Andi’amu and Doc Cebu, timber champions who finished first and second, respectively, in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, will meet again on Saturday, June 27, in the Virginia Gold Cup, the signature race of the Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
The Virginia Gold Cup program attracted 136 entries, with 104 horses in its 10 races and 32 on also-eligible lists with a chance to draw into the races if scratches occur.
Also on the program is the David Semmes Memorial Stakes, which attracted two Eclipse Award winners, Scorpiancer (2017) and Zanjabeel (2018), in a field of 11. The Virginia Gold Cup also will feature the Steeplethon over mixed obstacles and two divisions of a ratings handicap.
In addition, the program includes three maiden hurdle divisions, with one of them limited to four-year-olds, and two maiden claiming hurdles. The maiden races and the ratings handicaps all have also-eligible lists.
Like last Saturday’s Middleburg Spring Races, the Virginia Gold Cup will be run without spectators and under strict health and safety restrictions to protect against the new coronavirus. The races will be broadcast by the NSA Network. The Virginia Gold Cup also will host virtual tailgating, hat, and trivia competitions.
An archive of Saturday’s live-streamed Middleburg Spring races is now available on the National Steeplechase Association website, nationalsteeplechase.com. Simply click on the NSA Network Video Archives button at the top right on the NSA homepage. Click here to go directly to the archive.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Gerard Galligan climbed to the top of the National Steeplechase Association standings with three victories apiece at the season-opening Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday.
Sheppard, the all-time leading steeplechase trainer by both wins and earnings, and Galligan combined forces for two of those victories on the 11-race Middleburg program, which featured a record 115 starters.
Supervised by assistant Keri Brion, the Sheppard team struck early in the Glenwood Hurdle, an allowance race for horses who had not won twice over fences. Darren Nagle rode Hudson River Farms’ Galway Kid to a come-from-behind neck victory over Brianbakescookies in the year’s first race over fences after the long new-coronavirus lockdown.
Galway Kid made his U.S. debut at Far Hills last October with a fifth-place finish in the Harry Harris Stakes after a point-to-point victory in Ireland. The Irish-bred notched his first sanctioned victory at the Steeplechase at Callaway in November.
Bruton Street-US’s Moscato, always well placed under Michael Mitchell, struck to the front before the final fence of the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) on Saturday and pulled away to a resounding repeat victory in the featured hurdle race of the 100th Middleburg Spring Races.
The historic Virginia race meet, conducted without spectators but with live-streaming video coverage of its 11 races, marked the emergence of National Steeplechase Association racing from the coast-to-coast new coronavirus lockdown.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Moscato ruled as the 2017 novice champion, missed the 2018 season, and returned last year with a debut victory by 3½ lengths over Belisarius in the Temple Gwathmey. He banked more than $100,000 for the year with third-place finishes in the American sport’s richest hurdle races, the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., and Nashville’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1).
Belisarius, owned by Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Stable, finished second for the second consecutive year for trainer Kate Dalton. Jockey Bernie Dalton, sensing a quick pace on the front end, parked Belisarius at the back of the field in the early going and came on to grab the second spot, 11½ lengths behind Moscato.
Bruton Street’s Rashaan, trained by Leslie Young, finished third, two lengths farther back. Hudson River Farms’ Iranistan, the 2018 novice champion, finished fourth, and Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul was fifth. Zanjabeel, the 2018 Eclipse Award champion, was pulled up, and 2017 Eclipse winner Scorpiancer was scratched.
National Steeplechase Association racing is back, beginning with the Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday, and the NSA Network will bring you all the action from the centennial running of the historic Virginia race meet.
The 11-race program kicks off a 12:30 p.m., and the NSA Network’s live-streaming broadcast will be available on the NSA website. The link is: http://nsa.network.video/
Megan Connolly and Joe Clancy will provide expert commentary on all the races, and Megan will have interviews with jockeys and trainers that were recorded in the days leading up to American Steeplechasing’s emergence from the coast-to-coast coronavirus lockdown.
Both the Middleburg Spring Races and the Virginia Gold Cup on Saturday, June 27, will be conducted without spectators, and the NSA Network will provide you with all the color and sounds of these two historic meets. Be sure to tune in!
Robert A. Kinsley, who built a multifaceted York, Pa., contracting company from the ground up and was a prominent steeplechase owner, died Wednesday, June 10, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 79.
He and his wife, Anne, frequently attended steeplechase meets and raced several notable jump horses, including 2012 timber champion Incomplete, who was trained by Ann Stewart. He also had horses with Elizabeth Voss and her late father, Tom Voss.
Trained by Elizabeth Voss, Kinsley’s Modem was a multiple Grade 1-placed hurdler in 2017 and earned $153,000. Kinsley also was joint master of the Elkridge Harford Hounds for 16 years.
“The Voss and Murray families are in deep mourning over the loss of our friend Bob Kinsley. We have been connected for many years through our mutual love of jump racing and foxhunting,” Elizabeth Voss said. “He loved his horses and would do whatever was best for them, no questions asked. It was truly an honor to know him and train his horses.”
Kinsley once told Jay Young, the president emeritus of the Elkridge Harford Hunt Cup, that he had a net worth of $19 when he and Anne arrived home from their honeymoon.
With that modest bankroll in 1964, he bought a shovel and a wheelbarrow, rented a truck, and set out to find work. He found plenty of work.
Today, Kinsley Construction employs more than 3,000 workers and is involved in a wide range of projects, principally in the Mid-Atlantic region.