Irvin S. Naylor’s Lake Placid, who twice was claimed for $10,000 last year and then swept two races in a week to claim the National Steeplechase Association’s novice title, heads a field of seven for the $40,000 Georgia Cup, feature race of the 47th annual Atlanta Steeplechase on Saturday, April 14. First post time for the five-race program at the Kingston race course is 1:30 p.m.
A well-bred Giant’s Causeway gelding, Lake Placid won half of his 12 starts last year for three different owners and trainers. He was claimed out of his first 2011 start and then was claimed again in late summer, when trainer J. W. Delozier haltered him for leading owner Naylor.
In his first start in Naylor’s green and gold silks, Lake Placid won a $25,000 optional allowance at the International Gold Cup in Virginia on Oct. 15, and Naylor decided to wheel him back in the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, which are horses in their first seasons of competition over fences.
Lake Placid set the pace on deep, tiring ground at Far Hills, N.J., and won by 2 1/4 lengths over a tough field. Although he failed to finish in his next two starts, the Foxbrook score assured him the novice title. Ross Geraghty, regular jockey for Delozier, gets his first ride on Lake Placid in the Georgia Cup, which also is limited to novices.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard has a double-barreled entry for the two-mile Georgia Cup over National Fences. Parker’s Project, owned by Edward Swyer’s Hudson River Farms, will be making his first start since winning the $53,000 National Steeplechase Association J. P. Morgan optional allowance at Saratoga Race Course last August. Jacob Roberts assumes the mount.
Sheppard also entered his Sergeant Karakorum, a maiden winner last year who finished second in the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover optional allowance at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on March 31. Brian Crowley will ride.
Also in the Georgia Cup field are the second- and third-place finishers from the season-opening Budweiser Imperial Cup at Aiken, S.C., on March 24. Mede Cahaba Stable’s Class Indian took the second spot, and owner-trainer Michele Sanger’s Birthday Beau was third in the three-horse field.
Lilith Boucher, who trains Class Indian, named husband Richard Boucher to ride, and Birthday Beau will have the services of Carl Rafter.
Trainer Ted Thompson will send out Jubilee Stables’ Wantan, who finished a distant second to Lake Placid in the International Gold Cup optional allowance. The Argentina-bred gelding kicked off 2012 with a narrow win in a training flat race at the Carolina Cup. Bernie Dalton has the mount.
Former champion jockey Danielle Hodsdon is continuing her gradual transition from the saddle to training duties. She entered Dr. Wheat, who finished fifth in the Celebrate Aiken allowance race at Aiken Spring. Robbie Walsh will ride.