Carrington Racing Stable’s Here Comes Art has been voted the New York-bred champion steeplechase horse for 2011. Owners Bill and Carrington Price accepted the trophy at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ annual dinner in Saratoga Springs on Monday, April 1.
Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., Here Comes Art had a highly productive season at Saratoga Race Course, with one steeplechase victory and a third-place finish in a stakes race for novices. He concluded the year with a strong effort in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in Camden, S.C., to lock up the 2011 New York-bred title.
Like most steeplechase horses, Here Comes Art started on the flat. Bred by William R. Ammann, the Royal Anthem gelding was claimed for $28,000 at Laurel Park in October 2007 by Price, a Charlotte business owner and co-chair of the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase with his wife. A variety of ailments kept Here Comes Art from the races for 23 months, and he returned with a good second on the flat against fellow New York-breds at Saratoga in September 2009.
He scored his first jump victory at Camden that fall and was competing in allowance races the following spring when he bowed a tendon in the Queen’s Cup. After another year off, Here Comes Art came back strongly in 2011, beginning with a good third in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga in late July. In the Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes, front-running Here Comes Art was overeager and ran out of steam before the last fence.
Kingsley, a former champion steeplechase jockey, then called his own number for the $53,000 Ninepins, an optional allowance. Here Comes Art jumped brilliantly on the lead for Kingsley, repelled a challenge at the last fence, and won by 3 3/4 lengths.
Here Comes Art stepped up in class for the season-ending Colonial Cup, a Grade 1 steeplechase race at Camden on November 19. Here Comes Art again jumped strongly under Kingsley, led at the last fence, and finished a respectable fourth, beaten only 3 1/4 lengths. He is currently on the Prices’ farm in North Carolina being legged up for his 10-year-old season.
Here Comes Art’s New York-bred title was the third in a row for Kingsley. He trained Sue and George Sensor’s Sunshine Numbers, who was the Empire State’s champion steeplechaser in 2009 and 2010.