Three Grade 1 winners, 2013 winner Decoy Daddy, and a formidable front-runner will line up on Saturday, April 19, for the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), featured race of the 93rd annual Middleburg Spring Races. First post time will be 1 p.m. at Glenwood Park Course.
Two of the three Grade 1 winners–Magalen O. Bryant’s Gustavian and owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Italian Wedding–collected their initial top-level victories last season.
Gustavian completed the 2013 season as the National Steeplechase Association’s second-leading earner and an Eclipse Award finalist. In his first starts after being purchased by Virginia resident Bryant, Gustavian won Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and was second in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. He stumbled and lost his rider at the last fence of the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) in November. Trainer Leslie Young named her husband, four-time champion jockey Paddy Young, to ride.
Italian Wedding returned from a long period on the sidelines to win the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course after a good second in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Unplaced in the Grand National, he finished third in the Colonial Cup. Willie McCarthy will ride for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Sheppard.
The third Grade 1 winner is Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, who upset the 2012 A. P. Smithwick. He also had upset the 2009 New York Turf Writers but was winless last year.
Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy kicked off a notable 2013 season with his Gwathmey victory. The veteran then won the Radnor Hunt Races’ $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) and in the fall was victorious in the Montpelier Hunt Races’ Noel Laing for a third time. Cyril Murphy, who took over training of Decoy Daddy before the Noel Laing, named Carol-Ann Sloan to ride.
Pleasant Woodman, owned by Virginia B. Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables, used his front-end speed to win the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at 2014’s first race meet in Aiken, S.C. Trained in Middleburg by Doug Fout, Pleasant Woodman will be ridden by Gerard Galligan.
Who do you like in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3)?
Gustavian. 2006 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Mossflower, by Affirmed. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2013 record: 5-1-2-1, $149,000. 2012 record: 5-1-4-0, $70,500. 2011 record: 5-2-2-0, $33,800. 3-1 odds. Finished second to Divine Fortune in the Grand National (Gr. 1), beaten 5 1/2 lengths, then unseated his rider in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Scored biggest victory of his career when he bested All Together by a nose in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at 3.85-1 on Sept. 19. Game second in Radnor Hunt Races’ National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 18 after third in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 20.
Inti (Uru). 2005 gr. or ro. g., Dubai Dust-Rigolina (Uru), by Ritz (Arg). Owner: Meritage Racing. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $33,500. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $20,400. 10-1 odds. Pulled 23.90-1 upset in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 1) on June 8. Finished fifth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Stakes for novices. Finished fourth in his first 2013 start, $25,000 Sandhills Cup at Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 6.
Pleasant Woodman. 2008 ch. g., Woodman—Pleasant Sands, by Sandpit (Brz). Owner: Virginia Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. 2013 record: 9-2-1-1, $36,550. 2012 record: 6-0-1-1, $6,210. 5-1 odds. Used his front-end speed to wire the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at the Aiken Spring meet on March 22. Won maiden hurdle at 2013 Aiken Spring and then wired the Budweiser Holiday Cup at Aiken Fall. Finished second in a Virginia Fall optional allowance hurdle.
Spy in the Sky. (146) 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassabaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2013 NSA record: 7-0-1-0, $25,100. 2012 record: 6-1-1-1, $111,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. 10-1 odds. His 2013 drought continued when pulled up in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Second to Decoy Daddy in Noel Laing Handicap at Virginia’s Montpelier Hunt Races on Nov. 2. Finished seventh in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Oct. 19. Finished fifth in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 19 and Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 22 after fourth in $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Finished seventh in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup in seasonal debut on May 18. Upset 2012 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1.
Molotof (Fr). 2007 gr. g., Smadoun—Memorial, by Homme de Loi. Owner: Mary Ann Houghland. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-1, $15,000. 10-1 odds. In U.S. debut, finished third in $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 11. Won 32red Casino Steeplechase Handicap at Warwick in February 2013 and was third in an Ascot steeplechase allowance before U.S. debut.
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. 2013 record: 7-3-0-1, $89,500. 2012 record: 6-1-1-0, $34,300. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. 6-1 odds. Collected his third victory in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap, then was seventh in the season-ending Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Finished seventh in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8. Came back after being headed to win Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 18. Drew away to an 8 1/2-length win in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring Races on April 20.
Italian Wedding. (150) 2005 b. g., Alphabet Soup–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 5-1-1-2, $133,000. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2011 record: 6-1-0-0, $55,200. 4-1 odds. Finished eighth in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 19, then was third in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Rallied for third in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 19. Notched a one-length score in Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 22. Finished a good second in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1 in his first start since fourth-place finish in the 2012 Carolina Cup.