Clarke Ohrstrom’s Kisser N Run, the reigning Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare champion, already has made a successful start in 2014, and she will face a full field of challengers in the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley at the Iroquois Steeplechase on Saturday, May 10.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Kisser N Run will be ridden by Robbie Walsh in the 2 1/4-mile Henley, one of the stakes races on the Iroquois Steeplechase program at Percy Warner Park. She started the current season with a victory in the $30,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19. Last year, she closed out the season with two stakes victories, the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., and the Crown Royal Stakes at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia, after finishing a very close second in the Margaret Currey Henley.
Standing in the way of a trip to the winner’s circle are four other stakes winners, including Magalen O. Bryant’s Quiet Flaine, the 2012 Margaret Currey Henley winner. She is trained by Doug Fout and will be ridden by current leading jockey Willie McCarthy.
Fout also entered Quiet Flaine’s half sister Flagrant Honor, a maiden who will be ridden by Gerard Galligan. In 2012, half sisters Quiet Flaine and Ptarmigan finished first and second in the race for fillies and mares. The Middleburg-based trainer also will saddle Bryant’s maiden winner Mystery Maeve, who will be ridden by Thomas Bennett.
Jack Fisher, currently leading the trainer standings, will saddle two Arcadia Stable stakes winners, Opera Heroine and Take Her Tothe Top. Opera Heroine, winner of Saratoga Race Course’s 2011 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes, finished second to Kisser N Run in both the Peapack and Georgia Cup. Take Her Tothe Top, winner of last year’s Mrs. Phipps, was second in the Crown Royal to Kisser N Run. Jeff Murphy will be aboard Opera Heroine, and Sam Jones rides Take Her Tothe Top.
Irv Naylor, currently American Steeplechasing’s leading owner by purse earnings, entered imports Cordillera and Bittersweetheart. Cordillera finished third in the Georgia Cup, and Bittersweetheart was fourth.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered his Cubist, winner of the 2012 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes at Saratoga.
Here is the field for the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley.
Quiet Flaine. 2008 b. m., Real Quiet–Flaine, by Chenin Blanc. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 3-0-0-0, $2,500. 8-1 odds. Half sister to champion Ptarmigan and maiden Flagrant Honor won Margaret Currey Henley in 2012 and finished fourth last year. Finished seventh in Saratoga Race Course’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes.
Mystery Maeve. 2009 b. m., Wayne County (Ire)–Mystery Mom, by Awad. Owner: Margaret R. White. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Thomas Bennett. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2013 record: 2-0-1-0, $1,750. 10-1 odds. Homebred mare won Foxfield Spring maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths. Finished distant second in career debut at Virginia Fall last year.
Flagrant Honor. 2009 b. m., Congressionalhonor–Flaine, by Chenin Blanc. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 5-0-3-1, $9,450. 20-1 odds. Half sister to champion Ptarmigan and 2012 Henley winner Quiet Flaine finished distant fifth in Dogwood Classic maiden race at Colonial Downs on April 5. Had three consecutive second-place finishes in maiden hurdles last year.
Opera Heroine. 2004 b. m., Partner’s Hero–Soap Opera, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2013 NSA record: 4-0-1-0, $20,750. 2012 record: 2-0-1-1, $13,700. 2011 record: 6-2-1-0, $58,200. 6-1 odds. Began 2014 with second in Georgia Cup. Ran a strong race in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes and finished second, beaten a half-length, before fifth in Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal. Winner of 2011 Mrs. Ogden Phipps.
Take Her Tothe Top. 2008 dk. b. or br. m., More Than Ready—Ceiling, by Boundary. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $750. 2013 record: 7-1-3-1, $70,650. 2012 record: No NSA starts. 10-1 odds. Never a factor in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle and finished sixth. Finished second in Steeplechase at Callaway’s 2013 Crown Royal Stakes after fourth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes. Drew away to a 3 1/4-length victory in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8, then was third in Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes.
Cordillera (GB). 2008 ch. f., Araafa—Alexander Celebre (Ire), by Pientre Celebre. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2014 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. 2013 record: No starts. 2012 NSA record: 3-0-1-1, $21,250. 10-1 odds. In most recent start, finished third in $30,000 Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19. Previous start was third in the 2012 Crown Royal at the Steeplechase at Callaway. Finished second in Far Hills’ 2012 Peapack Stakes after fourth in her American debut, the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Filly and Mare Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Bittersweetheart (GB). 2007 b. m., Storming Home (GB)—Cruz Santa, by Lord Bud (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,500. 2013 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $5,000. 15-1 odds. Began 2014 with fourth-place finish in $30,000 Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19. Finished third in Steeplechase at Callaway’s 2013 Crown Royal Stakes after eighth in Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, her U.S. debut. Had been running successfully in hurdle allowances at smaller British tracks, including win at Southwell in August 2013.
- 2007 ch. m., Royal Academy–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 record: 6-0-0-0, $1,200. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $56,700. 2011 record: 3-0-1-1, $6,450. 10-1 odds. Finished seventh in Far Hills’ 2013 Peapack Stakes, then pulled up in Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal Stakes. Winner of 2012 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes finished eighth in 2013 edition. Was pulled up in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8. Sheppard homebred fell at last in 2013 Margaret Currey Henley, after fifth in the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase.
Kisser N Run. 2008 b. m., Pleasant Tap—Firm Kiss, by Atticus. Owner: Clarke Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2013 record: 6-2-2-0, $95,400. 2012 NSA record: 3-2-0-0, $55,600. 3-1 odds. Opened 2014 with 6 1/4-length victory in $30,000 Georgia Cup on April 19. Claimed the 2013 Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare Champion award with late-season wins in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes and the Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps before eighth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords. Has two second-place finishes in 2013, in Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase and Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11. Won Far Hills’ 2012 Peapack Stakes for new owner and trainer after maiden score at Foxfield Fall Races.
Casablanca Lily (Ire). 2008 ch. m., Hurricane Run (Ire)–Lady Prominence, by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 6-0-0-1, $5,865. 20-1 odds. Lost rider in Foxfield Spring maiden hurdle when impeded by another horse. Maiden winner in Ireland finished sixth in Steeplechase at Callaway’s 2013 Crown Royal.
G G Gal. 2009 ch. m., Whywhywhy—Royal G G, by Royal Academy. Owner: John K. Griggs. Trainer: Dave Washer. Jockey: Harry Haynes. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $1,500. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,500. 20-1 odds. Homebred mare lost jockey in Aiken Spring Races optional allowance hurdle on March 22 and was fourth in similar race at the Atlanta Steeplechase, then lost rider in Block House optional allowance in Tryon, N.C., on May 3. Won maiden victory over fences at 2013 Carolina Cup.