Bon Caddo, the 2011 Virginia Gold Cup victor, and the winners of major timber stakes in 2012 and 2013 are among the 17 nominees to the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup on Saturday, May 4.
The 88th Virginia Gold Cup will mark the arrival of pari-mutuel wagering at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains. The six-race program offers $200,000 in purse money, and first post time is 1:30 p.m.
Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo swept to the 2011 timber championship on the strength of victories in My Lady’s Manor and the Virginia Gold Cup. Now trained by Bruce Fenwick, Bon Caddo began the 2013 season with a third-place finish in the My Lady’s Manor on April 13 in Monkton, Md. Merrifield and Fenwick also nominated Foyle, who was placed first in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National in Butler, Md., on April 20.
The winners of the first two legs of Maryland’s timber triple crown were nominated to make their next starts in the four-mile Virginia Gold Cup. Nelson & Traveller Stable’s Moonsox struck first in the My Lady’s Manor when he carried Lia McGuirk to victory in her first ride under National Steeplechase Association rules. Kevin Boniface trains Moonsox, who finished second in the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Irv Naylor nominated Alfa Beat, who took down the Grand National with a solid drive that carried him to a five-length victory. Trained by Billy Meister, Alfa Beat had been a steeplechase handicap winner in his native Ireland.
Naylor, the three-time champion owner, also nominated Ebanour, winner of a John Rush Streett maiden timber division at My Lady’s Manor, and Herons Well, an Irish import who finished fourth in a Streett division. Meister trains Herons Well, and Brianne Slater handles Irish-bred Ebanour.
Meister, a prolific timber horseman, also trains Gold Cup nominee He’s Got Mojo for Holbrook Hollow Farm. He’s Got Mojo finished seventh in the first division of the Streett.
Jack Fisher, the reigning champion trainer and top timber trainer, nominated Straight to It, winner of the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup in Far Hills, N.J. Owned by Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster, Straight to It finished second in this year’s My Lady’s Manor.
Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed, winner of the 2012 International Gold Cup on the Great Meadow course, was nominated to the Gold Cup by trainer Alicia Murphy. Grinding Speed fell while bidding for the lead in the My Lady’s Manor.
With a new owner and trainer, Hot Rize rose to the top in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, a timber allowance race on April 20. The timber veteran is owned by Holston Hall and trained by Edward Mulligan.
Nominees to the 2013 Virginia Gold Cup are:
Alfa Beat (Ire) 2004 gr. or ro. g., Environment Friend (GB)—Belle d’Anjou (Fr), by Saint Cyrien (Fr). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. 2013 record: 2-1-1-0, $1,800. 2012 NSA record: 6-0-1-0, $3,050. Made steady progress through Grand National field and won by five lengths on April 20. A week earlier, finished second in first division of John Rush Streett maiden timber. Two-time winner of the Guinness Kerry National Handicap Steeplechase at Listowel in Ireland.
Bon Caddo. 2001 b. g., Bon Point (GB)–Tactical Info, by Tactical Advantage. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2013 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,000. 2012 record: 2-0-0-2, $10,500. 2011 record: 5-2-1-0, $73,500. Started 2013 season with a third in My Lady’s Manor. Timber champion of 2011 finished third in the 2012 My Lady’s Manor and then was third in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Front-running winner of the My Lady’s Manor in first 2011 start, then won Virginia Gold Cup.
Dakota Slew. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Slew City Slew—Klearlee Kiera, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2012 record: 5-2-0-2, $18,000. 2011 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,750. Won timber allowance at 2012 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fall in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished third, beaten two lengths, in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase timber allowance race on Sept. 29. Won John Rush Streett maiden race at My Lady’s Manor on April 14 and was third in Fair Hill novice timber allowance on May 26.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge (Ire)—Ebadiyla, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $6,000. Made successful transition to timber late in 2012 season and finished second in a Callaway maiden race. Opened 2013 with victory in second division of John Rush Streett amateur maiden race at My Lady’s Manor on April 13.
