Recent maiden winners will attempt to step up their game when they meet a solid group of veteran steeplechase performers in a $30,000 optional allowance race at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pa., on Friday, June 18. The 2 1/16-mile race over National Fences attracted a field of nine and will be the second race on the evening race program, following a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle race.
In his first start over fences and only his second career race, James R. Piper’s Call You in Ten won the George Sloan and John Sloan Sr. Sport of Kings maiden hurdle by three lengths at the Iroquois Races in Nashville, Tenn., on May 8. The four-year-old Ten Most Wanted gelding is trained by Doug Fout and again will be ridden by Jeff Murphy at Penn National.
Chadds Ford Stables’ Saluda Sam also will be seeking a second victory in only his second start over fences. Ridden by hot jockey Carl Rafter, he scored a 6 1/4-length victory in the Henry Collins maiden claiming hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 15. Rafter again will be aboard the five-year-old Adcat gelding, who is trained by Kathy McKenna.
Seeking a return victory at Penn National will be Laura Thiel Shull’s Moving Violation, who scored in a flat claiming race for a $5,000 price on December 8. After being advanced to second place in his first start over fences, the four-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding won the Belk maiden claiming hurdle by six lengths at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 24. He subsequently finished a well-beaten fourth in the $25,000 Strawberry Hill Classic at Colonial Downs in Virginia on May 15.
Champion trainer Jack Fisher will saddle Arcadia Stable’s Hope for Us All, the National Steeplechase Association’s 2009 three-year-old champion after his victory in the Gladstone Stakes at the Far Hills Races in New Jersey on October 17. The Royal Anthem gelding most recently finished fourth in an optional allowance at Philadelphia Park on June 4. Xavier Aizpuru has the mount.
Finishing second in the Philadelphia Park race was Dumbarton Farm’s Easy Red, who carries the 152-pound high weight in the Penn National race. Trained by Tom Voss, Easy Red also finished second in the $25,000 Tanglewood Cup at Clemmons, N.C., on May 8. The eight-year-old Charismatic gelding had a productive career on the flat, winning the 2006 Jennings Handicap. Ross Geraghty has the mount.
Voss also will send out Mark Dodson’s Moon Dolly, the 2009 Valentine Memorial winner at the Fair Hill Races who most recently finished fourth, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths, in the Valentine at the Maryland race course. The nine-year-old Kris S. mare, winner of the 2006 Claire Marine Stakes on the flat at Arlington Park, will be ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle Sparkled, whom he bred and owns. In his only 2010 start, the nine-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding by Valley Crossing won the $10,000 CenturyLink claiming hurdle at the Stoneybrook Races in Raeford, N.C., on April 3. Danielle Hodsdon will be in the saddle.
–Written by Don Clippinger