A spring stakes winner, two impressive Saratoga Race Course allowance winners, and an undefeated newcomer are among 11 nominees to Belmont Park’s $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Also among the nominees are the second- and third-place finishers in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 24. Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer
Riverdee Stable’s Snowie Hill, a maiden winner at Colonial Downs three weeks earlier, cruised to the lead at the top of the Virginia track’s stretch on Saturday and drew away to a 3 ¼-length victory in the $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Handicap.
Owner-trainer Bethany Baumgardner’s Mavourneen, the race’s 26.40-to-1 longshot, held on well for second, two lengths ahead of KMSN Stable’s maiden Inverness. Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Wigwam Baby, the Rouse’s 2.80-to-1 favorite, finished fourth after setting the pace for more than 1 ½ miles.
Sent off at 5.90-to-1, Snowie Hill ran the Rouse’s 2 ¼ miles in 4:01.87 and paid $13.80 to win.Snowie Hill was bred and is trained by F. Hill Parker, and the four-year-old’s name honors the memory of his mother, Frances Snowden “Snowie” Hill Myers. Snowie Hill is a full sister to 2016 novice champion Get Ready Set Goes, who finished seventh in the Rouse. Get Ready Set Goes was bred by Mrs. Myers.
Jack Doyle, who had swept Colonial’s two jump races when Snowie Hill won her maiden victory against other fillies and mares on Aug. 17, again notched a double and moved into second place in the standings with 11 wins, five behind Michael Mitchell.
Wigwam Baby and jockey Darren Nagle went out to a free-running lead at the start of the Rouse and opened as many as 10 lengths at the top of Colonial’s stretch the first time. Mavourneen and jockey Graham Watters kept Wigwam Baby in sight while running second, and Doyle parked Snowie Hill at the back of the field, at times more than 25 lengths behind the leader.
Louis “Paddy” Neilson III, a distinguished timber jockey and trainer who throughout his life was a highly respected and well-liked member of the American steeplechase community, died Thursday, Sept. 5, in Chester County, Pa., after a bout with cancer.
He was a horseman throughout his life and created a family of accomplished horsemen. Daughters Sanna and Kathy both have had accomplished careers as trainers. Grandchildren Skylar McKenna and Parker Hendriks now are taking on roles in jump racing.
Paddy Neilson was not exactly born into the saddle, but he was put atop a horse at age six and never was long out of the saddle after that. He made an auspicious start in 1958 when he swept the Grand National card with Coke Hi in the Grand National and Zenbar’s Son in the Western Run Plate. He was one day short of his 16th birthday.
He was an accomplished lacrosse player as well as a rider, and he went to Princeton University with the thought of playing the hard-hitting sport there. But then he realized that lacrosse games often occurred on Saturdays during the spring. Those are racing days, and so ended his lacrosse aspirations.
After Princeton, he earned his master’s of business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and it offered him the opportunity to ride out in the mornings in Chester County and then commute into West Philadelphia for classes.
Stakes winners Bercasa and Wigwam Bay will carry the 155-pound highweights for Colonial Downs’ $50,000 Randolph D. Rouse Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday.
The 2 ¼-mile Rouse Handicap attracted a field of 10 and will help to bring down the curtain on the final program of the reborn Colonial Downs meet near Richmond, Va. Kicking off the program will be a $30,000 maiden hurdle. First post time is 5 p.m.
With the windup of the five-week Colonial meet, 10 jump races will have been run on its spacious Secretariat Turf Course.
The race honors the memory of Virginia horseman Randy Rouse, who was awarded the National Steeplechase Association’s F. Ambrose Clark Award for lifetime achievement in 2016 and died the following year at the age of 100.
Bercasa is a new member of Irv Naylor’s stable and will be making her first U.S. start for trainer Kathy Neilson. A four-year-old, she earned her stakes victory in Galway’s Tote Account European Breeders Fund Hurdle, which she won by 3½ lengths on July 31. Sean McDermott will ride the Irish-bred.
Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Wigwam Baby won the 2019 edition of the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley by 1¼ lengths. She most recently lost her rider when she landed awkwardly in Saratoga Race Course’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes on Aug. 7. Darren Nagle has the mount.
The Monday Report for Sept. 2 is now available here. The web address is: https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/MR9-2-19W.pdf
Jack Fisher, all but assured his eighth straight National Steeplechase Association trainer championship by wins, crossed the $1-million mark in purses for the fifth time in Colonial Downs’ first race, a $30,000 maiden hurdle, on Friday. Gill Johnston’s Knockholt, favored at 9-to-5, just lasted to win by a nose over Ballybristol Farm’s Silver Crescent, who