Irvin S. Naylor’s Patriot’s Path, the reigning timber champion, returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday, Oct. 9, with a commanding 10 3/4-length victory in the $25,000 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in Geneseo, N.Y.
In the day’s other timber-racing feature, owner-trainer Bay Cockburn’s I’m Telling prevailed by a neck over Atrium in a $10,000 allowance race at the Morven Park Steeplechase in Leesburg, Va.
Darren Nagle, who regularly rides for Naylor and trainer Desmond Fogarty, found a winning formula for Patriot’s Path, an 10-year-old Carnivalay gelding. Armata Stables’ Haddix took second, and Athene Noctura Stables’ Plum Brush finished third in a field of seven. Patriot’s Path ran the Genesee Valley’s 3 1/2 miles in 8:05.20 on yielding turf.
A reliable timber horse, Patriot’s Path had gone more than a year since his last victory, in the Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase in May 2009. The Houghland capped a three-race winning streak that assured Patriot’s Path the National Steeplechase Association title based on 2009 earnings.
This year, his best previous finish was a third behind current timber leader Bubble Economy in the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup at The Plains, Va., on May 1. He most recently had finished fifth in the $25,000 Ski Roundtop Trophy at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md., on Sept. 25.
In an afternoon of close finishes at Morven Park–the biggest winning margin in five National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned races was a length–I’m Telling managed a narrow victory under jockey Jacob Roberts. Magalen O. Bryant’s Atrium finished a strong second for Robbie Walsh, and high weight Comanche Station was third with Jody Petty in the saddle.
I’m Telling, a 9-year-old Linkage gelding bred by Cockburn, ran the 3 1/4-mile distance in 6:44.60 on firm turf. I’m Telling previously had finished third in the Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia on April 17.
Also on the Morven Park program, Bill Pape’s Mixed Up tuned up for an expected start in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) with a second-place finish in a training flat race. Ridden by Danielle Hodsdon, the reigning steeplechase Eclipse Award winner finished a half-length behind Mede Cahaba Stable’s Class Indian. Richard Boucher rode the winner for his wife, trainer Lilith Boucher.
Finishing third in the training flat race was Dictina’s Boy, a Riverdee Stable runner who also is tuning up for an expected start in the Grand National at the Far Hills Races in New Jersey on Oct. 23. Class Indian ran the 1 1/4 miles in 2:15.60.