Owner-trainer Karen M. Gray’s veteran Cuse went to the lead immediately in the $20,000 Sandhills Cup, set all the pace, and held off Timber Bay Farm’s History Boy to score a half-length victory in the feature race of the 61st annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C., on Saturday, April 7. Ridden by apprentice Gus Dahl, Cuse ran the Sandhills Cup’s 2 3/8 miles over National Fences in 4:32.60 on firm turf at the Carolina Horse Park.
Cuse, an 11-year-old Wekiva Springs gelding making his 68th career start, was the only member of the field carrying a $20,000 claiming price in the Sandhills Cup, an optional allowance. The gray or roan gelding also was at least five years older than his opponents. But age and experience proved a winning combination, and 18-year-old Dahl earned the biggest victory of his career.
Ivy Hill Stable’s On the Corner finished third, 16 lengths behind History Boy, and Irvin S. Naylor’s Union Army finished fourth.