A full, well-matched field featuring several of American Steeplechasing’s emerging stars will line up at Parx Racing on Tuesday, June 25, for a $30,000 optional allowance claimer, one of three jump race on the program at the suburban Philadelphia track. The other two races, $20,000 open maiden hurdles, also attracted full fields.
Several of the Parx starters emerged from Radnor Hunt Races’ $30,000 Thompson Memorial allowance hurdle on May 18. William Riddle Jr.’s Absolum finished second, beaten only a half-length after a strong late run at the winner, Martini Brother. In his prior start, five-year-old Absolum had won a Middleburg Spring Races maiden claimer by 12 lengths on April 20. Paddy Young again will ride for his wife, trainer Leslie Young.
The Elkstone Group’s Bodie Island finished third in the Thompson, 1 1/4 lengths behind Absolum, after making a big run from the back of the field. Richard Valentine named Danielle Hodsdon to ride. Valentine also will saddle Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Critical Point, winner of a Middleburg Spring maiden hurdle. Robbie Walsh will ride.
Owner-trainer Michael Moran’s Staying On finished fourth in the Thompson after bidding for the lead at the second-to-last fence on the Malvern, Pa., course. Bernie Dalton again has the mount on the Irish-bred, who finished fourth in last fall’s Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J.
Also heading into the 2 1/16-mile Parx race from the Thompson is Farm d’Allie Racing’s Pleasant Woodman, who set the pace before fading to finish sixth. Trainer Doug Fout named Jeff Murphy to ride Pleasant Woodman, who will race for a $25,000 claiming tag.
Also entered for a $25,000 claiming price were two veterans, Why Not Racing’s Complete Zen and Bill Pape’s The Price of Love. Complete Zen finished second, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8. Trainer Lilith Boucher named her husband, Richard Boucher, to ride. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard named Darren Nagle to ride The Price of Love, who finished second in a Saratoga Race Course optional allowance last August.
Also attracting attention will be two impressive maiden winners. Woodslane Farm’s Sharp Numbers scored a sharp, 2 1/4-length score in a $25,000 maiden hurdle at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 11, and Clorevia Farm’s Dr. Skip roared to a 2 1/2-length win in a $25,000 maiden hurdle at Radnor a week later. Xavier Aizpuru rides Sharp Numbers for trainer Jack Fisher, and Jodie Petty will be aboard Dr. Skip for trainer Edward Graham.
Leading owner Irv Naylor will be represented by Top Man Michael, an Irish-bred four-year-old who is looking for his first win since the Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills on Oct. 20. Ross Geraghty will be in the saddle for trainer Brianne Slater.