Thomas P. “Tommy” McGivern, a leading Irish jump jockey in the 1970s and 1980s who came to the United States and trained for several years, died Tuesday after a short illness in his native Ireland. He was 62. He began his jump-racing career in the 1970s and fell just short of a championship in the
A star-studded cast of 13—including four Grade 1 winners and two novice champions—has been nominated to Saratoga Race Course’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Thursday, July 23.
Trainer Ricky Hendriks nominated three of the Grade 1 winners: Rosbrian Farm’s Optimus Prime, Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul, and Zanjabeel, the 2018 Eclipse Award winner who is owned by Rosbrian and Meadow Run Farm.
Winner of Saratoga’s 2018 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) in his U.S. debut, Optimus Prime tops the National Steeplechase Association’s ratings at 158. He made only one start last year, a romp in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), and would be making his first start this season.
Surprising Soul won last September’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park and finished fifth in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) on June 13. Zanjabeel, who is seeking to regain his championship form, was pulled up in the Temple Gwathmey.
Bruton Street-US, the reigning champion owner, nominated a formidable group of four that includes its two novice champions, Moscato and Snap Decision. Moscato, the 2017 novice leader, kicked off his 2020 season with an easy repeat victory in the Temple Gwathmey.
Snap Decision, last year’s leading newcomer to jump racing, made his 2020 debut two weeks later with an impressive win in the David Semmes Memorial at the Virginia Gold Cup.
The following is a statement from the Aiken Steeplechase Association. With an abundance of caution and concern for our community, the Aiken Steeplechase Association (a 501(c) 3 charitable organization) is canceling the 29th running of the Aiken Fall Steeplechase that was to be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at Bruce’s Field. With the unpredictability
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.
Two-time timber champion Doc Cebu took command late in Saturday’s $40,000 Virginia Gold Cup and drew away with authority in the classic signature race of the 95th annual Virginia Gold Cup races at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
Hudson River Farms’ Codrington College, who had led from the seventh fence to the next to last on the emerald Great Meadow course, finished second, 12 1/4 lengths behind Doc Cebu, and Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday finished third.
Ridden by Michael Mitchell, 2019’s co-champion jockey, Doc Cebu jumped strongly throughout the Virginia Gold Cup’s four miles and delivered a dominant victory for owners Charles Fenwick Jr., Mike Hankin, and Charles Noell.
The timber classic was the second straight stakes victory for the ownership team, which races other horses in the name of Bruton Street-US, which was 2019’s champion owner. A race earlier, Bruton Street’s Snap Decision scored a similarly dominant victory in the David Semmes Memorial over hurdles.
Both winners were saddled by champion trainer Jack Fisher.
The Virginia Gold Cup will present a strong lineup of races on Saturday, with two timber champions and an Eclipse Award winner among the 117 horses remaining eligible for the 10 races at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains.
In-person attendance will be limited to necessary personnel, and the races will be livestreamed beginning at 12:15 p.m. at http://nsa.network.video/. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
Andi’amu and Doc Cebu, timber champions who finished first and second, respectively, in the Middleburg Hunt Cup on June 13, again will test each other and five other opponents in the $40,000 Virginia Gold Cup at four miles.
Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu is defending his 2019 Virginia Gold Cup victory, a brilliant three-length score in which he set all the pace. Thomas Garner, who rode the French-bred to a geared-down 3¾-length win in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, again will ride for trainer Leslie Young.
Doc Cebu, owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Mike Hankin, and Charles Noell, is one of four entrants from the barn of champion trainer Jack Fisher. In his only start last year, the Hard Spun gelding finished fourth in the Virginia Gold Cup, his first venture at four miles.
Michael Mitchell, the reigning co-champion jockey, has a return call aboard Doc Cebu, the timber champion in 2017 and 2018.