Cary W. Jackson’s Northern Bay, sent off as the longest price in a $30,150 Philadelphia Park optional claiming race, powered to the lead at the final fence and drew clear to a stunning two-length victory under Jody Petty on Friday, June 4.
Making his first start of 2010, the five-year-old Sligo Bay gelding proved to be the fresh horse in a field of seven for the race over National Fences at about 2 1/6 miles. Easy Red finished second, and 6-to-5 betting favorite Best Alibi was third, 2 1/2 lengths farther back. Northern Bay went off at 26.70-to-1 odds and returned $55.40 on a $2 bet.
Leading jockey Paddy Young had won the day’s other steeplechase race, a maiden special weight, by setting all the pace aboard the Fields Stable’s Hidden Trail, and he attempted another front-end score with Perry J. Bolton’s Arch Hero, who established the fractions into the stretch the final time.
Never far back, Northern Bay advanced closer to the leader on the final run down the backstretch and found an seam before taking the final fence in stride. Under pressure from Petty, Northern Bay edged clear while Dumbarton Farm’s Easy Red closed ground to take the second spot. Trained by Todd Wyatt, Northern Bay ran the distance in 3:43.85 on firm turf.
Northern Bay had won his maiden victory over fences in March 2009 at the Carolina Cup Races and then finished third in the $50,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase, but he was unplaced in three subsequent starts.
–Written by Don Clippinger