Virginia-Breds Dapper Dan and Accountable each scored nice wins October 26th during the International Gold Cup’s annual fall program at Great Meadow.
Donna Rogers’ Dapper Dan, a 7-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, won by 5 1/2 lengths in the $40,000 Steeplethon. The victor was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone.
Dapper Dan finished second in the 2019 spring Steeplethon and got a maiden special weight win two years ago during the spring Gold Cup event. With the most recent win, his career bankroll now stands at $138,790. He is out of the War Chant mare, Wardrobe.
If ever there was a horse for the course, it would be Lady Olivia at Northcliff’s Accountable, a 5-year-old Cosa Vera gelding who won an allowance flat for the fourth time at Great Meadow.
The Carla Morgan trainee won the Old Dominion Turf Championship — an allowance flat — on October 26 by one-half length over Vincent Van Gogo. Previously, Accountable won the same allowance in spring 2019, fall 2018 and fall 2017. Despite his success at Great Meadow, he paid a handsome $9.00 to win in the most recent edition.
With the win, Accountable saw his career bankroll move into six figures at $101,920. He is out of Seeking Me Allie by Seeking Daylight.
At a ceremonial ribbon cutting October 29th, the Colonial Downs Group announced that Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is now open in Hampton. Rosie’s, located in the Power Plant shopping center just off Interstate 64, features 700 historical horse racing (HHR) machines, simulcast horse racing, a restaurant and bar, and a gift shop.
Aaron Gomes, chief operating officer of Colonial Downs Group, stated, “It is very exciting to be opening our fourth Rosie’s in Virginia in just one year. We are already seeing tremendous success in Richmond, in Vinton near Roanoke and at Colonial Downs in New Kent County. The Hampton location builds on our commitment to create more than 1,000 jobs and generate significant tax revenues across the Commonwealth by bringing together gaming enthusiasts, horse lovers, and the community to experience an exciting and fun activity.”
Revenues generated through HHR machines enabled the return of live thoroughbred horse racing to Virginia earlier this year. Thirty-six thousand spectators attended the live racing events at Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent County and more than 15 million viewers across the nation watched and bet on the races through the TGV network.
Vincent Jordan, general manager at Hampton Rosie’s, said, “I am so pleased to be returning to Virginia where I previously served in the military to be part of this enthusiastic effort to bring fun, gaming, and economic development to the Hampton community.” Jordan has 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, most recently at Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania.
Rosie’s in Hampton will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. It will create approximately 200 jobs in Hampton and generate approximately $2 million in annual tax revenues for the City of Hampton.
Colonial Downs Group and its four Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums will generate $25 million in state taxes annually and has created upwards of 1,000 jobs statewide with an annual payroll of more than $36.2 million.
The following was written by Don Clippinger and appeared at www.nationalsteeplechaseassociation.com. The annual International Gold Cup card took place October 26 at Great Meadow. Congratulations to Virginia-Breds Dapper Dan and Accountable, who each reached the winners circle that day.
Donna Rogers’ Dapper Dan, a 7-year-old Pleasantly Perfect gelding, won by 5 1/2 lengths in the $40,000 Steeplethon while Lady Olivia at Northcliff’s Accountable, a 5-year-old Cosa Vera gelding, won an allowance flat for the fourth time at Great Meadow. The former was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone and the latter was bred by Lady Olivia at North Cliff.
On an afternoon dominated by trainer Jack Fisher, his mother Dolly’s Schoodic moved into the top rank of timber racing with a 2½-length victory over division leader Andi’amu in Saturday’s $75,000 International Gold Cup.
Fisher continued his history-making season with three victories at the Great Meadows Race Course in The Plains, Va., and added to his record earnings total with more than $100,000 in purse earnings for the day.
In addition to the International Gold Cup, he also won the $75,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) with Riverdee Stable’s Gibralfaro and the $40,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle with Gill Johnston’s Brianbakescookies.
Schoodic, a nine-year-old Tapit gelding, was enormously talented but unpredictable over hurdles, but he has shown respect and attention over timber fences. He was a perfect gentleman over the Great Meadow course under Hadden Frost and jumped cleanly over the 3½-mile timber course.
