Randleston Farm’s Sky in the Sky, facile winner of the 2010 Carolina Cup, returns for a shot at a second helping in the featured race of the 79th annual Carolina Cup Races on Saturday, April 2, at Camden, S.C.
The seven-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding will meet a very well balanced field of four opponents in the $50,000 Carolina Cup (Gr. 3), the first graded stakes race of the 2011 National Steeplechase Association season.
The 2 1/4-mile race over natural fences on the Springdale Course will be the fifth of six races on the Carolina Cup program, which annually attracts the largest crowd of the NSA season. Gates open at 9 a.m., and the first race is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Trained by Jimmy Day, Sky in the Sky enters the Carolina Cup from a ten-month layoff. After his five-length Carolina Cup victory, he finished fourth behind eventual Eclipse Award champion Slip Away in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) in Middleburg, Va., on April 17 and then was fourth in a flat race at Colonial Downs in late May. Champion jockey Paddy Young, who rode Spy in the Sky to victory in last year’s Carolina Cup, again will be in the saddle.
Spy in the Sky’s principal competition appears to be Irvin S. Naylor’s Tax Ruling, who shares the Carolina Cup’s 154-pound highweight with the 2010 winner. Tax Ruling, an eight-year-old Dynaformer gelding, won last spring’s richest race, the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville, after finishing sixth in the Carolina Cup.
Tax Ruling closed 2010 with a third-place finish behind Slip Away in the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on the Springdale Course. Trainer Desmond Fogarty named regular jockey Darren Nagle aboard Tax Ruling.
Sue Sensor’s Sunshine Numbers enters the Carolina Cup from a victory on the Colonial Cup program, a repeat win in the $20,000 Hobkirk Hill, a starter allowance race. The 2009 New York-bred champion steeplechase horse finished fourth in last year’s Carolina Cup. Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., the nine-year-old Polish Numbers gelding will be ridden by Jody Petty.
Champion trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle Bill Pape’s The Price of Love, who had a limited campaign of two races last season and most recently finished third in the $40,000 Noel Laing at Montpelier in Virginia in November. The eight-year-old Prenup gelding was a stakes winner in 2008 and 2009. Danielle Hodsdon has the mount.
Completing the field is Gil Johnston’s Swagger Stick, who placed in major stakes races over hurdles and timber fences last year without reaching the winner’s circle. The ten-year-old Cozzene gelding finished fourth in the Colonial Cup in his most recent start. Trainer Jack Fisher named Willie Dowling to ride.