Weekend Triple Header offers a smorgasbord of action

The Queen’s Cup celebrates 25 years. ©Tod Marks

Weekend Triple Header offers a smorgasbord of action

The National Steeplechase Association caravan heads to Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina on Saturday featuring a dozen races, highlighted by the Maryland Hunt Cup.


For the one and only time this spring, the NSA will host three race meets on a single day, two of which are celebrating notable anniversaries. In Mineral Springs, N.C., the Queen’s Cup will mark its 25th Silver Jubilee at beautiful Brooklandwood Race Course, about 30 miles south of Charlotte with a five-race, all-hurdle card worth $155,000. 

The highlight is the $50,000 Queen’s Cup Sport of Kings novice stakes, which has drawn four up-and-coming hurdlers. Port Lairge and Holwood Stable’s Decisive Triumph was a decisive allowance winner at the International Gold Cup Races in the fall, and finished a game third to hard-hitting Historic Heart in his seasonal bow in the $50,000 Carolina Cup novice stakes earlier this month. In five U.S. starts, Irv Naylor’s French Light boasts a second in the A.P Smithwick and third in the Jonathan Sheppard, both Grade 1 open stakes at Saratoga. Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ Perfect Tapatino broke his maiden at the Virginia Gold Cup Races last May, and followed that up with a second and third in a pair of allowance events at Saratoga. Richard C. Colton’s Mr. Alec was a runaway maiden winner at the Carolina Cup Races and steps up to stakes company for the first time.

Post time is 1:30 p.m. Click here for the entries: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/QueensCup-Program.pdf

The Maryland Hunt Cup celebrates 125 years. ©Douglas Lees

Meanwhile in the town of Glyndon, the Maryland Hunt Cup will commemorate its 125th running with the $100,000 final leg of the Maryland Timber Triple. The series began April 16 with the My Lady’s Manor Races in Monkton, followed by the Grand National on April 23 in Butler. Each of the legs is successively longer, and the Hunt Cup, at 4 miles over 22 tall post-and-rail fences, is considered the most grueling test in American timber racing. It is restricted to amateur riders. Though neither of the winners of the first two legs, Tomgarrow and Road to Oz, are entered in the Hunt Cup, several other competitors are among the expected field of eight.

Michael Smith’s Le Chevalier was fifth in the My Lady’s Manor Stakes, but has finished in the top three in timber stakes a dozen times. He won last year’s Grand National. Bruton Street-US’ Preseli Rocks was fourth in the My Lady’s Manor, and finished second to Armata Stable’s Vintage Vinnie in his record-setting 96-length winner Hunt Cup victory in 2021. Vintage Vinnie returns to defend his title, and tuned up for his date with destiny with a hard-fought win on the My Lady’s Manor Stakes undercard. 

Exiting the Grand National is another Armata entry, Goodoldtimes, who finished a close third. Prior to that, Goodoldtimes captured the 2021 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Kinross Farm’s Pocket Talk, a maiden winner over timber, made his stakes debut in the Grand National, finishing fourth. Kinross’ Blackhall, a maiden who spent his career in Ireland, returned from a layoff of nearly four years, and finished fourth in an allowance at the Grand National Races, his U.S. debut.

Kiplin Hall’s Sideling Hill was fourth in a maiden at The Manor Races, and is looking for his first score in 11 tries over jumps. He was sixth in last year’s Hunt Cup. Lucy Goelet’s Rocket Star Red – third in last year’s Hunt Cup – was second in an allowance contest at the Grand National Races, beaten 2 ¾ lengths by Upland Partners’ Shootist.

The Maryland Hunt Cup is the only race of the day, and post time is 4 p.m. Click here for the entries: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/MHC-Program.pdf

The Foxfield Races. ©Douglas Lees

New look Foxfield meet features $50,000 stake, $135,000 in total purses

The Foxfield Races are a Charlottesville, Va. institution of nearly a half century that almost came to an end when the land the course sits on was about to be sold to developers. But a group of area supporters banded together to preserve this local treasure, implementing a new board committed to reinvigorating the Spring and Fall meets and improving the facility.

Saturday’s card features six races, five over hurdles, and a timber maiden, headlined by the $50,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial Sport of Kings handicap stakes. The race has drawn four entries including Del Rio Chasers’ Razoul, who made his one and only U.S. start a year ago in the $75,000 G2 Temple Gwathmey Stakes at Middleburg, finishing second to Snap Decision. Gill Johnston’s Brianbakescookies, who has earned nearly a quarter-million-dollars in his career, won the Queen’s Cup Novice Stakes last season. Irv Naylor’s Chief Justice enjoyed his breakthrough moment taking the $50,000 Green Pastures Stakes at the Iroquois Races last May, defeating Grade 1 winner Baltimore Bucko. His stablemate Mighty Mark won a handicap for horses rated at 115 or less on the Iroquois card. 

Post time is 12:30 p.m. Click here for the entries: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Foxfield-Program.pdf

About Saturday’s live stream

For fans interested in following Saturday’s action via the live stream, you can purchase a single one-day pass that will provide access to all three live events. The Queen’s Cup stream, with live show hosts Mark Johnson and Jimmy Duggan, begins at 1:15 pm. The Foxfield Spring Races will have a live show with host Megan Connolly beginning at 12:15 pm. The Maryland Hunt Cup will stream live starting at 3:45 pm. To sign up, click here: nationalsteeplechase.mandolin.com. The live stream is sponsored by Brown Advisory, Charleston’s Post & Courier, and the Virginia Equine Alliance.

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