Jack Fisher, the reigning champion trainer of American steeplechasing, will send out stakes winner Hope for Us All for a $30,000 optional claiming race at Philadelphia Park on Friday, June 4. A well-balanced field of eight was entered for the 2 1/16-mile race at the suburban Philadelphia track, which also will feature a $25,000 steeplechase maiden race.
At the Far Hills Races in New Jersey on October 7, Arcadia Stable’s Hope for Us All took the $50,000 Gladstone Hurdle Stakes for three-year-olds by 1 1/4 lengths. He will be ridden by Willie Dowling and enters the Philadelphia Park race off fifth-place finishes in his two starts this year, most recently in a $20,000 optional claiming race at the Virginia Gold Cup meet in The Plains, Va., on May 1.
Carl Rafter, currently the hottest jockey on the National Steeplechase Association circuit, will be aboard Move Up Stable’s Quiet Approval, who will be seeking a second consecutive victory following a one-length score in the $25,000 Milfern Cup maiden hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 15. Trained by Kathy McKenna, Quiet Approval finished second in his first start over fences, a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races at Charlottesville, Va., on April 24.
Seeking to establish his credentials over fences is Irvin Naylor’s classic-placed Best Alibi, who won the Skybet York Stakes, a Group 2 race, in 2006. Also that year, he finished second in another Group 2 race, the Totesport Dante Stakes, and was third in the Budweiser Irish Derby.
The Irish-bred King’s Best gelding won a division of the $20,000 Suntrust maiden hurdle by 25 1/4 lengths at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., on November 7. In his only 2010 start, he left the course early in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase at Mineral Springs, N.C., on April 24. Trainer Desmond Fogarty named Darren Nagle to ride.
Also in the field is Perry J. Bolton’s Arch Hero, who won the other division of the Suntrust maiden hurdle by 1 1/2 lengths. Trained by Tom Voss, Arch Hero will be ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young, who currently leads the 2010 standings.
Pals Pride, a veteran who has prospered in the claiming ranks, was entered for a $25,000 tag. Little Bay Racing Stable’s 11-year-old won two claiming races last year. In his only start this season, he lost his rider in a claimer at the Tanglewood Cup Races in Clemmons, N.C., on May 8. Bernie Dalton has the mount.
–Written by Don Clippinger