Irv Naylor’s Saluda Sam, the ageless king of the steeplethons, will line up against a highly competitive field for Saturday’s $40,000 Steeplethon at the International Gold Cup.
The Steeplethon is a uniquely Virginia race over a variety of fences and through water, and 12-year-old Saluda Sam has had undisputed success in them. He won the 2015 edition of the International Gold Cup’s Steeplethon and finished third last year.
Trained by Billy Meister, he kicked off the current season with his second straight victory in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase but was pulled up in the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon on soft ground. Sean McDermott will ride.
Meister also entered Naylor’s Takepointsandrun, a maiden over timber after a winning hurdle career. Gus Dahl has the mount.
Trainer Alicia Murphy will saddle Ivy Hill Stable’s On the Corner, who finished third in the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. The 11-year-old Smart Strike gelding finished second in last year’s International Gold Cup Steeplethon. He most recently finished sixth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library and Museum Cup on Oct. 14 under Keith Dalton, who will ride him on Saturday.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher entered Bruton Street-US’s Preseli Rock, an import who won easily at the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Hadden Frost has the mount. Another recent maiden winner is owner-trainer Jeff Murphy’s Secret Soul, who broke through at Virginia Fall. Byron Moorcroft will ride.
Here are the field for the $40,000 Steeplethon Stakes in post-position order.
Preseli Rock (Ire). 2010 ch. g., Flemensfirth—Chantoue Royale, by Cadoudal. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. Breeders: Patrick Cullinan and Sandra Bromley (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $0, $9,000. Broke through for a 6 1/4-length victory in 2017 Genesee Valley maiden timber. Pulled up in his previous two starts. Had a maiden victory over steeplechase fences in England in 2016.
Secret Soul. 2010 b. g., Perfect Soul—Cherokee’s Disco, by Cherokee Run. Owner-trainer: Jeff Murphy. Jockey: Byron Moorcroft. Breeder: McKathan Brothers. (Fla.) 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. 2016 record: 3-0-0-0, $1,650. Won his first trip over timber in 2017 Virginia Fall maiden. Had a brief career over hurdles and finished fourth in Aiken Fall maiden.
Hishi Soar. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Theatrical (Ire)—Go On Baby, by With Approval. Owner: Randolph D. Rouse Trust. Trainer: E. Kevin Palmer. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Kaleem Shah (Ky.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. 2016 record: 4-1-0-0, $16,800. Finished third in 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial at Foxfield Spring. Won 2016 Van Clief to make his owner the oldest trainer at age 99 to saddle a U.S. winner. Finished fifth in Foxfield Fall optional allowance hurdle and Virginia Fall Ratings Handicap, then was ninth in Montpelier handicap.
Saluda Sam. 2005 ch. g., Adcat—Super Skirt, by Proud Truth. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: F. R. Bobby Nelson (S.C.) 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. 2016 record: 5-1-0-2, $18,400. 2015 record: 4-3-1-0, $49,200. Won Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase and then was pulled up on soft ground in the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. Won 2016 Virginia Fall’s Steeplethon between third-place finishes in Steeplethons at Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup. Won International Gold Cup’s 2015 Steeplethon.
Boogie Biz. 2010 b. g., Nobiz Like Showbiz—My Dance, by Rhythm. Owner: Happenstance Stable and Harry Lebo. Trainer: Mark Beecher. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Charles W. Walters Jr. and Elizabeth J. Volando (Md.). 2017 record: 2-1-1-0, $17,700. 2016 record: 2-0-1-0, $2,700. Won 2017 Fair Hill novice timber by 1 1/4 lengths after second in Winterthur timber maiden. Won flat maiden and had a second over hurdles.
On the Corner. 2006 b. g., Smart Strike—Miss Otis, by One for All. Owner: Ivy Hill Stable. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Keith Dalton. Breeder: Henry T. Rathbun (Md.). 2017 record: 4-0-1-1, $7,900. 2016 record: 3-0-2-0, $14,400. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-0-2, $4,000. Finished fifth in 2017 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup at Virginia Fall. Finished second in 2017 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur allowance timber at My Lady’s Manor and was third in Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon before a fall in a Willowbrook timber allowance. Finished second in Steeplethons at 2016 Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup.
Takepointsandrun. 2010 ch. g., Point Given—Town Queen, by Williamstown. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeders: Carl Hurst, Fred Bradley, and William Bradley (Ky.). 2017 record: 4-0-0-0, $2,800. 2016 record: 7-2-0-0, $27,350. In new career as a timber horse, finished fourth in 2017 Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase after fifth in Carolina Cup’s C. P. and Edith DuBose Cup timber allowance. Finished fourth in Winterthur Bowl, fell in Willowdale timber maiden, and was fifth in Genesee Valley maiden.
Triton Light. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Vicar—Angela, by Private Terms. Owner-trainer: Nicki Valvo. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Coleswood Farm (W.Va.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. 2015 record: 5-0-0-1, $5,200. Went off course in Virginia Gold Cup’s 2017 Steeplethon. Made two hurdle starts in 2016, a fourth in a Middleburg Spring allowance before being pulled up in a High Hope handicap.