Storm Team storms to victory over Andi’amu, Bargary wins two more
By Tod Marks
Saturday’s eight-race card at Shawan Downs in Cockeysville, Md., was a reminder of what makes steeplechase racing at the hunt meets a day of glorious family fun. Fans picnicking under the bright blue autumn sky in a relaxed, picture-perfect setting of rolling hills and trees, and the non-stop excitement of top-flight athletes competing for purse money and prestige.
The $160,000 card consisted of four 2-mile hurdle events, a pair of timber races at 3 ⅛ miles, and two flat training races at 1 ⅜ miles.
In the featured $35,000 Brown Advisory timber stakes, Northwoods Stable and Sheila Williams’ Storm Team, a striking chestnut son of Candy Ride, won for the ninth time in his long and productive career, with a front-running 5 ¾-length score over arch-rival Andi’amu. Storm Team, ridden by Graham Watters and trained by Hall of Famer Jack Fisher, became the default leader when Irv Naylor’s Junior Senator fell at the second fence. From there, the eight-year-old took charge, but didn’t get much of a breather as Andi’amu, the 2019 timber champion trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Freddie Procter, shadowed his foe, with the duo switching leads several times until Storm Team drew clear over the last fence and through the stretch. Andi’amu, who runs in the colors of Tom and Roxy Collins’ Ballybristol Farm, held the place spot, a length clear of Fat Chance Farm’s Flaming Sword, who fired late under Barry Foley.
For Storm Team, who has now captured two of three this season, it boosted his career bankroll to $271,465, and his record to nine wins, six seconds, and eight thirds in 36 starts.
In other action…
A “Fleet” footed performance
Ciarrai Bloodstock’s Fleeting Atte, a Maryland-bred son of Afleet Alex, made his National Steeplechase Association debut a winning one, taking the opener, a $20,000 hurdle restricted to three-year-olds.
With trainer Sean McDermott doing double duty in the saddle, Fleeting Atte was content to sit off the pace set by Achsah O’Donovan’s Greylover (Jamie Bargary). With less than three-quarters-of-a-mile to go, McDermott made his move, overtaking the frontrunners, who also included Michael Smith’s Hoffman, and Gordon Keys’ Keys Discount. The winning margin was 4 ¼ lengths over those two.
In his six previous starts on the flat, mostly at Laurel, Fleeting Atte boasted three in-the-money finishes. In his most recent effort, he scored in a maiden special weight contest at Delaware Park.
Regally bred Awakened says good night to 10 rivals in maiden hurdle
Coming off a victory on the flat at Colonial Downs for jumpers who started but didn’t win at the recently completed meet, Riverdee Stable’s Awakened sat unhurried behind the two leaders for most of the going, then got into gear at the head of the lane under Jamie Bargary and won going away by 7 1/2 lengths in the $30,000 maiden hurdle.
The Phipps-bred five-year-old son of Curlin out of the multiple graded stakes winner Daydreaming, also bred by the Phipps family, began his jump-racing career at Middleburg last spring, finishing second in his maiden debut, then was a close second again at Colonial Downs in July prior to his win over Colonial’s turf course earlier this month.
Fightinirishtabit sends Telegram a message in thrilling duel
In the closest finish of the day, Daniel Denefrio’s seven-year-old son of Tiznow made it two in a row with a hard-fought neck victory over Atlanta Hall Racing’s Telegram in a handicap for horses rated at 115 or less, or entered for a tag of $20,000.
With Harry Beswick in the saddle, Fightinirishtabit, trained by Ricky Hendriks, allowed Telegram and Michael Smith’s Project Two to battle it out on the front end for nearly the entire length of the race. Two jumps from home, Beswick asked his mount for more, and the race was on as the duo dug in and went nose to nose in the final hundred years. Project Two was third under Tom Garner, and the rest of the field was far back.
Fightinirishtabit was coming off of a far easier win in a 110 handicap at Colonial Downs in August, where he romped by 14 lengths.
Step to the Bar steps up in allowance
Del Rio Racing’s Step to the Bar captured his first race since breaking his maiden at Shawan Downs at last year’s meet, going wire-to-wire under Bernie Dalton to hold off Nancy Reed’s Bright Eyed Eagle by 1 ¼ lengths.
Riding for his wife, trainer Kate Dalton, the veteran reinsman dictated the pace from the drop of the flag while Bright Eyed Eagle and Gerard Galligan sat within striking distance from the get-go. At Galligan’s urging, Bright Eyed Eagle advanced through the field and made it a race, dueling with the winner gamely but coming up short. Riverdee Stable’s Senor Seville, with Ross Geraghty, finished third, barely holding off stablemate Queens Empire.
Cracker Factory breaks timber maiden by daylight
Seven-year-old Cracker Factory made his first trip to the winner’s circle in nearly four years with a facile score in the $15,000 timber maiden, giving Jamie Bargary his second winner on the card and his eighth since the summer season began.
Owned by Daisy Fenwick’s The Hundred Acre Farm and trained by Mark Beecher, the British-bred son of Poet’s Voice put in his best effort in a dozen U.S. starts following a career in the UK.
Sitting in mid-pack in the field of nine until the last quarter-mile, Cracker Factory responded as soon as Bargary stepped on the gas, and the race was over. Runnerup Cause for Pardon (Ballybristol Farm), piloted by Tom Garner, ran a similar race to the winner and put in a late run to be clearly second best. Bruton Street-US’ Notjudginjustsayin, with Connor Hankin up, was third.
And on the flat
Two training-flat contests, with a total of 27 runners, completed the day. In the first division, Fiona Fox earned her first NSA victory with a 2 ½-length tally aboard Merriebelle Stable’s Grey Falcon for trainer Elizabeth Voss. Turks Head Turf’s Always Cool, with Mell Boucher riding for her mom, Lilith, was second, while Blythe Miller Davies’ Brave Deacon, ridden by son, Teddy, and trained by husband, Joe, were third. Also in the field were City Dreamer, Riverdee Stable’s multiple stakes winner, and Upland Partners’ timber ace Mystic Strike, prepping for bigger events down the road.
Also prepping for major races ahead was 2020 Eclipse-Award-winning jumper Moscato, who finished fifth in the second training-flat race, which was won by Andrew Russo’s Refi, ridden by Elizabeth Scully and trained by Todd Wyatt. Refi prevailed by 1 ¼ lengths over Rolling Tide’s Gold, ridden by Bernie Dalton, and S. Rebecca Shepherd’s Clint Maroon (Jamie Bargary).
Full results can be found here: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Shawan-Results.pdf