Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away was entered in pursuit of a second straight victory in the $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson (Gr. 3) on Sunday, July 11, when he was scheduled to meet nine opponents in the 2 1/4-mile race at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.
Trainer Tom Voss named champion jockey Paddy Young to ride the seven-year-old Skip Away gelding, who shared the 158-pound high weight with Carolina First Carolina Cup (Gr. 2) winner Spy in the Sky.
A confirmed front-runner, Slip Away took readily to Colonial spacious turf course in last year’s Ferguson, in which he was the 1.90-to-1 favorite, and won by five lengths after leading by as many as 15. He used the same tactics to score a nine-length victory in this year’s $50,000 Temple Gwathmey at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia.
Young rode Slip Away for the first time in the gelding’s most recent start, the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville on May 8, and reined in some of his early speed. But Slip Away could not turn back the late charge of Tax Ruling and finished second in the three-mile race.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky was to be ridden by Liam McVicar, who was aboard for a disappointing fourth-place finish behind Slip Away in the Temple Gwathmey. Trained by Jimmy Day, the six-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding won last year’s New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) with McVicar in the saddle. Day saddled Spy in the Sky for a fourth-place finish in a Colonial optional claimer on the flat in his most recent start.
Bernie Dalton will ride Eldon Farm Racing Stable’s Chess Board, who will be seeking to make a winning move on Slip Away. Trained by David Bourke, the British-bred seven-year-old finished second in the Temple Gwathmey and fourth in the Iroquois.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, who notched a 14-length victory in the Carolina First Block House Steeplechase in Tryon, N.C., on April 17. The seven-year-old Royal Anthem gelding, bred by Pape and Sheppard, most recently finished third in the $50,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois Races in Nashville. Danielle Hodsdon has the mount.
Trainer Lilith Boucher has been keeping Rodman W. Moorhead III’s Class Bopper in tune for steeplechase racing by running him in flat turf races. Winner of the 2009 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle in Pine Mountain, Ga., Class Bopper most recently finished fourth in a Pimlico Race Course optional claimer and fifth in the Colonial optional claimer in which Spy in the Sky was fourth. Richard Boucher will ride the five-year-old Virginia-bred gelding.
Seeking to answer a class question will be Mrs. George M. Sensor’s Riddle, who came back after a three-year absence to score a ten-length victory in a Colonial claiming race over National Fences on June 13. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. will make a rare appearance in silks to ride the nine-year-old Wagon Limit gelding.