Fresh off a one-length victory in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup two weeks earlier, Schoodic broke on top but soon ceded the lead to Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu, who had extended his unbeaten record over fences with a facile victory in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library and Museum Cup on Oct. 12.
Jockey Jack Doyle aboard Andi’amu did his best to choke down the pace, but Frost kept Schoodic close behind him.
Andi’amu jumped fluidly over the Great Meadow timber course but Schoodic matched him jump for jump while about two or three lengths off the pace through the first three miles. Both are stakes winners over hurdles, and Schoodic showed a superior turn of foot as the field of five headed to the final turn.
Schoodic grabbed the lead with three fences remaining, and Andi’amu resisted stoutly over the last obstacles. Both Frost and Doyle drove their mounts to the finish, but it was clear in the final 50 yards that Schoodic would retain his advantage to the finish line.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, who had finished second to Andi’amu in the National Sporting Library, finished third, 13 lengths farther back.
Hudson River Farms’ Codrington College, who had handed Schoodic his only defeat over timber fences in Shawan Downs’ Brown Advisory Legacy Chase on Sept. 28, finished fourth, 3 ½ lengths back and a neck ahead of Rebecca Shepherd’s Curve of Stones.
Sent to the starter at 3.20-to-1, Schoodic paid $8.40 to win after running the International Gold Cup’s 3 ½ miles in 7:15 3/5.
The International Gold Cup’s $45,000 first-place purse raised Schoodic’s 2019 earnings to $109,500. In addition to the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, he won the Iroquois Steeplechase’s $25,000 Mason Houghland Memorial allowance timber b 16 3/4 lengths and a novice timber allowance at Fair Hill by 6 1/4, both in May.
Andi’amu remains the division leader with $115,500 in purses from four starts. Trained by Leslie Young, Andi’amu won the Virginia Gold Cup over the Great Meadow course in May after taking the Middleburg Hunt Cup in his maiden voyage over timber.
A part of Sean Clancy’s philosophy with his Riverdee Stable partnership is that he doesn’t want to overmatch his horses or run them too often. After two tough but successful starts at Saratoga Race Course, Clancy decided to skip the rich Far Hills meet with Gibralfaro and point him toward the Ferguson.
His measured approach paid off handsomely when Gibralfaro overtook front-running Balance the Budget nearing the final turn and drew clear to win the Ferguson by 3 ½ lengths.
Fisher also claimed second money with Sonny Via’s ever-reliable Hinterland, who closed well and was 10¾ lengths clear of promising new arrival Lethal Steps in third. Eclipse Award winner Zanjabeel, making his first start in more than 13 months, was prominent for two miles but tired in Great Meadow’s long stretch to finish third.
Bettors allowed Gibralfaro to get away at 10.20-to-1, and the Irish-bred paid $22.40 after running the Ferguson’s 2 1/8 miles in 3:57 1/5 on firm ground.
Michael Mitchell rode the winner and remained atop the jockey standings, one race ahead of Doyle, who was blanked at Great Meadow.
In his previous start, Gibralfaro had finished a solid second in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) after a fourth-place finish in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Clancy, a former champion jockey, believed Gibralfaro deserved a break and pointed him toward the Ferguson.
“I felt he ran hard at Saratoga,” Clancy said. “He’s such an overachiever.” Mitchell put Gibralfaro close behind Balance the Budget and moved when he sensed that the front-runner was beginning to tire.
“He finds his spots,” Clancy said. “He’s very quick over his fences.
The following was written by Jeff Poole and appeared in the Orange County Review. The 85th running of the Montpelier Hunt Races is this Saturday November 2nd at the home of former President, James Madison. The advance weather forecast looks very promising with sunny skies and a high of 60.
ORANGE — The Montpelier Hunt Races will celebrate their 85th anniversary Saturday with the fall tradition that draws horse racing and tailgating enthusiasts to the home of James Madison.
And while the races have a landmark anniversary, their history predates the 1934 iteration, which was the first recognized by the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association.
According to hunt race archives, Marion duPont Scott and her younger brother, William, never lost their love of horses and horse racing they first embraced as children growing up at Montpelier. While William became a noted course designer and built tracks around the world, his older sister was an equestrian legend.
When their father moved the family from England to Montpelier, the two children were given ponies and soon there was a show at the presidential estate with classes in driving and side-saddle. In 1909, William duPont Sr. constructed a pony stable that now serves as administrative offices at James Madison’s Montpelier.
