An accomplished field of 11 timber specialists will line up Saturday, May 1, for the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup, the featured race of the 85th annual Virginia Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va. Among the horses entered for the four-mile race over post-and-rail fences are defending timber champion Patriot’s Path, 2009 International Gold Cup victor Seeyouattheevent, and last year’s Pennsylvania Hunt Cup winner, Erin Go Bragh.
The emphasis will be on timber racing the following day at the fifth annual Winterthur Races in Delaware, where South Monarch heads the field for the $17,500 Winterthur Bowl.
A spring tradition as well as a fixture on the social calendar, the Virginia Gold Cup annually attracts more than 50,000 spectators and is one of the largest and most popular sporting events in the greater Washington metropolitan area.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel’s Seeyouattheevent comes into the Virginia Gold Cup from a two-length victory over Rainbows for Luck in the $20,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup in Middleburg, Va., on April 17. Erin Go Bragh finished third in that race.
In his final start of 2009, Seeyouattheevent had won the International Gold Cup by 3 1/2 lengths over the Great Meadow course. Willie Dowling, who rode the nine-year-old Event of the Year gelding in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, again will be aboard for the Virginia Gold Cup.
Gregory S. Bentley’s Rainbows for Luck also returns in the Virginia Gold Cup, in which all starters carry 165 pounds.
Fisher, the reigning National Steeplechase Association champion trainer, also will send out Arcadia Stable’s Bubble Economy, winner of the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup in 2008 and second in those races last year. Ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young, the 11-year-old Rakeen gelding rallied powerfully to finish second by a head in the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor on April 10.
Irvin Naylor’s Patriot’s Path comes into the Virginia Gold Cup from a fifth-place tune-up in the Grand National at Butler, Md., on April 17. Winner of last year’s Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville, Tenn., the ten-year-old Carnivalay gelding is trained by Desmond Fogarty, and Darren Nagle has the mount.
Also entering the Virginia Gold Cup from the Grand National is H. Bruce Fenwick’s Bon Caddo, who finished third.
Magalen O. Bryant’s Erin Go Bragh, trained by Doug Fout, won last year’s National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup at Middleburg’s fall meet before his victory over Patriot’s Path in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in Unionville. Jeff Murphy has the mount.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out EMO Stables’ He’s a Conniver, who closed out last season with a 4 3/4-length victory over Bon Caddo in the $20,000 Springdale timber race at the Colonial Cup meet in Camden, S.C., on Nov. 21.
Also in the field is Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Meet at Eleven, an Irish-bred 11-year-old who won the $20,000 C. P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup at the Carolina Cup meet in Camden on March 27. Carl Rafter again will ride for trainer Todd McKenna.
South Monarch heads Winterthur Bowl
Sanna N. Hendrik’s South Monarch, game winner of the My Lady’s Manor on April 10, returns to the races Sunday in the $17,500 Winterthur Bowl over 3 1/4 miles on the grounds of the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in Delaware.
The Winterthur Bowl, a 3 1/4-mile race over post-and-rail fences, attracted a field of seven horses who specialize in timber racing. South Monarch, an eight-year-old Conquistador Cielo gelding, took control in the latter stages of the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor in Butler, Md., and held off a strong challenge by Bubble Economy to win by a head. Trained by Neilson, South Monarch again will be ridden by Jody Petty.
Manown Kisor Jr.’s Gather No Moss finished second in a timber race at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase on April 24 in Mineral Springs, N.C. He concluded his 2009 season with a third-place finish in the Lewis C. Ledyard Memorial at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup meet in Unionville. In his previous start, the Awad gelding trained by Michael Berryman had won a timber allowance race at the Morven Park Steeplechase in Leesburg, Va.
–Written by Don Clippinger