Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away, the 2010 Eclipse Award winner, heads a highly competitive group of 12 nominees to the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), the featured hurdle stakes race at the 92th annual Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday, April 20. First post time is 1 p.m. at the Glenwood Park course in the heart of Virginia’s horse country.
Trained by Tom Voss, Slip Away kicked off his championship season with an overpowering victory in the Temple Gwathmey. He showed signs of regaining a semblance of his best form with a credible second-place finish in the $25,000 Sandhills Cup open allowance at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in North Carolina on April 6.
Voss also nominated Armata Stables’ Cornhusker, the third finisher in Montpelier’s Noel Laing.
Finishing third in the star-studded Sandhills Cup was Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, who is the strongest member of four horses nominated by trainer Brianne Slater for the reigning three-time champion owner. Decoy Daddy finished second in the Noel Laing after winning the race in the preceding two years.
Naylor’s Lake Placid was the 2011 novice champion, and he won two starter allowance races last season while finishing off the board in two Saratoga Race Course novice stakes, the Jonathan Kiser and Michel G. Walsh Novice Stakes.
Naylor picked up Lake Placid by a $10,000 claim, and his other two nominees were acquired from overseas last year. French-bred You’re the Top finished sixth in his U.S. debut, the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. Irish-bred Jack Cool was out of the money in the Grand National and the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in Camden, S.C.
Virginia-based trainer Jimmy Day nominated Spy in the Sky and Duc de Savoie for Randleston Farm. Spy in the Sky pulled a 25-1 upset in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga last August and just missed in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park in September. Duc de Savoie opened his 2013 season with a fourth in the $50,000 Carolina Cup for novices at Camden on March 30.
Julie Gomena nominated Oakwood Stable’s dependable Country Cousin, who launched his 2013 campaign with a second-place finish in the Budweiser Imperial Cup at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on April 23.
Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian, winner of Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 27, never finished worse than second in 2012 and posted four stakes placings for trainer Leslie Young.
Rounding out the talent-packed group of Temple Gwathmey nominees is Clorevia Farm’s Extraextraordinary, the third finisher in Aiken’s Imperial Cup. Doug Fout trains Extraextraordinary in Middleburg.
Nominees for the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) are:
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Tom Voss. 2012 record: 6-1-0-2, $28,750. 2011 record: 6-1-1-0, $18,200. Most recently finished third in Montpelier’s Noel Laing on Nov. 3. Finished sixth in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 27 after amazing recovery from stumble to finish fourth in Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 16. Placed first in Foxfield’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial and then finished third in Radnor Hunt’s National Hunt Cup on May 19.
Country Cousin. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Lear Fan–Stony Lonesome, by Apalachee. Owner: Oakwood Stable (Nicole H. Perry). Trainer: Julie Gomena. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2012 record: 4-0-3-0, $34,500. 2011 record: 3-2-0-1, $64,500. Started 2013 with second-place finish in Aiken Spring’s Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3). Posted three straight second-place finishes in 2012 graded stakes—Carolina Cup (Gr. 3), Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), and Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) before sixth in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. Won the 2011 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs and Budweiser Imperial Cup at Aiken Spring.
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. 2013 record: 1-0-0-1, $2,500. 2012 record: 6-1-1-0, $34,300. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. Chased early speed and finished third in Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup open allowance on April 6. Finished fourth in Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on Nov. 17 after a second when bidding for third straight win in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap on Nov. 3. Finished fourth in both Grade 1 races at Saratoga Race Course, A. P. Smithwick Memorial Stakes and New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap. Finished sixth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), his first 2012 start. Won International Fegentri World Cup flat race at International Gold Cup on Oct. 20.
Duc de Savoie. 2006 b. g., Harlan’s Holiday—Tee for Three, by Lil E. Tee. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2012 NSA record: 6-1-1-0, $24,450. Finished fourth in Carolina Cup for novices on March 30. Pulled up in Charleston Cup optional allowance hurdle on Nov. 11. Finished distant sixth in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 20 after seventh, beaten 6 1/4 lengths, in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) on Sept. 27.
Extraextraordinary. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Giant’s Causeway—Scoop, by Gone West. Owner: Clorevia Farm. Trainer: Doug Fout. 2013 record: 1-0-0-1, $5,000. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $12,100. Began 2013 season with a third in the Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at Aiken Spring on March 23. Won his first start over fences at Colonial Downs on June 2 and also won a $25,000 starter allowance at the International Gold Cup on Oct. 20.
Gustavian. 2006 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Mossflower, by Affirmed. Owner: Hickory Tree Stable. Trainer: Leslie Young. 2012 record: 5-1-4-0, $70,500. 2011 record: 5-2-2-0, $33,800. Won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial as 1.35-1 favorite on Sept. 27. Never finished worse than second in 2012 and most recently was second in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J. on Oct. 20. Also finished second in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on June 2 after close second in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup on May 19. Finished second in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase in North Carolina on April 28.
Jack Cool (Ire). 2006 b. g., One Cool Cat—Rachrush (Ire), by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. 2012 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $0. Finished ninth in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on Nov. 17 in Camden, S.C. Made U.S. debut in Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., and was pulled up. Quality hurdler in England and Ireland had difficulty making the transition to bigger steeplechase fences last year.
Lake Placid. 2005 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Saranac Lake, by Smart Strike. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $27,500. 2011 record: 12-6-0-1, $114,750. 2011 novice champion scored two victories in starter allowance races but was unplaced in two Saratoga novice stakes, the Jonathan Kiser and Michael G. Walsh. Secured the 2011 novice championship with a front-running victory in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle a week after winning an optional allowance at International Gold Cup. Claimed twice in 2011.
Rainiero (Chi). 2002 b. g., African Dancer—Ultramar, by El Morgon. Owner: Augustin Stables. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2012 record: 4-2-1-1, $43,100. 2011 record: 3-3-0-0, $18,000. Won Noel Laing at Montpelier on Nov. 3 before chasing speedster and finishing second in Colonial Cup starter allowance race on Nov. 17. Won feature race at High Hope for fourth straight victory but streak ended with third in Saratoga optional allowance.
Slip Away. 2003 gr. or ro. g., Slip Away–Aurora Slew, by Slew’s Royalty. Owner: Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Trainer: Tom Voss. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, $4,500. 2012 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,750. 2011 record: 2-0-1-0, $31,500. 2010 Eclipse champion and Colonial Cup winner started 2013 with a solid second in the Sandhills Cup open allowance at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 6. Recorded a fourth-place finish in the Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier on Nov. 3 and a seventh in Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on Nov. 17 after setting pace. Previous start was a fourth in 2011 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) at Saratoga.
Spy in the Sky. 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassavaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. 2012 record: 6-1-1-1, $111,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. Ended 2012 season with a sixth in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup. Missed by a nose in Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park on Sept. 27. Upset A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1 on Aug. 2 and then was a respectable third in the New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1). Previously has two fourth-place finishes, in the Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Iroquois Steeplechase and David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs. Won the 2009 New York Turf Writers.
You’re the Top (Fr). 2004 b. g., Poliglote—Lolly Lodge, by Grand Lodge. Owner: Irvin S.
Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. 2012 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $7,500. Finished a distant sixth in the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 20 in his U.S. debut. Won the Ovrevoll Champion Hurdle in Norway on Sept. 23 after victory in Sweden two weeks earlier.