri. “The Board of Directors and I believe it is vitally important to have a racing opportunity for our horsemen on April 6, and the board agreed to fund the event despite such short notice.
“We are most grateful to the Carolina Cup Racing Association for its willingness to open the Springdale Race Course for a second day of racing and to provide an important opportunity to our horsemen. Working together on a very short timeline, the NSA and the Carolina Cup Racing Association have taken a potentially negative development and turned it into a positive—a new, innovative community event.
“Most if not all of our horsemen have raced on Springdale’s impeccable racing surface, and it is familiar territory to them,” Torsilieri said.
John Cushman, vice chairman of the Carolina Cup Racing Association and the Carolina Cup’s executive director, welcomed the opportunity to showcase jump racing for a second Saturday afternoon in his home community.
“Truly in this case, the Cup runneth over,” he said. “One week after the Carolina Cup, we will stage an event for the entire Camden community while supporting our steeplechase horsemen,” he said.
“Camden is horse country, and it is the longtime Southern home of steeplechase racing. Our community strongly supports the Carolina Cup, and we will devise an attractive guest package to welcome our fans back to Springdale for a second afternoon of spring racing.”
Bill Gallo Jr., the NSA’s director of racing, said the racing program will closely approximate the proposed racing card at the Georgia Steeplechase so that horsemen can continue their preparations without undue adjustments to training schedules.
The afternoon’s program will be a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, a $25,000 ratings handicap for horses rated at 115 or lower, a $20,000 maiden hurdle for fillies and mares, a $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle, and a training flat race.
The 53rd annual Aiken Spring Steeplechase welcomes spring to the Carolinas and kicks off the 2019 National Steeplechase Association racing season on Saturday with a six-race program highlighted by a competitive edition of the $30,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup.
First post time is 1 p.m. at the Aiken Horse Park for the popular traditional opener for the steeplechase season.
The two-mile ratings handicap attracted a field of eight, with Irv Naylor’s Bobabout and Donna T. Rogers’ Dapper Dan sharing the 158-pound highweight by virtue of their 119 ratings by the NSA’s three-member ratings committee. The Budweiser Imperial Cup is open to horses with ratings of 120 or lower.
Irish-bred Bobabout finished second in last spring’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on a soft Radnor Hunt course. He came back in a division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and was pulled up. Trained by Cyril Murphy, the six-year-old Bobabout will be ridden by Graham Watters.
Trainer Neil Morris named Michael Mitchell to ride Dapper Dan, who was pulled up in his two starts last year, a High Hope Steeplechase ratings handicap on a soft Kentucky Horse Park course in September and a Far Hills ratings handicap on Oct. 20. The seven-year-old won a Parx Racing ratings handicap in July 2017.
Straylight Racing’s L’Aigle Royal, rated at 118, will have owner Alex Leventhal in the saddle with a five-pound apprentice allowance. Trained by Billy Santoro, the German-bred finished third in a Fair Hill allowance hurdle last May and fell in a High Hope ratings handicap.
Sharing 116 ratings and 155-pound weight assignments are Oakwood Stable’s Kensington Court and Apple Equipment’s Oskar Denarius. Julie Gomena-trained Kensington Court most recently finished third in the Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle on Nov. 4 and will be ridden by Kieran Norris.
Beginning March 18, a new National Steeplechase Association feature, the Monday Report, will land in your email inbox. The Monday Report will take a look back at each week’s racing and will look forward to the coming weekend ahead of the entries. To get the inaugural Monday Report, click here.
Senior Senator, the reigning Maryland Hunt Cup victor, has been nominated for a shot at retiring the Hunt Cup trophy for owner Irvin “Skip” Crawford. The brilliant gelding, now nine, is among 24 early nominees to the 123rd running of the four-mile timber classic on Saturday, April 27. A Pennsylvania-bred by Domestic Dispute, Senior Senator
by Craig Braddick Let me introduce myself. I’m Craig Braddick, and I am going to be your race caller in 2019 at the Georgia Steeplechase, Fair Hill Races, and the Steeplechase of Charleston. Also, I will be doing color commentary for the Willowdale Steeplechase. Track announcers have varied backgrounds. Tony Bentley is an acclaimed film