Irvin S. Naylor’s Decoy Daddy set almost all the pace in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) and pulled away to a 3 1/2-length victory over Riverdee Stable’s Dictina’s Boy at the 90th annual Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday, April 23.
In another busy weekend of National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned racing, Sportsmans Hall’s Private Attack attacked the timber fences of the $30,000 Grand National and came away with a victory over Robert A. Kinsley’s Incomplete, while Northern Bay notched another upset victory with a runaway score in the $25,000 Carolina First Block House, an allowance race over National Fences.
Ridden by Darren Nagle, Irish-bred Decoy Daddy went to the front at the start of the 2 1/2-mile race over National Fences and briefly gave up the advantage to Bill Pape’s Mixed Up, ridden by Danielle Hodsdon, after a mile. But the 2010 Noel Laing winner quickly took the lead again and came home without a challenge in an impressive victory.
Now trained by Tom Foley, Decoy Daddy ran the Gwathmey distance in 5:30.80 on soft turf at the Virginia course. In his first start of the year, he had finished second to Country Cousin in the $45,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup at the Aiken Spring Races in South Carolina on March 26.
Dictina’s Boy finished 6 3/4 lengths clear of Gwathmey third-place finisher Pierrot Lunaire. Call You in Ten was fourth, and Mixed Up finished fifth in a field of five. Slip Away, the 2010 Temple Gwathmey winner and Eclipse Award champion steeplechase horse, was scratched because of the soft ground.
Private Attack’s victory in the Grand National, second leg of the Maryland timber triumvirate, marked the return to competition of Blythe Miller Davies, who had been the sport’s champion jockey by wins in 1994 and 1995. Davies, who also trains in Maryland, compiled more than 200 victories in her riding career. She competed as an amateur in the Grand National.
Northwoods Stable’s Volle Nolle finished third. Trained by Alicia Murphy, Private Attack ran the Grand National’s 3 1/4 miles in 6:39 on turf rated as good. Winner of the Grand National in 2008, the 12-year-old Private Interview gelding had finished second in 2009 and last year. He also finished second in last year’s Maryland Hunt Cup, which wraps up the 2011 Maryland timber series on Saturday, April 30.
Northern Bay, campaigned by the estate of Maryland owner-breeder Cary W. Jackson, took command on the final circuit of Sandlin Racecourse and drew clear to a ten-length victory in the $25,000 Carolina Cup Block House, featured race of the 65th annual Block House Races in Tryon, N.C.
Karen Eyles’ Canardly came on to finish second in a field of five. Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky took third, and Julia Thieriot’s Fantastic Foe finished fourth.
Bill Pape’s Lead Us Not set the early pace under jockey Brian Crowley, with Northern Bay and jockey Roddy Mackenzie shadowing the front-runner in company with Fantastic Foe. Crowley misjudged the finish by one circuit while comfortably in front and steered Lead Us Not off the course, apparently believing the race was over.
Fantastic Foe inherited the lead, but Northern Bay took command when asked by Mackenzie and drew away to the finish line. Northern Bay ran the Carolina First Block House’s 2 1/2 miles in 5:01.60.
Trained by Todd Wyatt, Northern Bay won his only start of 2010, a Philadelphia Park optional allowance at 26.70-1 odds.