Top competitors in the National Steeplechase Association’s championship division will clash Saturday, Nov. 19, in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), the headline contest of the 41st annual Colonial Cup meet at the Springdale Course in Camden, S.C. First post time is 12:30 p.m.
The six-race Colonial Cup program will be broadcast by video streaming on a pay-per-view basis, and TVG steeplechase commentator Jimmy Duggan will provide analysis of the races.
The 2 3/4-mile Colonial Cup drew a full field of 12, and the race will play a role in determining the year’s Eclipse Award winner as well as the recipient of the Lonesome Glory Champions Award, bestowed on the horse with the highest annual earnings in NSA-sanctioned races.
Two emerging stars from the stable of leading owner Irvin S. Naylor are battling for the Lonesome Glory title, which honors the five-time Eclipse Award winner who won the Colonial Cup three times, in 1994, 1995, and 1997.
Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, second on the year’s earnings list with $124,100, will be shooting for his third graded stakes victory of the year, after victories in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at the Middleburg Spring Races and the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville.
He prepared for the Colonial Cup with a second consecutive victory in the Noel Laing Stakes at the Montpelier Hunt Races in Virginia on Nov. 5. Former jockey Tom Foley trains Decoy Daddy, who will have Kevin Tobin in the saddle.
The Irish-bred needs a Colonial Cup victory to overtake Naylor’s Black Jack Blues, winner of the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at the Far Hills Races in New Jersey on Oct. 22. Black Jack Blues was entered for the Colonial Cup, but trainer Joseph Delozier III scratched him three days before the race after he became ill. Black Jack Blues, undefeated in his two U.S. starts, has NSA earnings of $171,000.
Naylor, who already has established a record for annual earnings by an owner, also will be represented in the Colonial Cup by Tax Ruling, winner of Iroquois’ $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) for the second straight year on May 14, and Organisateur, a recent import who finished second in the Grand National. Xavier Aizpuru rides Tax Ruling, who is trained by Brianne Slater, and Bernie Dalton will be aboard Delozier-trained Organisateur.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, aiming to wear the crowns as champion trainer by wins and purses won again in 2011, entered six contenders for the Colonial Cup. Three are owned by longtime client Bill Pape: A. P. Smithwick (Gr. 2) winner Divine Fortune, who lost his rider when he stumbled at a fence in the Grand National; Sermon of Love, a Grade 1 winner last year who finished second in the Noel Laing; and Lead Us Not, second in the $20,000 Montpelier Cup on Nov. 5. Darren Nagle again will be aboard Divine Fortune, Willie Dowling rides Sermon of Love, and Will Haynes will be aboard Lead Us Not.
Also entered from Sheppard’s top division are Hudson River Farms’ Arcadius, a Grade 1 winner last year who finished seventh in the Grand National; Mary Ann Houghland’s Nationbuilder, who was pulled up on tiring ground in the Grand National; and Sheppard’s own Italian Wedding, who also was pulled up in the Grand National. Brian Crowley has the call on Arcadius, Danielle Hodsdon rides Nationbuilder, and Carl Rafter will be aboard Italian Wedding.
Maryland horseman Tom Voss, who trained 2010 Colonial Cup winner and Eclipse champion Slip Away, currently leads the battle for the training title by wins, and he will have two representatives in this year’s race over National Fences. Armata Stable’s Dynaski finished third in the Grand National after a third in the $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course. The Fields Stable’s Your Sum Man finished third in the Noel Laing after a fourth-place finish in the Grand National, a race he won in 2009.
Camden horseman Arch Kingsley Jr. again will ride Carrington Racing Stable’s Here Comes Art, who won Saratoga’s Ninepins, an optional allowance race at Saratoga on Sept. 1. Kingsley trained this spring’s $50,000 Carolina First Carolina Cup (Gr. 3) winner, Sue Sensor’s Sunshine Numbers.
Also on the Colonial Cup program is the $25,000 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial, which will determine the NSA’s three-year-old championship. Leading contenders for title are The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, easy winner of the $25,000 Gladstone at Far Hills, and Mede Cahaba Stable’s Class Brahms, who won the $10,000 Nelson C. Noland Memorial at the Virginia Fall Races on Oct. 2.
Voss named champion jockey Paddy Young to ride Wanganui, who is named for a resort city in New Zealand, and Dalton will be aboard Class Brahms for trainer Lilith Boucher.