Steeplechasing moves into Parx Racing on Sunday, June 5, for a pair of contests, including a $30,000 optional allowance race that features a well-matched group of nine jumpers.
Two members of the field–Cornhusker and Raven’s Choice–will be attempting to keep intact their perfect National Steeplechase Association records after winning their debut races over fences.
Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, a four-year-old Dynaformer gelding bred in England by Juddmonte Farms, won a $15,000 maiden hurdle by 3 3/4 lengths at the Foxfield Spring Races in Virginia on April 30. Tom Voss, currently the NSA’s leading trainer, named reigning champion jockey Paddy Young to ride.
Raven’s Choice, campaigned by the estate of Maryland horseman Cary W. Jackson, won a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden race by four lengths at the Virginia Gold Cup meet on May 7. Roddy Mackenzie, last year’s champion apprentice jockey, will ride for trainer Todd Wyatt.
Pennsylvania-based owner Mrs. Timothy Gardner will be represented by Class Century, who won a tough maiden race at the Carolina Cup Races in South Carolina on April 2, when the six-year-old Century City gelding defeated Parx entrant Fog Island by a length. Trainer Todd McKenna then sent Class Century into the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), in which he tired early and was pulled up on May 14. Carl Rafter will ride.
Owner-trainer Michele C. Sanger’s Fog Island, fifth to Raven’s Choice in Virginia, came back a week later to win the $25,000 George Sloan and John Sloan Sr., a Sport of Kings maiden race, by 4 3/4 lengths at the Iroquois Steeplechase meet in Nashville. Sanger named Ross Geraghty to ride.
Debra W. Kachel’s Lake Placid will be seeking his third win of the 2011 season. The Giant’s Causeway gelding won a Middleburg Spring maiden claiming race by 16 lengths on April 23, when he was claimed by trainer Ricky Hendriks from owner-breeder Bertram R. Firestone. Lake Placid subsequently won an optional allowance by 13 lengths at the Virginia Gold Cup meet before losing his rider in the James M. Moran Jr., a $25,000 Sport of Kings claiming race, at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 21. Jacob Roberts has the mount.
Owner Laura Thiel Shull will have two starters. Silent Vow won a claiming race at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 16, and Moving Violation, a maiden winner at the 2010 Atlanta meet, most recently was pulled up in a claimer at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland on May 28. Bernie Dalton rides Silent Vow for trainer Janet Elliot, and Robbie Walsh has the mount on Moving Violation for trainer Niall Saville.
Completing the field are Dumbarton Farm’s Sharps Island, making his first 2011 start for trainer Voss after scoring his maiden victory at Shawan Downs in Maryland last fall; and Anne Stern’s Peace Fire, a maiden who finished second in a Strawberry Hill maiden hurdle at Colonial Downs on May 21. Willie McCarthy will be aboard Sharps Island, and trainer Jack Fisher named Xavier Aizpuru on Peace Fire.
Also on tap at the suburban Philadelphia racetrack is a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle that attracted a field of seven. Both races will be run at 2 1/16 miles over National Fences. The Sport of Kings maiden hurdle was carded as the fifth, and the optional allowance will be the eighth race. First post time is 12:25 p.m.