The jumpers head to Charlottesville, Va., on Sunday for the Foxfield Races, the first of three fall National Steeplechase Association meets to be run in Virginia in October. The card, consisting of seven races — five over hurdles and two on the flat — carries purses totaling $55,000. The meet will be live streamed via the NSA web site, www.nationalsteeplechase.com. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Because of restrictions due to Covid-19, the meet will take place without fans.
The jump races include two maiden claimers, a filly and mare maiden hurdle, ratings handicap, and an apprentice rider hurdle race. One of the flat races, too, is restricted to apprentice jockeys. Four apprentice riders coming off of victories at the Shawan Downs Point to Point last Saturday will be among those in action: Skylar McKenna, Archie Macauley, Teddy Davies, and Colin Smith. Leading NSA rider Gerard Galligan, with eight victories, has a mount in all four open hurdle races.
One of Galligan’s mounts, in the handicap (for horses rated at 110 or lower), is Buttonwood Farm’s exciting Zoom Zoom Zoe, who broke her maiden at first asking by five and a quarter lengths at Middleburg in June. The Jonathan Sheppard-trainee came back to finish third under Galligan in her second start, in an allowance event at Saratoga in August, beaten just over two lengths.
The Foxfield Races mark the first 2020 NSA event that will permit owners — who have a horse entered — to attend, albeit with restrictions. Owners will be required to remain in a designated area for the entire afternoon; no one may cross the course or go to the paddock or barn area; and masks are required. In addition, those attending must fill out and present a health questionnaire at the gate and have their temperatures taken. No food or beverages will be provided; attendees must bring their own. Alcohol is prohibited.
If you choose to watch the races via the live stream, you can print print out the program entries for each race, located at the bottom of the overnights. Here is the link: https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Foxfield-Fall-overnight-program.pdf. The live stream is sponsored by Brown Advisory, The Charleston Post and Courier, Bruton Street, and the Virginia Equine Alliance.