Bill Pape, a longtime steeplechase owner who currently tops the 2013 leader board by earnings, will field a formidable entry of Bluegrass Summer and Grand Tier for the $50,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle, the co-feature of the 29th annual Steeplechase at Callaway on Saturday, Nov. 2. First post time is 1 p.m. at the Pine Mountain, Ga., course.
Both Bluegrass Summer and Grand Tier are trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard. In their most recent starts, Bluegrass Summer won the first division of the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 19, while Grand Tier closed with a rush to take third in that division. Bernie Dalton returns to ride Bluegrass Summer, and current leading jockey Darren Nagle will be aboard Grand Tier.
Several of the Pape entry’s challengers competed in the Foxbrook divisions. Congashene, owned by Virginia’s Friendship Farm and trained by Neil Morris, finished fourth to Bluegrass Summer. Jeff Murphy has the mount.
The Fields Stable’s Kingdom was fifth behind Bluegrass Summer, and trainer Tom Voss will put Sean Flanagan in the saddle. Rock Ford Stables’ Sporty finished fifth in the second division; Mark Beecher will ride for trainer Julie Gomena.
Jubilee Stables’ Wantan finished second by a nose in a tough allowance hurdle at the International Gold Cup meet in Virginia on Oct. 19, and apprentice jockey Gus Dahl has the call for trainer Ted Thompson.
Completing the field are maiden winners Where’s the Beef and Albany Road. Owner-trainer Brian E. Murphy named Willie McCarthy to ride Where’s the Beef, an impressive winner at the Foxfield Fall Races in Virginia on Sept. 29. Robbie Walsh will be aboard the Elkstone Group’s Albany Road for trainer Richard Valentine.
Who do you like in the $50,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle?
Wantan (Arg). 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Pure Prize–Water Proof, by Turkoman. Owner: Jubilee Stables. Trainer: Ted Thompson. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, 4,500. 2012 record: 2-0-2-0, $7,200. 2011 record: 2-0-1-1, $12,000. 6-1 odds. In only 2013 start, finished second by a nose in a $25,000 allowance hurdle at International Gold Cup meet in The Plains, Va., on Oct. 19. Finished second in 2012 Georgia Cup for novices and then was second in a $25,000 allowance hurdle at the International Gold Cup. Finished third in 2011 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle.
Bluegrass Summer. 2008 gr. or ro. g., Purge—Rose of Summer, by El Prado (Ire). Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 NSA record: 5-3-0-0, $97,100. 2-1 odds. Held off late challenge to win first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle of Oct. 19. Won Saratoga optional allowance on Aug. 29. Scored maiden victory at Stoneybrook on April 6. Most recently finished fifth in rich Kentucky Downs flat allowance on Sept. 18.
Cognashene. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Catch the Ring, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Virginia’s Friendship Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2013 NSA record: 7-1-1-1. $25,200. 5-1 odds. Finished an even fourth in the first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Won maiden hurdle at Colonial Downs on June 8. Slammed inside wing and went off course when distracted by a loose horse in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 19.
Kingdom. 2009 b. g., Louis Quatorze—Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Sean Flanagan. 2013 record: 8-1-2-1, $47,550. 10-1 odds. Most recently fifth in first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Had second and third in Saratoga optional allowances after fourth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 25. Won Fair Hill maiden race by 19 lengths on May 25. Finished second in the 2012 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds at the Colonial Cup. Mimi Voss-bred is half brother to two-time filly and mare champion Guelph (2005 and 2008).
Sporty. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Smarty Jones—Byzantine, by Quiet American. Owner: Rock Ford Stables. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 2013 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $16,050. 8-1 odds. Finished fifth in second division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19 in first start since winning inaugural Dogwood Classic’s featured allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 6. In third start over fences, won maiden victory by 3 1/2 lengths at the Colonial Cup on Nov. 17. Was a $40,000 claim from a Racing Hall of Fame trainer in 2011.
Grand Tier. 2009 b. g., Theatrical (Ire)—Prisa, by Danehill. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2013 NSA record: 4-1-1-1, $20,100. 4-1 odds. Closed with a rush to take show money in first division of Far Hill’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Won Shawan Downs maiden race on Sept. 28 after second in Colonial Downs maiden hurdle on June 8.
Where’s the Beef. 2008 gr. or r. g., Rockport Harbor—Clair de Lune, by Regal Classic. Owner-trainer: Brian E. Murphy. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 2-1-1-0, $13,500. 10-1 odds. Won Foxfield Fall maiden hurdle by 18 lengths on Sept. 29 after second in tough Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Atlanta Steeplechase.
Albany Road. 2007 ch. g., Mr. Greeley—Jane’s the Name, by Trempolino. Owner: Elkstone Group. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2013 NSA record: 4-1-1-0, $25,500. 10-1 odds. Won maiden hurdle at Fair Hill Races in late May before good second to All Together in Saratoga optional allowance on Aug. 1. Most recently has been running in starter allowances at Presque Isle Downs near Erie, Pa.