Arcadia Stable’s Take Her Tothe Top, a Saratoga Race Course stakes winner last summer, will take on a well-balanced field of male opponents in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, an optional allowance hurdle that headlines the 37th annual Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, April 26. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the five-race program.
For leading trainer Jack Fisher, Take Her Tothe Top scored a breakthrough victory in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps for fillies and mares. She continued to perform well at the top of the female division last year, finishing third in Saratoga’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes, fourth in the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., and second in the Crown Royal Stakes at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia.
The six-year-old More Than Ready mare will be ridden by Xavier Aizpuru, the National Steeplechase Association’s champion jockey in 2007.
Irv Naylor, a three-time champion owner, will be represented by Irish-bred import Top Man Michael, who won the Gladstone Stakes for three-year-olds at Far Hills, N.J., in 2012. Now trained by Cyril Murphy, Top Man Michael will be ridden by Carol-Ann Sloan.
Ez Mac started out the 2014 season with a victory in a conditioned claiming hurdle at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 5 and soon had a new owner, Move Up Stable, and trainer, Kathy Neilson. Tim Carroll will ride.
Also entering the Van Clief Memorial from the Stoneybrook race is Westerly Farm’s Mr. Lickety, who finished second. Trained by Lilith Boucher, Mr. Lickety will be ridden by Richard Boucher.
Virginia-based owner-trainer Don Yovanovich will send out Mischief, who opened his 2014 season with a second in a Dogwood Classic claimer on April 5. Jacob Roberts has a return call. Also entering the Van Clief Memorial from that Colonial Downs race was Jeremy A. Batoff’s Certain Swagger, who finished third. Sam Jones will ride for Fisher.
Who do you like in the Daniel Van Clief Memorial?
Certain Swagger. 2009 b. g., Arch–Comedy, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 1-0-0-1, $2,000. 2013 record: 4-2-0-0, $19,200. 8-1 odds. Third in Dogwood Classic open claiming hurdle on April 5. Won 2013 Dogwood Classic maiden claimer and Queen’s Cup starter allowance. Fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup allowance hurdle before ninth in Saratoga Race Course optional allowance claimer.
Ez Mac. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Bianconi—Easy Weekend, by Red Ransom. Owner: Move Up Stable. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Tim Carroll. 6-1 odds. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $6,000. 2013 record: 4-2-0-0, $4,100. For former owner, won Stoneybrook claimer on April 5. Won 2013 Dogwood Classic $15,000 maiden claimer and then scored in Queen’s Cup starter handicap. Fifth in Radnor allowance before 9th in tough Saratoga optional allowance claimer.
Tempt Me Alex. 2009 b. g., Afleet Alex–Attemptress, by Meadowlake. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: David Byrne. 2013 record: 6-1-2-1, $19,200. 8-1 odds. Broke through for maiden victory at 2013 Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens.
Mischief. 2004 gr. or ro. g., With Approval–Be Mine, by Belong to Me. Owner-Trainer: Donald Yovanovich. Jockey: Jacob Roberts. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $3,600. 2013 record: 6-1-0-1, $16,600. 10-1 odds. Finished second in Dogwood Classic open claimer to start 2014 season. Won same race a year earlier.
Top Man Michael (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Pius—Top Brex (Fr), by Top Ville (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. 2013 record: 5-0-0-1, $6,000. 2012 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $15,000. 10-1 odds. Pulled up in Noel Laing after sixth in the first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Distant ninth in Parx Racing optional allowance hurdle. Impressive 2012 Gladstone winner fell at the last fence of the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at Camden, S.C., while bidding for the lead. Had a win and second over hurdles in Ireland before being imported.
Manacor (Ire). 2008 b. g., Refuse to Bend (Ire)–Mollyputtheketelon, by Rainbow Quest. Owner: Daybreak Stables. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Tom Bennett. 2013 record: 5-1-1-1, $15,100. 10-1 odds. Broke through for maiden victory at Montpelier Hunt Races in November.
Mr. Lickety. 2010 b. g., Powerscourt (GB)–Sugah Sugah, by Northern Baby. Owner: Westerly Farm. Trainer: Lilith Boucher. Jockey: Richard Boucher. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2013 record: 4-0-0-2, $6,000. 10-1 odds. Finished second in Stoneybrook conditioned claimer. Ended 2013 season with fifth in Colonial Cup’s Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial for three-year-olds.
Take Her Tothe Top. 2008 dk. b. or br. m., More Than Ready—Ceiling, by Boundary. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2013 record: 7-1-3-1, $70,650. 2012 record: No NSA starts. 3-1 odds. Finished second in Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal Stakes after fourth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes. Drew away to a 3 1/4-length victory in Saratoga’s 2013 Mrs. Ogden Phipps as lesser half of favored 2.95-1 entry, then was third in Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes.