Two of American Steeplechasing’s top competitors have been entered for the $25,000 Sandhills Cup, the allowance hurdle that headlines the 62nd running of the Stoneybrook Steeplechase at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, N.C., on Saturday, April 6. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the five-race program.
Heading the Sandhills Cup’s entrants are 2010 Eclipse Award winner Slip Away and multiple graded stakes winner Divine Fortune, plus multiple stakes winner Decoy Daddy. The strength of the competition led to four scratches on Wednesday from the original field of eight.
Owned by Eclipse Award-winning owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Slip Away has raced lightly since his championship season in 2010, making two starts in 2011 and 2012 without a victory. In his most recent start, he finished seventh in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 17 after leading to the last fence. Trainer Tom Voss named Paddy Young to ride.
Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune had a highly lucrative year in 2012 ($113,500) despite winning only an allowance race. He was second in the spring’s richest race, the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville and in the fall was second in both the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., and the Colonial Cup. Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, the two-time Grade 2 winner will be ridden by Darren Nagle.
Decoy Daddy, raced by three-time champion owner Irv Naylor, is a two-time winner of the Noel Laing at Montpelier, Va., and finished second last year. The Irish-bred finished out the 2012 season with a fourth-place finish in the Colonial Cup. Carol Ann Sloan will ride for trainer Brianne Slater.
Completing the field is Meritage Racing’s Inti, an allowance winner at Colonial Downs last year. Roddy Mackenzie has the mount on Inti for trainer Cyril Murphy, and trainer Britt Graham named Mark Watts to ride Sir Dynamite.