By Tod Marks
The third start was definitely a charm for Irv Naylor’s Gold Charm. After coming over from England earlier this year, the four-year-old Irish-bred daughter of the magnificent international classic winner Golden Horn made two starts in the spring, finishing a strong second in her NSA debut at Radnor in May and breaking her maiden at Colonial Downs last month for trainer Cyril Murphy.
On Friday, Gold Charm became a stakes winner when she put away six rivals to take the $75,000 Randolph Rouse filly and mare stake at 2 1/4 miles.
The race unfolded when Joseph Fowler’s Met in Miami, coming off of a second in the Margaret Currey Henley stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase, assumed the lead under Bernie Dalton and held it throughout most of the going. Though never on top by more than about four lengths, Met in Miami was running easily as Jordan Wycoff’s Clara Belle and Ashwell Stable’s Durragh sat in striking distance.
There was little change in position among the field until the final fence as Arch Kingley’s Cainudothetwist, under Graham Watters, made a big move, overtaking the leader and scooting clear by about two lengths. Cainudothetwist doubled her lead turning for home as Naylor’s other entry, Bercasa, made up ground under Gerard Galligan. At that point, Gold Charm charged up on the outside under Harry Bewsick and drew off easily by three lengths. Cainudothetwist finished 8 1/2 lengths ahead of Bercasa.
The victory was the fourth of the summer for the Naylor stable, including two other stakes, the Grade 1 AP Smithwick and Jonathan Kiser novice stakes, both at Saratoga.
Harry Beswick’s Winning Interview:
Pure Courage earns first NSA win in today’s opener
Gill Johnston’s five-year-old son of Declaration of War grabbed the lead, relinquished it, and came on again under a long, sustained drive by Elizabeth Scully to win the $40,000 maiden special weights event going away by 2 1/4 lengths.
Pure Courage, trained by Todd Wyatt, began his jump racing career last fall following a career on the flat that took him to Sam Houston, Ellis Park, and Remington Park, among others. And in four NSA starts, he finished in the money three times in the maiden ranks.
Pure Courage broke on top in the field of 10 going 2 1/4 miles, racing on or near the lead for most of the trip. Heading up the backside the final time, Pure Courage and his shadow, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Daigneault Thoroughbreds’ Abaan, who vied for the lead throughout, pulled away from the field. Abaan then began to draw clear of Pure Courage on the turn and looked like a winner straightening for home.
But Scully steered Pure Courage to the outside and gradually wore down the leader. A son of Travers winner Will Take Charge, Abaan was ridden by Bernie Dalton for his wife, trainer Kate Dalton. Abaan was second best in his NSA debut, 5 1/2 lengths ahead of Armata Stable’s Imperial Assassin.
Junonia rallies for handicap win
Kinross Corp.’s Junonia found the winner’s circle for the first time in more than two years as the gray son of City Zip zoomed past pacesetter Baltimore Kid to score by three lengths in the $30,000 handicap for horses rated at 110 or less.
Ridden by Bernie Dalton for trainer Neil Morris, Junonia was content to sit toward the rear of the field of seven for the first mile as Buttonwood Farm’s Baltimore Kid, ridden by Parker Hendriks, and Mr. Connecticut (Harry Beswick) vied for the top spot.
There was little change in position until Junonia made his move with three jumps remaining, taking the lead into the final turn. Turning for home, the field bunched up a bit and it still appeared to be anyone’s race. That’s when Junonia spurted clear on the inside to lead by three as Paul and Molly Willis’ New Appointment (Mell Boucher) narrowed the gap, getting up for second, a neck ahead of William Russell’s Seismic Wave (Graham Watters), who unleashed a belated rally to catch Tom Rice’s Oscar Winner for the show spot.
For Junonia, a nine-year-old Pennsylvania-bred who has split his time between flat racing and steeplechasing, it was his first victory since July 2021, which marked his third straight trip to the winner’s circle.