Wanganui, last year’s National Steeplechase Association champion three-year-old, will seek to get his 2012 season on track in a $30,000 optional allowance race, the steeplechase feature at Parx Racing on Tuesday, June 12.
The optional allowance will be one of three jump races on the program at the Bensalem, Pa., track; also featured will be the $25,000 Roger Legg Classic for Pennsylvania-bred maidens. The optional allowance will be the seventh race on an 11-race program.
Owned by the Fields Stable of New Jersey residents Betty and Laddy Merck, Wanganui was unbeaten over fences last year to claim the three-year-old title. He made his 2012 debut on May 19 in the National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Cup in Malvern, Pa., where he set the early pace but unseated his rider at the sixth fence.
For the Parx race, Wanganui will be reunited with his regular jockey in 2011, Paddy Young. Champion jockey the last three years, Young broke his arm in a jump race in late March and returned with a victory at Colonial Downs on June 2. Tom Voss trains Wanganui, who was bred in Maryland by his wife, Mimi.
Wanganui will be challenged by a field of jumpers seeking to advance beyond their maiden victories. Among them is Wild for Gold, owned by now-retired Pennsylvania trainer Gene Weymouth. Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Janet Elliot, Wild for Gold won his maiden victory at Penn National Race Course last June. He concluded 2011 with third-place finishes in South Carolina, in the Budweiser Holiday Cup, an allowance race at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase, and the Charleston Cup, an optional allowance on Nov. 13. Brian Crowley will ride.
Leading steeplechase owner Irvin S. Naylor will throw a one-two punch at Wanganui with Arctic Reach and Memorial Maniac. Trained by J. W. Delozier, Arctic Reach was imported from England this spring and has two fourth-place finishes, in the National Hunt Cup and Colonial’s Strawberry Hill Classic allowance race on June 2. Ross Geraghty has the mount.
Brianne Slater trains Memorial Maniac, a Lear Fan gelding who won his maiden victory at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase near Charlotte, N.C., on April 28 and then was second in a flat race at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 12. Danielle Hodsdon will ride Memorial Maniac, who was a Grade 3 winner on turf in 2010.
The optional allowance field, in post-position order, is:
Wanganui. 2008 ch. g., Love of Money–Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2011 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $30,000. Champion three-year-old. Won his debut over hurdles, the Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills, by 24 3/4 lengths on Oct. 22 and sealed his championship with a 1 1/4-length win in the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at the Colonial Cup on Nov. 19.
Arctic Reach (GB). 2008 b. g., Phoenix Reach—Arctic Queen, by Linamix. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph W. Delozier III. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2012 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $3,750. Has two fourth-place finishes since import this spring. Most recently weakened after setting pace in Colonial Downs allowance hurdle on June 2. Won juvenile hurdle by 14 lengths at Market Rasen last August but is winless since then. Finished 14th in JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival in March and then was sixth in a juvenile handicap hurdle at Ascot, his final start in England.
Wild for Gold. 2003 ch. g., Wild Rush–After the Glitter, by Screen King. Owner: Eugene Weymouth. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2011 record: 4-1-1-2, $24,300. Wound up 2011 season with two third-place finishes, in the Budweiser Holiday Cup allowance race at Aiken, S.C., and the Charleston Cup optional allowance on Nov. 13. Won maiden race over fences by 4 3/4 lengths at Penn National Race Course last June.
Monteagle. 2008 ch. g., Mr. Greeley—Ramayna (Ire), by Entrepreneur. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2012 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. Won his maiden start over fences at the High Hope Steeplechase in Kentucky on May 20. Won a $20,000 claimer on the flat at Saratoga Race Course last summer.
Memorial Maniac. 2005 b. g., Lear Fan—Enlightening, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2012 record: 3-1-2-0, $14,400. Started jump career with second to Old Timer at Stoneybrook in North Carolina and then won his maiden victory at Queen’s Cup near Charlotte. Most recently second in flat race at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Was a Grade 3 winner in course-record time on the flat in 2010.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Corp. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Jacob Roberts. 2012 record: 2-1-0-1, $11,500. Won maiden victory at Stoneybrook Steeplechase in North Carolina and then was advanced to third in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, an allowance race at the Foxfield Races in Charlottesville, N.C., on April 28.
Dr. Wheat. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Wheaton–Zenon, by Hawkster. Owner: William E. Riddle Jr. Trainer: Michael Aro. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2012 record: 3-0-0-0, $4,000. 2011 record: 4-1-0-0, $24,500. From three 2012 starts, has three well-beaten fifth-place finishes, including the $50,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 14. In 2011, scored a maiden victory over fences at Parx Racing on June 5.
Parade Lap. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Leading the Parade—Leagleyeser, by Eagle Eyed. Owner: Elizabeth Barr. Trainer: Fenneka Bentley. Jockey: Barry Walsh. 2012 record: 2-1-0-1, $7,000. Homebred won maiden claimer at Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 13 after third in a Middleburg Spring maiden claimer in Virginia on April 28. Won at $7,500 maiden claimer level at Penn National Race Course.
Enchanted Circle (GB). 2007 b. g., A.P. Indy—Magic Mission (GB), by Machiavellian. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Christopher Read. 2011 record: 4-1-1-0, $12,100. Started year with eighth-place finish in a Colonial Downs flat race on June 2. Won maiden victory at the Charleston Cup Steeplechase in South Carolina last November.