Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away, never far behind the pace in the $100,000 Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), swept to the lead approaching the Springdale Course’s final turn and powered away to a definitive 25 3/4-length victory at Camden, S.C., on Saturday, Nov. 13.
Polaris Stables’ Preemptive Strike set the pace and held on for second; Irvin Naylor’s Tax Ruling held his position and finished third, with Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr.’s Swagger Stick taking fourth. Last year’s Colonial Cup winner, Bill Pape’s Mixed Up, finished fifth in a field of nine. Trained by Tom Voss and ridden by 2010 champion jockey Paddy Young, Slip Away ran the Colonial Cup’s 2 3/4 miles in 5:14.80 on firm ground.
The runaway victory gave the seven-year-old Skip Away gelding the National Steeplechase Association’s 2010 Lonesome Glory Champions Award based on earnings, moving him past Grand National (Gr. 1) winner Percussionist, who finished sixth in Naylor’s silks. (For other 2010 champions, please see One To Watch on the home page.)
With his Colonial Cup score, Slip Away became a leading candidate for the 2010 Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse. Even before he called Ken Ramsey, who was unable to attend the race, Voss had no doubt about the Eclipse. “If they don’t give it to this horse, there’s something wrong,” he said after watching the replay of Slip Away’s overpowering victory.
Slip Away has shown the mettle and toughness of his sire, Skip Away, the 1998 Horse of the Year. Slip Away made seven starts this year from April to November, won the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) and the Colonial Cup, and had three second-place finishes, including Monmouth Park’s Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) on Sept. 25 and the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills on Oct. 23.
Preemptive Strike went straight to the lead, and Young moved Slip Away to a stalking position through the first circuit of the Springdale course. Voss watched approvingly as Young kept Slip Away under a snug hold. “He doesn’t have great speed, but he makes up for it with a high galloping speed.”
Over the second to last fence, Slip Away glided to the lead and gradually increased his advantage to the final fence. Slip Away jumped the last of the natural Colonial Cup fences and quickly expanded his advantage to the finish line.