The 60th annual Virginia Fall Races on Saturday, Oct. 4, offers an action-packed afternoon of steeplechase racing at Middleburg’s Glenwood Park Course, and the program will include will feature two exciting stakes races. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
New to the schedule is the $40,000 W. Gary Baker Memorial Hurdle Stakes, a 2 1/8-mile race over National Fences. It honors the memory of Virginia Fall’s long-time race chairman who died in January. The race attracted five nominees, including recent winners Manacor, Odi et Amo, and Able Deputy.
Owned by Daybreak Stables and trained by Jimmy Day, Manacor scored a game neck victory in a $65,000 allowance hurdle at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 6. Athene Noctura Stables’ Odi et Amo waltzed away to an 8 1/2-length score in the High Hope Steeplechase’s Jay Trump starter hurdle on May 18 for trainer Allison B. Fullmer.
An intriguing newcomer is Irv Naylor’s Able Deputy, a recent import who won Worcester’s Toteplacepot Handicap in late August. The seven-year-old British-bred gelding now is trained by Cyril Murphy.
Middleburg horseman Doug Fout nominated Betsy Mead’s Forgotten Man, most recently fifth in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices on April 26.
Completing the W. Gary Baker nominees is Rosbrian Farm’s Wantan, winner of a Virginia Gold Cup starter hurdle on May 3. Trained by Ricky Hendriks, the Argentine-bred most recently was pulled up in a Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 18.
Also on the eight-race Virginia Fall program is the $35,000 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, a 3 1/4-mile race over timber fences. Among its six nominees is Radnor Hunt Cup winner Moonsox, who is in the chase for the 2014 timber championship. Owned by Nelson & Traveller Stable, also won the Winterthur Bowl on May 4 for trainer Kevin Boniface.
Currently atop the timber standings is Armata Stable’s Cornhusker, who won the Middleburg Hunt Cup and Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial Timber Stakes in the spring. The British-bred Dynaformer gelding is trained by Alicia Murphy.
Also representing Armata will be Todd Wyatt-trained Brother Sy, winner of a Willowdale Steeplechase allowance timber race on May 11.
Naylor, last year’s leading timber owner and the current overall leader, nominated Chess Board, the Radnor Hunt Cup’s sixth-place finisher who is trained by Billy Meister.
Magalen O. Bryant, a prominent Northern Virginia owner and breeder, is represented in the nominations by Dakota Slew and Adios Diablo. Richard Valentine trains Dakota Slew, who most recently was pulled up in the Mason Houghland. Fout trains homebred Adios Diablo, a maiden.