Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away will attempt to carry his front-running speed over three miles on Saturday, May 8, when he meets a talented field in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois, the featured event of a rich racing program at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. Slip Away’s opponents include Bill Pape’s Mixed Up, the reigning Eclipse Award winner as champion steeplechase horse.
The 69th edition of the Iroquois Steeplechase, with purses totaling $395,000, will be one of three National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned race meets on a busy weekend. The Tanglewood Cup Steeplechase returns to the schedule in Clemmons, N.C., and Mother’s Day will feature a seven-race program at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa.
Slip Away enters the Calvin Houghland Iroquois from a dazzling, front-end victory in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey at the Middleburg Spring Races in Middleburg, Va., on April 17. The seven-year-old Skip Away gelding slipped away from a strong field at the top of Middleburg’s stretch, took the last fence with a 12-length lead, and won the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey, a Grade 3 race, by nine lengths.
Trainer Tom Voss named reigning champion jockey Paddy Young to ride Slip Away in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois, in which all starters will carry 158 pounds.
Voss, a four-time champion trainer (1997, 2000-’02), also entered Your Sum Man, an Irish import who won the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J., last October. Ross Geraghty was named to ride The Fields Stable’s eight-year-old gelding, who will be making his first 2010 start.
Mixed Up, trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, finished fifth in the Temple Gwathmey, which was his 2010 debut. Under regular jockey Danielle Hodsdon, the Carnivalay gelding locked up his 2009 steeplechase championship with a victory in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in Camden, S.C., last November.
Sheppard, who currently leads the National Steeplechase Association standings by both wins and earnings, also will send out Hudson River Farms’ Arcadius, winner of the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover Hurdle at the Carolina Cup meet in Camden on March 27.
Taking a third shot at running down Slip Away is Chess Board, who finished second in the Temple Gwathmey. Last fall, the English-bred gelding owned by Eldon Farm and Brookhill Farm finished second to the front-runner in the Noel Laing at the Montpelier Hunt Races in Virginia. Trainer David M. Bourke named Bernie Dalton to ride.
Well-Balanced Field for Tanglewood Cup
Magalen O. Bryant’s Triplekin will seek his second victory of the year when he carries the 156-pound high weight in the $25,000 Tanglewood Cup, the featured event of the 45th annual Tanglewood Cup Steeplechase on Saturday at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Triplekin will face a well-balanced field in the Tanglewood Cup, a 2 1/8-mile race over National Fences. The five-year-old Makin gelding will be ridden by Richard Boucher, who was in the saddle when he won his maiden victory by 2 1/4 lengths at the Block House Races in Tryon, N.C., on April 17.
Also coming into the Tanglewood Cup from a victory at Block House is owner-trainer Michael Berryman’s Johann Star, who scored a runaway victory in the Cannon Harmon Memorial maiden claiming race. Mark Watts again has the mount.
EMO Stables’ Indy Run will have Roddy Mackenzie aboard as he seeks to improve on a third-place finish in the $25,000 Carolina First Block House Steeplechase, the featured race at the Tryon course.
Trainer Jazz Napravnik will send out Farah T Salute, a seven-year-old Boy Done Good mare who won her final two starts of 2009, a maiden race at the Aiken Fall meet in Aiken, S.C., and the Palm Beach Filly and Mare Hurdle at the year’s final National Steeplechase Association race meet in Palm Beach, Fla., on November 28. Farah T Salute opened the year with a fifth-place finish in the Celebrate Aiken allowance hurdle on March 20.
Making his first start of the year will be Dumbarton Farm’s homebred Easy Red, who finished third to Swagger Stick in an allowance hurdle race at Palm Beach. Trained by Tom Voss, the Charismatic gelding won Laurel Park’s 2006 Jennings Handicap on the flat. Easy Red is second in the weights under the Tanglewood Cup’s allowance conditions at 152 pounds, and Matt McCarron will be in the saddle.
Vinnie Boy seeks second Willowdale Steeplechase win
Vinnie Boy will be shooting for a second straight victory in the $15,000 Willowdale Steeplechase on Sunday when he meets a competitive field in the feature contest of the 18th annual Willowdale.
Owned by Adair Bonsal Stifel and trained by Blythe Miller Davies, Irish-bred Vinnie Boy won the 2009 Willowdale Steeplechase by three-quarters of a length over Twill Do in only his second U.S. start.
The 13-year-old gelding most recently was forced off course in the Maryland Hunt Cup (won by Twill Do) in Glyndon on April 24. Patrick Worrall will ride Vinnie Boy in the 3 1/2-mile race on the Willowdale steeplechase course.
Also entering the Willowdale Steeplechase from the Hunt Cup is Stewart Strawbridge’s Western Fling, who finished fourth in the Maryland timber classic. Trained by Katherine N. McKenna, Western Fling will be ridden by Mark Beecher.
Also in the field is the third finisher in the ’09 Willowdale Steeplechase, Jeremy A. Batoff’s Prospectors Strike. From the barn of reigning champion trainer Jack Fisher, the 11-year-old Smart Strike gelding won the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial by a half-length at the Grand National meet in Butler, Md., on April 17. Justin Batoff has the mount.
Fisher also will saddle Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park, who most recently finished fourth in a strong edition of the Middleburg Hunt Cup at Middleburg, Va., on April 17.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Incomplete, winner of the 2009 My Lady’s Manor in Monkton, Md., will seek his first victory of the year in the Willowdale Steeplechase. Trained by Ann Stewart and ridden by Charles C. Fenwick III, the nine-year-old Press Card gelding fell at the last fence of this year’s Grand National while making a valiant effort to catch the front-running winner, Across the Sky.
–Written by Don Clippinger