The young siblings soon found their niches in foxhunting, showing and racing.
By the early 1920s, Marion duPont, according to hunt race archives, “fixed her eye on a small mare she felt might be fast,” and, after convincing a jockey friend to ride her — to victory — soon “was hooked on racing and breeding for racing.”
Her brother, meanwhile, was instrumental in designing the steeplechase course at the sprawling, 2,300-acre property, and by 1923, early jump races were introduced on the grounds.
“These were rough and tumble affairs,” the archives record, but these were replaced five years later by the formal course which is raced today without changes.
The flat track — which annually features the first race of the day — debuted in 1929 — the same year the first “official” jump race was held, according to Montpelier records. “Admission was free and the Montpelier property was opened to the public for the only time during the year.”
Five years later, the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association sanctioned the races and Montpelier has been hosting them ever since.
This year’s event will introduce a new race to the day’s schedule honoring the longtime host of the races.
According to Martha Strawther, the executive director of the hunt races, the Marion duPont Scott Memorial will be the fifth of seven races this year. It will be a filly and mare allowance hurdle, two miles and three furlongs over national fences and run at approximately 2:55 p.m. on race day.
“The duPont family built more race courses and started more meets than any other race family in America,” she said. In addition to a $25,000 purse, the winner of the namesake race will receive an antique English trophy with a chicken on its finial — a nod to Scott’s affinity for cockfighting.
Other additions to the 85th annual event include 1930s-era steam and gas-powered equipment, on display from the Somerset Steam and Gas Engine Association and the James Madison Museum and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ art mobile. The tractor-trailer mobile museum will be stationed between vendor row and infield parking, Strawther said.
For the first time ever, the races will be live-streamed and broadcast on site, Strawther noted.
Andrew Butts, the chief executive operator of Honor Valor Courage Companies — which will sponsor the Marion duPont Scott Memorial — will have cameras mounted around the course that will be sound-activated and fed to a control center for production. Strawther said there will be a $2 fee for those who wish to stream the races on their mobile devices.
“If it works well, it’ll be great,” Strawther said, since most of the race day’s 16,000 to 18,000 patrons often only get a quick glimpse of the horses and jockeys as they pass by their tailgate or their place on the rail.
Another innovation, Strawther reported, is a change in the race map and parking designations. New color codes for parking passes will help law enforcement officers more efficiently direct race day patrons in and out of the event, she said.
Advance tickets are available throughout Central Virginia, including at Orange-Madison Co-op locations, Virginia Community Bank branches, the Laurie Holladay Shop in Gordonsville, Lake of the Woods True Value in Locust Grove, Faye’s Office Supply, Farm Credit and Med Spa of Virginia in Orange, the Montpelier Visitors Center and the Somerset Center Store. Advance tickets are available through Friday.
Orange County residents receive a 20% discount on advance tickets for general parking, infield parking and general admission. Ticket prices are higher at the gate on race day.
Whether patrons are new to the experience or have been coming for the past 85 years, Strawther said she thinks everyone who attends finds something special to them about the event.
“For those who are just coming for the first time, I hope they get the feeling of hospitality and welcoming that exists throughout the grounds,” she said. “It’s amazing to me how those who have been coming forever are so happy to have them and say, ‘Come into the fold,’ and are eager to share the experience.
“For those who regularly come, I think they still appreciate the experience and the immediacy of the power and speed of the horses,” she continued. “It’s really quite a spectacle.”
Third to Pat On the Back in this race last year, Mr. Buff got his revenge on the GII Kelso H. victor and race favorite Saturday. Mr. Buff broke so sharply that he stumbled a step leaving the gate, but quickly recovered and moved up to challenge Not That Brady (Big Brown). Seizing control as the half went in :47.38, the chestnut glided into the lane on a clear lead and held off a late running Dynamax Prime to register his fifth stakes victory.
“I knew we had horse turning for home and I wanted them to get on their outside lead, trainer John Kimmel said. “I’m going, change your lead, change your lead. He never changed his lead. Junior [Alvarado] said he didn’t want to take his forward momentum away by trying to make him change. He said he had plenty of horse in there, so he stayed on that left lead from the half-mile pole to the wire.” The conditioner added, “He’s as good a New York-bred as there is. I think this horse is going to have a chance to do something bigger against open [company] down the road. He didn’t have a very good trip in the Woodward. He’s a gelding. He’s going to be around for a long time for us to enjoy.”
