S. Bruce Smart Jr.’s Orchestra Leader set all the pace in Sunday’s $30,000 James B. Holloway Hurdle and turned back a stretch challenge from Jack Frost to prevail by a half-length in the High Hope Steeplechase’s featured optional allowance hurdle.
Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile finished third, two lengths behind Irv Naylor’s Jack Frost, and Barracuda Stables’ Red Hammer collected fourth money, a length behind Swansea Mile. Both Swansea Mile and Red Hammer are trained by Ricky Hendriks.
Ross Geraghty, rider of Swansea Mile, claimed foul against Orchestra Leader and jockey Keri Brion for alleged interference in the stretch run, but stewards disallowed the claim.
Orchestra Leader was the only starter offered for a claiming price, and Rosbrian took him for $20,000, with Hendriks to train him. Orchestra Leader had been two for two in 2017 following a pacesetting win in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle on April 29 for trainer Jimmy Day.
Brion sent Orchestra Leader at the start on the Kentucky Horse Park course and opened a four-length early lead that diminished to one length at the last fence. Cyril Murphy-trained Jack Frost closed with a rush under Jack Doyle but was unable to overtake Orchestra Leader.
An eight-year-old by Van Nistelrooy, Orchestra Leader ran the Holloway’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:08.80 on firm turf.
Rosbrian’s Winter House broke into the win column over fences in High Hope’s secondary feature, the $25,000 Warm Spell maiden hurdle, which was run in memory of longtime steeplechase horseman Dr. John Griggs. Trained by Hendriks, Winter House scored his maiden victory by 3 1/2 lengths over Indigo Heart in 4:03.80 for 2 1/8 miles.