Farndale. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Petionville—Admonish, by Caveat. Owner: Mimi Voss. Trainer: Tom Voss. 2013 record: 2-0-1-1, $5,600. 2012 record: 4-1-0-0, $10,400. Virginia Fall maiden timber winner finished third in Carolina Cup timber allowance and second in Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 20.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. 2012 record: 3-1-1-1, $10,300. 2011 record: No starts. Declared winner of Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial after first two finishers went off course. Started his timber career last fall and won maiden victory at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in November. Maiden on flat last raced at Laurel Park in February 2008.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2012 record: 6-3-3-0, $55,350. 2011 record: 6-3-3-0, $55,350. Fell while leading in 2013 My Lady’s Manor. Had a strong 2012 season with victory in the International Gold Cup in Virginia on Oct. 20 after a good second in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup at Virginia Fall on Oct. 6. Won maiden timber race at Winterthur and then scored in novice timber race at Fair Hill, Md. on May 26.
He’s a Conniver. 2002 ch. g., Crafty Friend—Better to Be Lucky, by Roberto. Owner: EMO Stables. Trainer: Donald Yovanovich. 2013 record: No starts. 2012 record: No starts. Winner of 2010 International Gold Cup making his first start since a fourth in timber allowance at 2011 Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C.
He’s Got Mojo. 2003 b. g., He’s Got Gall—Poetic Gift, by Arrived (Fr). Owner: Holbrook Hollow Farm. Trainer: Billy Meister. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2012 record: 2-0-0-0, $300. Finished seventh in first division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor on April 13. Pulled up in final 2012 start after being distanced in prior start.
Herons Well (GB). 2003 b. g., Heron Island (Ire)—The Storm Bell (Ire), by Glacial Storm. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Billy Meister. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $500. Finished fourth in second division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor on April 13. Won over steeplechase fences at Aintree in June 2012.
Hot Rize. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Sultry Song—Donesia, by Desert Wine. Owner: Holston Hall. Trainer: Edward Mulligan. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,050. 2011 record: 7-2-1-2, $23,100. For new owner and trainer, won Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 20. Finished fourth in 2012 International Gold Cup after sixth in National Sporting Museum Chronicle Cup.
Jewel of the West (Ire). 2004 b. g., Desert Prince (Ire)—Tycooness (Ire), by Last Tycoon (Ire). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. 2013 record: No starts. 2012 record: No NSA starts. Had little success in Irish steeplechases. Most recent win was in October 2009.
Justpourit (Ire). 1999 b. g., Glacial Storm–Gale Choice, by Strong Gale. Owner: Lucy Stable. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,575. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,000. 2011 record: 4-1-3-0, $14,400. Finished fifth in 2013 Grand National after fourth in the John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor. In only 2012 start, finished fourth in the Radnor Hunt Cup at Malvern, Pa. Won the 2011 John D. Schapiro Memorial before three second-place finishes, including the Radnor Hunt Cup.
Moonsox. 2006 ch. g., Mojave Moon–Sister Sox, by Deputy Minister. Owner: Nelson & Traveller Stable. Trainer: Kevin Boniface. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2012 record: 4-0-1-0, $10,350. 2011 record: 4-1-1-2, $17,937. Won 2013 My Lady’s Manor by 1 3/4 lengths after leading early, dropping back to last, and then making a big late run. Finished second in the New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 20 before a fall in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup on Nov. 4. Never out of money in his four timber starts in 2011.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Mrs. Cary Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. Finished second to Ebanour in first division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor on April 13.
Spencer Road. 2006 b. h., Slew City Slew—Snars Good Fortune, by Snars. Owners: Gerry Brewster, Eleanor T. Russell, and Joseph Tydings. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2013 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,000. Finished third in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor before being disqualified from second to last for going off course in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Grand National on April 20.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2012 record: 3-2-0-1, $39,500. 2011 record: 7-1-1-0, $31,500. Rallied for second in My Lady’s Manor on April 13. Made successful transition to timber and won the New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 20. Won maiden victory over timber at Shawan Downs on Sept. 29. In only other 2012 start, finished third in Bright Hour, an amateur starter hurdle, at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12.