An all-star cast from American Steeplechasing’s top division will line up Saturday, April 21, at Glenwood Park for the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), the featured event at the 91st annual Middleburg Spring Races. First post for the seven-race program in the heart of Virginia’s hunt country in 1 p.m.
The Temple Gwathmey attracted the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers from the Carolina Cup (Gr. 3) in Camden, S.C., on March 31. That race was won by Eclipse Award champion Black Jack Blues.
Oakwood Stable’s multiple stakes winner Country Cousin challenged Black Jack Blues on the Carolina Cup’s final turn and held on for second. Trainer Julie Gomena named regular jockey Carl Rafter to ride Country Cousin, winner of last year’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs.
Arcadia Stable’s All Together, winner of last year’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga Race Course, briefly moved into second position in the Carolina Cup’s final circuit before giving way and finishing third. Xavier Aizpuru will ride the 2010 novice champion for trainer Jack Fisher.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered his Italian Wedding and Bill Pape’s Sermon of Love. Italian Wedding closed ground to finish fourth in the Carolina Cup, and Sermon of Love was sixth. Danielle Hodsdon will ride Italian Wedding, who won the Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga last August. Darren Nagle will be aboard Sermon of Love, winner of the 2010 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1).
Mary Ann Houghland’s Pierrot Lunaire returns to Glenwood after finishing third in last year’s Temple Gwathmey. The 2009 Iroquois Steeplechase winner subsequently finished fourth in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and sixth in the Grand National. Trainer Bruce Miller named Jacob Roberts to ride.
Trainer J. W. Delozier entered Irvin S. Naylor’s Via Galilei, an Irish-bred who was purchased and imported this spring. He finished fifth in Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle Handicap at Cheltenham Festival in March. Although he has never has won a stakes race, he was second in three handicaps last year, including the Paddy Power Imperial Cup at Sandown. Ross Geraghty will ride.
Completing the field is Karen B. Eyles’ Canardly, who finished second in his only 2011 start, the Block House, an allowance hurdle race at Tryon, N.C.