Edith R. Dixon’s Schoodic, unbeaten and untested in his three starts over fences, will face the biggest challenge of his career when he meets a tough field in the $50,000 Marcellus Frost at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on Saturday, May 10.
The Marcellus Frost highlights novices, or horses in their first seasons of competition over fences. They are American Steeplechasing’s rising stars, and Schoodic shows promise of being one of the brightest new players.
Trained by Jack Fisher, he cruised to last year’s three-year-old championship and then won his 2014 debut in the Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle by 1 1/2 lengths at Colonial Downs in Virginia on April 5. Champion jockey Paddy Young will ride Schoodic for the Marcellus Frost’s 2 1/4 miles at Percy Warner Park.
The Marcellus Frost’s likely pacesetter is Pleasant Woodman, owned by Nashville resident Virginia Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. The Woodman gelding’s high cruising speed carried him to victory in Aiken Spring’s Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) on March 22, and he finished third in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) after leading at the last fence. Gerard Galligan will ride for trainer Doug Fout.
Trainer Richard Valentine will saddle Gil Johnston’s Awesome Pearl, who finished second in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices on April 26. A Chattanooga resident, Johnston won last year’s Marcellus Frost with Mr. Hot Stuff. Kieran Norris has the mount on Awesome Pearl.
Where’s the Beef, from the powerful stable of current leading owner Irv Naylor, will attempt to make a successful 2014 debut in the Marcellus Frost. For a prior owner, Where’s the Beef won the AFLAC Supreme Hurdle for novices last November in Georgia. Kathy Neilson takes over the training of Where’s the Beef, and current leading jockey Willie McCarthy will ride.
Also making his 2014 debut is The Fields Stable’s Kingdom, who was the last jumps winner for trainer Tom Voss, who died in January. Voss’ daughter, Elizabeth Voss Murray, has taken over the training operation, and she named 2012 champion jockey Ross Geraghty to ride.
Here is the field for the $50,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes.
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2013 record: 2-2-0-0, $30,000. 3-1 odds. Remained undefeated over fences with score in Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5. Did nothing wrong in his two 2013 victories, daylight scores in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes and Colonial Cup’s Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial, on his way to three-year-old championship.
Awesome Pearl. 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Awesome Again–Gottcha Last, by Pleasant Tap. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2013 record: 4-2-0-0, $22,800. 6-1 odds. Finished second, beaten 2 1/4 lengths, in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices near Charlotte on April 26. Won the Montpelier Cup optional allowance hurdle at the Montpelier Hunt Races in November after maiden victory at International Gold Cup.
Labonte. 2008 b. g., A.P. Indy–Wife for Life, by Dynaformer. Owner: Rose Marie Bogley. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2013 record: 4-1-0-0, $12,000. 15-1 odds. Won maiden victory over fences at Iroquois last year. Finished year with seventh-place finish in Colonial Cup allowance hurdle.
Rudyard K. 2009 b. g., Kipling—Two Bridges, by Major Impact. Owner: Frances Hill Myers. Trainer: F. Hill Parker. Jockey: Richard Boucher. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $4,500. 2013 record: 5-2-0-2, $27,000. 10-1 odds. Respectable second to rising star Schoodic in Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5. Easily won Steeplechase at Callaway claiming hurdle before third in Colonial Cup starter allowance hurdle. Collected maiden victory at Block House Races in Tryon, N.C.
Run to Class. 2010 b. g., Read the Footnotes–Runaway Zia, by Runaway Groom. Owner: Edition Farm. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Harry Haynes. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $8,000. 20-1 odds. Homebred started 2014 season with fourth-place finish in Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 26. New York-bred made a promising start over fences with a victory at Virginia Fall but then was unplaced in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes and Colonial Cup’s Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial, both for three-year-olds.
Pleasant Woodman. 2008 ch. g., Woodman—Pleasant Sands, by Sandpit (Brz). Owner: Virginia Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. 2014 record: 2-1-0-1, $35,000. 2013 record: 9-2-1-1, $36,550. 5-1 odds. Front-running winner of Aiken Spring’s $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) then finished third in $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) after leading over last. Wired Aiken Fall’s $25,000 Budwiser Holiday Cup optional allowance after second in similar race at Virginia Fall. Scored maiden victory at 2013 Aiken Spring meet.
Where’s the Beef. 2008 gr. or r. g., Rockport Harbor—Clair de Lune, by Regal Classic. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 4-2-1-0, $43,500. 8-1 odds. Won Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle before sale and was pulled up in Colonial Cup allowance hurdle on Nov. 23. Won Foxfield Fall maiden hurdle by 18 lengths on Sept. 29 after second in tough Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Atlanta Steeplechase.
Cognashene. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Catch the Ring, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Virginia’s Friendship Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Jacob Roberts. 2014 record: 1-0-0-1, $2,500. 2013 NSA record: 9-1-2-1, $29,200. 15-1 odds. Opened 2014 with third-place finish in Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5. Finished second in Charleston Cup optional allowance after being pulled up in Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle on Nov. 2. Finished an even fourth in the first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Won maiden hurdle at Colonial Downs on June 8.
Kingdom. 2009 b. g., Louis Quatorze—Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2013 record: 10-2-2-1, $63,910. 10-1 odds. Closed out busy season with gritty victory in Colonial Cup allowance hurdle. Fifth in first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Had second and third in Saratoga optional allowances after fourth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 25. Won Fair Hill maiden race by 19 lengths on May 25. Finished second in the 2012 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial Stakes. Mimi Voss-bred is half brother to two-time filly and mare champion Guelph (2005 and 2008).