Owner-trainer Karen M. Gray’s Cuse will go for his third straight victory in a $20,000 open claiming hurdle, the featured steeplechase race at Colonial Downs on Sunday, June 12. The program at the New Kent, Va., track will feature three jump races with crowded fields. First post time in 12:58 p.m.
A 10-year-old Wekiva Springs gelding, Cuse has found his best form this year and has raised his career mark to five wins from 60 starts. In both his 2011 victories, he was ridden by 16-year-old apprentice jockey Gus Dahl of Franklin, Tenn.
Cuse started his streak with a 5 1/4-length score in a $25,000 starter allowance at the Virginia Gold Cup meet on May 7, and he then rolled away to a 16 1/2-length victory in a $15,000 starter allowance at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., on May 22.
Cuse will face nine challengers in Colonial’s fifth race. Trillium Stable’s Mischief will try to create a little mischief after finishing second to Cuse in the High Hope race. The loss broke a two-race winning streak for the With Approval gelding, who won a maiden claimer by 11 3/4 lengths at the Stoneybrook Races in North Carolina on April 9 and then scored in an optional allowance hurdle at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia two weeks later. Trainer Tom Voss named champion jockey Paddy Young to ride.
Dubai Sunday, a Japanese-bred Sunday Silence gelding campaigned by 2010 champion owner Irvin S. Naylor, will be making his first start of 2011 for trainer Brianne Slater. Dubai Sunday closed his 2010 season with an 11 3/4-length victory in a hurdle allowance at Callaway Gardens in Georgia on Nov. 6. Darren Nagle has the mount.
The field contains several recent winners. Why Not Stable’s Class Classic won a $10,000 claiming race by 4 1/4 lengths at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland on May 28. Trainer Lilith Boucher named husband Richard Boucher to ride.
Gil Johnston’s Embarrassed was by no means flustered at Fair Hill and won a maiden claimer. Carl Rafter will ride for trainer Kathy N. McKenna. Deputy Empress, the only mare in the field, scored her maiden victory at the Foxfield Spring meet in Virginia on April 23. The Tapit mare then stepped up to Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial, in which she tired and was pulled up.
Owner-trainer Teddy Mulligan’s Eamonn won a claiming hurdle at Stoneybrook before finishing fifth behind Cuse in the Virginia Gold Cup race. Willie McCarthy has the mount.
In addition to the open claiming hurdle, the Colonial Downs program will feature a $10,000 maiden claiming hurdle and a $15,000 maiden hurdle, each of which drew full fields of 12. All three steeplechase races will be run at 2 1/4 miles on Colonial Downs’ turf course.