A dominant winner over Dynamax Prime in this venue’s Saginaw S. June 30, Mr. Buff followed suit with another decisive score over that rival in the Evan Shipman S. at Saratoga Aug. 7. Testing much deeper waters in the GI Woodward S. at the Spa Aug. 31, the Empire-bred faded to seventh after setting the early pace. The winner’s dam is also responsible for the 3-year-old Daddy Knows (Scat Daddy), who broke his maiden during the Saratoga meet; and a yearling filly named Miss Buff (Friend Or Foe).
Matt Schera learned about the Virginia Thoroughbred Association’s Virginia-certified program two years ago, and that season he sent his first several yearlings to be started at the Braeburn Training Center located in the foothills of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains.
In order to qualify for the Certified program, horses must spend a six-month residency at a Virginia farm or training center prior to Dec. 31st of their 2-year-old year.
Now 3-year-olds trained by James “Chuck” Lawrence, both Zonda and Tass have earned a 25 percent bonus for their wins at tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region.
“The 25 percent win bonus is obviously amazing,” Schera said. “Pat Nuesch does a great job starting them, and the training center is really lovely.”
Zonda, a Maryland-bred by Scat Daddy, won her first start by 11 3/4 lengths at Laurel Park. The filly then tried a pair of stakes races at Delaware Park, but Schera said she didn’t seem to take to the surface.
Zonda then ran second in a Laurel allowance and won an allowance at Colonial Downs. She finished fourth in Colonial’s Virginia Oaks. The filly’s earned $85,419 on the track, plus an additional $14,000 for her two wins from the Virginia-certified program.
“I’m just loving the fact that Colonial Downs is back,” Schera added. “I hope they can sustain their momentum and keep going next year.”
Tass, a Kentucky-bred by Temple City, won at second asking at Delaware Park and was most recently third in a Saratoga starter allowance. She’s earned $34,530 on the racetrack, plus an extra $5,000 from the VTA.
Last year, Schera sent another four yearlings to the Braeburn Training Center, and he plans to send at least that many this season as well.
“For me, the weather is decent enough in the winter,” said Schera. “It’s not Ocala, but it’s also not Maryland or Delaware. I think it’s definitely worth it in terms of what you can win.”
The following appeared in The Paulick Report September 14th.
Virginia-bred Braxton is the flag-bearer for Karen Godsey’s Eagle Point Farm in Ashland, Va., with more than $125,000 in earnings and a special personality. The 5-year-old son of Peak Dancer has also earned an extra $22,000 in the last several seasons courtesy of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association.
“He’s doing great,” said Godsey. “We just love him. He looks really sweet and innocent, but he’s not, but he gets away with it because he’s Braxton.”
Most recently second by a length in the $100,000 Meadow Stable Stakes, Braxton most recently ran in the $100,000 Punch Line Stakes on Sept. 7 at Colonial Downs.
Running on the same card were two of his half-siblings, Taskinas and What the Beep, all out of Godsey’s homebred mare Toccoa, by Purple Comet.
“Her only foal that isn’t running is the one that’s by her side,” Godsey laughed.
The success of Toccoa’s offspring is just one reason for Godsey’s light-hearted demeanor. Thanks in large part to the VTA’s Virginia-certified program, Eagle Point Farm is on the upswing. Horses bred in any state can earn a 25 percent bonus for wins at tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region if they spend six months at a training center in Virginia before the end of their 2-year-old year.
“It’s taken us up not even a notch, but 10 notches,” Godsey said. “It’s proved to be so popular, we’ve basically been able to fix up our whole farm. For a farm that’s been in business since 1947, it takes a lot to update the facilities.
“I remember before this program, I was worrying about how I was going to be able to keep going,” she continued. “Now, I need to figure out how to do these projects around all the horses we have here.”
This year, Godsey already has 36 yearlings in the barn before many of her regular clients have even made their regular purchases at the big yearling sales.
“It’s a different kind of stress now,” she said. “Now I can make a career and a life out of this, and pass it on some day.”