A nine-race program with large fields is in store for the 60th annual Virginia Fall Races on Saturday at Middleburg’s Glenwood Park Course, where two stakes races will be featured. First post time has been advanced to 1 p.m. to accommodate the full afternoon of steeplechase racing.
The $40,000 W. Gary Baker Memorial Hurdle Stakes, a 2 1/8-mile race over National Fences, honors the memory of Virginia Fall’s long-time race chairman who died in January. The race attracted several top hurdlers, including Andre Brewster’s and Sheila Williams’ Grade 1-placed All Together.
The nine-year-old Danzig gelding is looking for his first 2014 victory, and he most recently finished fourth in three Grade 1 races, Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap and Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup and A. P. Smithwick Memorial. All Together finished close seconds in last year’s editions of the Lonesome Glory and New York Turf Writers.
Sam Jones has the mount on All Together for leading trainer Jack Fisher, whose entries accounted for half of the Baker Memorial field. Among them is Gil Johnston’s Dahoud, who won the 2012 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle in his most recent start. The owner also will be represented by Broxbourne, a maiden winner. Sean McDermott rides Dahoud, and leading Australian jockey Steve Pateman will be aboard Broxbourne.
Fisher also entered Michael Moran’s Staying On, winner of the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase in April, and Woodslane Farm’s Sharp Numbers, who would be making his first start of the year after finishing third to Staying On in last year’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes at Belmont Park. Jeff Murphy rides Staying On, and Bernie Dalton has the call on Sharp Numbers.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Bill Pape’s Powerofone, who finished second in last year’s Entenmann and was pulled up in the Queen’s Cup, his only 2014 start. Darren Nagle will ride.
The Baker Memorial’s most intriguing entry is leading owner Irv Naylor’s Able Deputy, who would be making his first U.S. start after a successful racing career in England. He has won four races this year, most recently Worcester’s Toteplacepot Handicap on Aug. 31. Trainer Cyril Murphy named Ross Geraghty to ride.
Virginia-based trainers also will be well represented in the Baker Memorial. Jimmy Day entered Daybreak Stable’s Manacor, winner of a Saratoga allowance hurdle in his most recent start over fences. Paddy Young, last year’s champion jockey, has the call.
Middleburg-based horseman Doug Fout entered Betsy Mead’s homebred Forgotten Man, who finished fifth in the Queen’s Cup. Current leading jockey Willie McCarthy will ride.
Completing the field is The Fields Stable’s Bob Le Beau, who finished sixth in his U.S. debut, Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Gus Dahl will ride for trainer Elizabeth Voss Murray.
Virginia Fall’s other stakes race, the $35,000 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at 3 1/4 miles over timber fences, attracted a full field, including recent stakes winners Moonsox and Cornhusker.
Trained by Kevin Boniface and ridden by son Fritz Boniface, Nelson & Traveller Stable’s Moonsox scored a victory in the Radnor Hunt Cup on May 17 after winning the Winterthur Bowl open allowance race 13 days earlier.
Owned by Armata Stable and trained by Alicia Murphy, Cornhusker won Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial after taking the Middleburg Hunt Cup on the Glenwood Park course on April 19. Mark Beecher will ride. Armata also will be represented by Brother Sy, a two-time winner this year for trainer Todd Wyatt. Diana Gillam has a return riding engagement.
Fisher will take three shots at the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup with Williams’ and Brewster’s Seer and Straight to It, plus Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society. Seer was second in the Radnor Hunt Cup, and Straight to It was fifth. Lightly raced Drift Society won a Fair Hill novice timber contest on May 24. Sam Jones rides Seer, Sean McDermott will be aboard Straight to It, and Conner Hankin has the mount on Drift Society.
Naylor, last year’s leading timber owner and the current overall leader, entered Chess Board, the Radnor Hunt Cup’s sixth-place finisher who is trained by Billy Meister. Magalen O. Bryant, a prominent Northern Virginia owner and breeder, is represented Dakota Slew, who is trained by Richard Valentine. Dakota Slew most recently was pulled up in the Mason Houghland.
Who do you like in the W. Gary Baker Memorial?
Manacor (Ire). 2008 b. g., Refuse to Bend (Ire)–Mollyputtheketelon, by Rainbow Quest. Owner-trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 NSA record: 2-1-1-0, $43,500. 2013 NSA record: 5-1-1-1, $15,100. 5-1 odds. Has been splitting his time between flat races and the jumps. Won a Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 6 after second in the Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races on April 26. Broke through for maiden victory over fences at Montpelier Hunt Races in November.
All Together. 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owners: Andre W. Brewster and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 5-0-2-0, $29,000. 2013 NSA record: 7-1-3-0, $104,100. 2012 record: 6-0-0-3, $29,000. 9-2 odds. Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) after fourths in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Had two second-place finishes in starter hurdles this past spring.
Able Deputy (GB). 2007 b. g., Lomitas (GB)—Island Colony, by Pleasant Colony. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2014 NSA record: No starts. 4-1 odds. Newcomer to American racing brings a formidable record from England, where he most recently scored his fourth victory of the year in Worcester’s Toteplacepot Handicap on Aug. 31.
