Radnor wraps up season

Radnor Tower © Tod Marks

By Tod Marks

The curtain comes down on the National Steeplechase Association Spring season on Saturday with the 93rd running of the Radnor Hunt Races in the picturesque Brandywine Valley of Chester County, Pa.

As has been the case for much of the Spring, there’s a chance of showers in the forecast; temperatures are expected to be comfortable, in the low to mid 60s.

The six-race card, worth $150,000, has drawn 46 runners whose connections are looking for a final opportunity to pick up purse money before the inaugural $150,000 Beverly R. Steinman (Grade 1) at the Belmont at Saratoga Festival on June 9. The Steinman is a prelude to the actual summer season at the flat tracks, which  begins at Colonial Downs on July 11 and Saratoga on July 17.

The headliner is the $35,000 National Hunt Cup at 2 ⅛  miles (the distance of all hurdle events at Radnor), which will be contested under allowance conditions for non winners of a race other than maiden, claiming, ratings handicap of 115 or less, or restricted to three-year-olds. A field of eight has been assembled led by recent maiden special weights winners Kelmscott (owned by Silverton Hill) and Tufton Avenue (Runnymoore Racing); and Morningstar Farm’s I Am Fortunata, a maiden claiming graduate at Willowdale a week ago.

Also in the field are Riverdee Stable and Ten Strike Racing’s Rocket One, who captured a 115 handicap at Shawan Downs in the fall; KMSN Stable’s Lightning Ridge, a stakes winner (Alston Cup) at Charleston in 2023, who two weeks ago was a distant third in the Speedy Smithwick Memorial four-year-old stakes at Great Meadow Race Course; and Straylight Racing’s Frontline Citizen, who is seeking his first victory since a maiden score at Callaway Gardens in 2021.

Jacqueline Ohrstom’s Tease and Seize makes his first start since romping by 20 lengths in a 115 handicap at the Carolina Cup Races in March, while Michael Smith’s Foxy Walk broke his maiden in similar style at Callaway Gardens in the fall. In his 2024 debut, at the Virginia Gold Cup Races, he was fourth in a non-winners of two allowance hurdle, a race in which he finished ahead of Lightning Ridge and behind Frontline Citizen.

The rest of the card consists of the Milfern Cup and Thompson Memorial, both $30,000 maiden special weights contests; $25,000 Radnor Hunt Cup over timber at 3 ¼ miles; and a pair of $15,000 optional claiming/starter events for maidens, the Henry Collins and the Runnymoore Racing/Ashwell Stable Trophy.

The Radnor Hunt Cup marks the return of Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike, now 15, who makes his first start after a year-long layoff. A multiple (eight time) stakes winner of more than $380,000, the Todd McKenna-trainee ran for a $5,000 claiming tag at Charles Town back in 2014. His very first stakes victory came in the Radnor Hunt Cup in 2017. This year, the race is an allowance event for non-winners of a timber stake in 2024.

First race post time is 1:30 p.m. For complete entries, click here. If you can’t make it to the races, be sure to watch the live stream at www.nationalsteeplechase.com.

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