With titles up for grabs in all divisions, the National Steeplechase Association’s fall championship season will feature three top-ranked races for horses vying for the year’s Eclipse Award. At stake in 13 race meets will be more than $1.7-million in purses.
The three Grade 1 races are the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25; the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 23, and the season-ending $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 13.
Colonial Downs kicks off the fall season on Sept. 18, and then the action moves to the New Jersey shore for a full schedule of jump races with purses totaling $250,000 at Monmouth Park. In addition to the 2 1/2-mile Helen Haskell Sampson, the Sept. 25 program will include the $70,000 Metcalf Memorial Novice Stakes and the $30,000 Guelph Stakes for fillies and mares.
Timber racing will be in the spotlight on Oct. 16 at the International Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va. Highlighting the program will be the $50,000 International Gold Cup at 3 1/2 miles over timber fences.
The action returns to New Jersey the following week for the Far Hills meet, which will offer a season-high $500,000 in purse money. The historic Grand National at 2 5/8 miles over National Fences will be complemented by several other rich stakes races. The Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices will carry a $100,000 purse, and the Peapack for fillies and mares and the New Jersey Hunt Cup for timber horses each will have $50,000 at stake.
Both novices–horses in their first years of steeplechase competition–and female runners will be in action Nov. 6 at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Topping that program will be the $75,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle for horses in the Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle Series. Also featured will be the $30,000 Crown Royal Stakes, a part of the filly-and-mare competition in the Sport of Kings series. That race will be run in memory of George Sloan, a co-founder of the Sport of Kings competition.
Also scheduled for Nov. 6 is the 76th annual Montpelier Hunt Races, held at the former estate of Marion duPont Scott. The afternoon’s feature will be $40,000 Noel Laing Stakes at 2 1/2 miles over the Montpelier Brush Course. The following afternoon, timber horses will be featured in the $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in Unionville, Pa.
An exciting 2010 steeplechase season concludes Nov. 13 in Camden with the 41st Colonial Cup program, which will feature $190,000 in purses. Often a decisive race in the battle for an Eclipse Award, the $100,000 Colonial Cup Sponsored by Carolina First will be run at 2 3/4 miles over the Colonial Cup Course. The program also will feature the $25,000 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial for three-year-olds.