Staying On (Ire). 2005 b. g., Invincible Spirit (Ire)—Lakatoi (GB), by Saddler’s Hall (Ire). Owner: Michael J. Moran. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $39,000. 2013 record: 5-1-2-0, $65,400. 8-1 odds. Pulled up in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) after fifth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Began season with Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase win before third in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 17. Scored game upset victory in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes last year.
Powerofone. 2009 b. g., A.P. Indy—Byzantine, by Quiet American. Owner: William L. Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 8-2-1-2, $59,310. 10-1 odds. Pulled up in his only 2014 start, the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase near Charlotte on April 26. Tired late to finish third in the second division of 2013 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far hills, N.J., after game second in William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes at Belmont Park.
Forgotten Man. 2008 ch. g., Bowman’s Band—Hark the Sound (GB), by Robellino. Owner: Betsy Mead. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $6,500. 2013 record: 7-1-0-2, $29,850. 10-1 odds. Homebred finished second in Sandhills Cup allowance hurdle at Stoneybrook Steeplechase in North Carolina on April 5, then was fifth in the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase on April 26. Won 2013 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle by a nose after third-place finishes in Carolina Cup and Saratoga optional allowance.
Dahoud (NZ). 2006 b. g., Scaredee Cat—Aiglette, by Krona. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. 8-1 odds. 2014 record: No starts. Making his first start since winning 2012 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia. Was Grade 2-placed at Santa Anita Park in 2011.
Bob Le Beau (Ire). 2007 dk. b. or. br. g., Big Bad Bob—Shine Silently, by Bering (GB). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,250. 12-1 odds. Finished sixth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes, his U.S. debut, on July 24 before losing his rider in Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes three weeks later. Formerly based in Ireland with trainer Jessica Harrington.
Sharp Numbers. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Johar—Flight Numbers, by Polish Numbers. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2014 record: No starts. 2013 record: 5-1-0-1, $22,100. 15-1 odds. Won first start over fences at 2013 Iroquois Steeplechase and finished third in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes.
Broxbourne. 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Purim—Morlana, by More Than Ready. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Steve Pateman. 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $16,750. 12-1 odds. Won maiden hurdle at Atlanta, finished fourth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Bright Hour Stakes, and fell early in a Monmouth Park optional allowance hurdle on June 13.
Who do you like in the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup?
Chess Board (GB). 2003 b. g., Vettori–Cruinn a Bhord, by Inchinor (GB). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,200. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 10-1 odds. Finished sixth in the Radnor Hunt Cup on May 17. Finished third in the 2014 Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 19, then lost rider in the Virginia Gold Cup. In first 2013 start over fences, won the New Jersey Hunt Cup, a timber allowance.
Dakota Slew. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Slew City Slew—Klearlee Kiera, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Garet W. Winants. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 5-0-0-2, $10,500. 10-1 odds. Pulled up in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial on May 10. Finished third in 2013 Colonial Cup timber race after losing rider in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished third in Virginia Gold Cup and then lost rider in Willowdale Steeplechase on May 12. Won timber allowance at 2012 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Moonsox. 2006 ch. g., Mojave Moon–Sister Sox, by Deputy Minister. Owner: Nelson & Traveller Stable. Trainer: Kevin Boniface. Jockey: K. Fritz Boniface. 2014 record: 4-2-1-0, $39,600. 2013 record: 4-1-0-0, $21,600. 4-1 odds. Riding a two-win streak after taking the Radnor Hunt Cup and Winterthur Bowl. Also finished second in Middleburg Hunt Cup after seventh in My Lady’s Manor, a race he won in 2013.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $6,500. 2013 record: 6-1-4-1, $47,500. 8-1 odds. Finished fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup on May 17. Finished fourth in 2014 debut in My Lady’s Manor, then was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup on May 3. Gave Jack Fisher a share of 2013 trainer’s title with victory in Colonial Cup’s Springdale timber allowance. Won the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills, N.J.
Drift Society (Ire). 2008 b. g., Jackson’s Drift—Tansey Yearwood (Ire), by Moscow Society. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Conner Hankin. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. 10-1 odds. Broke into the ranks of winners with a 1 1/2-length score in a Fair Hill novice timber race on May 24. In only other career start, lost rider in a Willowdale maiden timber on May 11.
Seer. 2004 b. g., Pulpit–Potrinner (Arg), by Potrillazo. Owner: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 4-0-1-0, $8,800. 2013 record: 5-1-1-1, $15,000. 6-1 odds. Finished second in Radnor Hunt Cup on May 17 after fourth in Winterthur Bowl timber allowance race on May 4. Distanced in Middleburg Hunt Cup after falling at last fence of Carolina Cup timber allowance.
Brother Sy. 2005 b. g., Syncline—Cozy Rhythm, by Cozzene. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Diana Gillam. 2014 record: 3-2-0-0, $12,600. 10-1 odds. Won Willowdale amateur allowance timber race on May 11. Won Grand National’s Western Run Plate amateur apprentice timber race by 42 lengths on April 19 after fifth in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor a week earlier.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 2014 record: 2-2-0-0, $42,000. 2013 record: 5-1-1-0, $15,950. 7-2 odds. Made successful transition to timber racing and won Iroquois Steeplechase’s $50,000 Mason Houghland Memorial on May 10 after score in Middleburg Hunt Cup open timber race on April 19. Ended 2013 season with second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance.