Leading steeplechase owner Irvin S. Naylor will have a strong hand in a very evenly matched field for a $15,000 open timber allowance, the featured contest of the 11th annual Races at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md., on Saturday, Sept. 24. First post time for the five-race program is 1 p.m.
The steeplechase action moves into Virginia on Sunday, Sept. 25, for the 34th annual Foxfield Fall Races in Charlottesville. One of the highlights of the five-race program is a $15,000 maiden race for up-and-coming fillies and mares. First post is 1:30 p.m.
Naylor, a York, Pa., businessman and steeplechase enthusiast, was the sport’s leading owner in 2010 and holds a sizable lead on the 2011 leader board. For the Shawan feature, he will be represented by Fieldview, who carries the 165-pound high weight in the 3 1/8-mile timber race, and Gorgeous Charger.
Jockey Carl Rafter picks up the mount on Fieldview, who is trained by Kathy McKenna. In his most recent start, Fieldview finished second in $10,000 Landhope Cup, a claiming timber race, at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 15. A week earlier, the eight-year-old Charismatic gelding had finished fourth in a $7,500 amateur highweight timber race at Winterthur in Delaware.
Trained by William Meister, Gorgeous Charger will be ridden by Mark Beecher. In his most recent start, the eight-year-old Awad gelding finished fourth in the $15,000 Willowdale Steeplechase after an early fall in the Maryland Hunt Cup on April 30. He finished third in Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National timber meet on April 23.
McKenna also will saddle Armata Stables’ Haddix, who will have 2010 leading apprentice jockey Roddy Mackenzie in the irons. In his most recent start, Haddix finished a good third in a $7,500 amateur highweight timber at Willowdale on May 15. The nine-year-old Deputy Commander gelding competed in all three Maryland spring timber classics and finished fifth in the My Lady’s Manor on April 16.
Trainer Teddy Mulligan will send out Kick On Stable’s Brands Hatch, who will be ridden by Liam McVicar. The ten-year-old A.P. Indy gelding started the season with a fourth-place finish in the Alfred M. Hunt allowance race at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia on April 23. In his most recent start, he was pulled up in the Radnor Hunt Cup in Malvern, Pa., on May 21.
Completing the field is owner-trainer Bay Cockburn’s I’m Telling, who will be making his first start of the year. Cockburn’s ten-year-old homebred Linkage gelding closed out 2010 with a victory in an optional allowance over timber fences at the Morven Park Steeplechase in Leesburg, Va., last October.
A maiden contest for fillies and mares at the Saratoga Open House on July 17 may prove to be a key indicator at Foxfield on Sunday. That race was won by Opera Heroine, who was victorious in the Mrs. Ogden Phipps Hurdle Stakes in her next start at Saratoga Race Course. In the Foxfield field are five competitors who finished behind her at the Open House.
Bill Pape’s Beating the Odds finished second but fell early in the Mrs. Phipps on Aug. 11. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard named Brian Crowley to ride. Finishing third was Red Dirt Girl, owned by Tuatha De Danann Stable. The Virginia-bred four-year-old filly also returned in the Mrs. Phipps and finished fourth. Robby Walsh has the mount for trainer Richard Valentine.
Sheppard also entered Cubist, a four-year-old Royal Academy filly he bred and owns, for the 2 1/8-mile Foxfield race. Cubist, who finished fourth to Opera Heroine in the Saratoga Open House race, will be ridden by Danielle Hodsdon.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor will be represented by Za Za Zu, a four-year-old Dynaformer filly who finished seventh at the Open House. James Slater has the mount on Za Za Zu, who is trained by his wife, Brianne Slater.
Owner-trainer Teddy Mulligan entered Ardagh, who was pulled up in the Saratoga Open House maiden race. Liam McVicar takes over the mount on the five-year-old Flatter mare.
Magalen O. Bryant’s homebred Quiet Flaine will be making her first start over fences, and trainer Doug Fout named Jeff Murphy to ride. Also making a steeplechase debut will be Margin Farm’s Smart Hokie, who is trained by Dale Jackson and ridden by Bernie Dalton.
Debra Kachel’s Secret Style will be making her first start over fences this year after being pulled up in the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., last fall. Champion jockey Paddy Young will ride for trainer Ricky Hendriks.
The Foxfield Fall program also includes a $15,000 maiden open maiden hurdle at 2 1/18 miles that attracted a full field.
For a 1 1/16-mile training flat race, Sheppard entered two of his 2010 stakes horses, Arcadius and Lead Us Not. Hudson River Farms’ Arcadius won the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) at Monmouth Park to give Sheppard his 1,000th win over fences on Sept. 25, and Pape’s Lead Us Not finished third in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills on Oct. 23.