Monthly Archives: October 2020

Breeders’ Cup Race Schedule Set For November 6, 7 at Keeneland

Fans can wager the Breeders’ Cup races at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Richmond, New Kent, Vinton and Hampton, at any VA-Horseplay OTB in Henrico (Breaker’s Sports Grille), Chesapeake (Buckets Bar & Grill) and Collinsville (The Windmill OTB Sports Grill), and online via,, and

The Breeders’ Cup on Wednesday revealed the official order of races and guaranteed multi-race wagering pools for the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to take place on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

There will be a total of 10 races (five Breeders’ Cup races) on the first day of the Championships – “Future Stars Friday” – and 12 races on the Saturday program (nine Breeders’ Cup races).

The Friday program begins at 11:30 a.m. ET with five undercard races. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) (Race #10) will be the final race of the day, which will have a post time of 5:10 p.m. ET.

A giant video wall at Breakers displays signals from 10 different tracks around the country in the afternoon and another 10 in the evening.

Championship Saturday’s first post is 10:15 a.m. ET and begins with three undercard races. The day will conclude with the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) (Race #12), which will have a post time of 5:13 p.m. ET.

The race order for the undercard races on Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday will be announced on Monday, Nov. 2.

Championships Race Order (All Times Eastern)

The first Championships race on “Future Stars Friday” will be the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) (2:30 p.m.) followed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) (3:10 p.m.); the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) (3:50 p.m.); the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) (4:30 p.m.) and the $2 million  Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (5:10 p.m.).

Buckets OTB in Chesapeake is one of three VA-Horseplay sites in the Commonwealth.

Championship Saturday begins with three undercard races followed by the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) (12:02 p.m.); the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) (12:39 p.m.); the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) (1:18 p.m.); the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) (1:57 p.m.); the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (2:36 p.m.); the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile presented (G1) (3:15 p.m.); the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) (3:54 p.m.); the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf  (G1) (4:33 p.m.) and the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (5:13 p.m.).

Friday’s Guaranteed Pools

Friday’s card will open with a Pick 5 with a $500,000 minimum guarantee on races 1-5; an all Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 5 with a $1 million guarantee on races 6-10, and an all Breeders’ Cup Pick 4 with a $1 million minimum guarantee on races 7-10.

Saturday’s Guaranteed Pools

Saturday’s card will open with a Pick 5 with a $500,000 minimum guarantee on races 1-5; an all Breeders’ Cup Ultra Pick 6 with a $1 million guarantee on races 7-12; an all Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 5 with a $2 million guarantee on races 8-12; and an all Breeders’ Cup Late Pick 4 with a $2 million guarantee on races 9-12.

David Ross’s Extravagant Kid will compete in the $1 Million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 7. 


(All Times Eastern)

Friday, November 6
Race 1 11:30 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 5 JSH-5
Race 2 12:05 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 4 1:15 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 5 1:50 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 6 JSH-5
Race 6 2:30 BC Juvenile Turf Sprint WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 5 JSH-5
Race 7 3:10 BC Juvenile Turf WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD SPDD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 8 3:50 BC Juvenile Fillies WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD SPDD JSH-5
Race 9 4:30 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf WPS EX TRI SUPER DD SPDD JSH-5
Race 10 5:10  BC Juvenile WPS EX TRI SUPER JSH-5
Saturday, November 7
Race 1 10:15 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 5 JSH-5
Race 2 10:45 TBD WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 4 12:02 BC Filly & Mare Sprint WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 5 12:39 BC Turf Sprint WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD JSH-5
Race 6 1:18 BC Dirt Mile WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 7 1:57 BC Filly & Mare Turf WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 6 JSH-5
Race 8 2:36 BC Sprint WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 5 JSH-5
Race 9 3:15  BC Mile WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD Pick 4 JSH-5
Race 10 3:54  BC Distaff WPS EX TRI SUPER P3 DD JSH-5
Race 11 4:33  BC Turf WPS EX TRI SUPER DD JSH-5
Race 12 5:13  BC Classic WPS EX TRI SUPER

The Rosie’s at Colonial Downs in New Kent has a nice OTB area on the third floor to wager all the “Cup” races.


Carryover rules:

Friday’s Pick 6, Pick 5 and Jackpot Super High 5 may carry over to Saturday.

Saturday’s Pick 6, Late Pick 5 and Jackpot Super High 5 are mandatory payouts.

ANY Pick 5 carryover will roll over to the late Pick 5 on Saturday.

Special Daily Double:

Juvenile Turf/Turf on race 7 Friday with race 11 Saturday

Juvenile Fillies/Distaff on race 8 Friday with race 10 Saturday

Juvenile/Classic on race 10 Friday with race 12 Saturday

Bet Minimums:




International Gold Cup Recap; Virginia-Bred Curve of Stones Proves He’s The Real Deal

The following International Gold Cup recap appeared at

Saturday’s 10-race card at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va., had it all: Blow-out wins, white-knuckle finishes, and outstanding rides by apprentice riders. And of all the highlights, none shone brighter than Curve of Stones’ victory in the $25,000 International Gold Cup, his second timber-stakes score in two weeks.

Racing sixth and last for most of the three-and-a-half-mile contest, Rebecca Shepherd’s nine-year-old gray son of Arch exploded through the stretch to blow past Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, drawing clear by seven lengths under regular rider Barry Foley for trainer David Bourke. Curve of Stones, who has rediscovered the spark he flashed at the start of his jump racing career in 2016, could go for three in a row, as he is listed in the overnight entries for next Sunday’s Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.

Curve of Stones with Barry Foley won the International Gold Cup. Photo by Douglas Lees.

Speaking of horses who have discovered their mojos, Straylight Racing’s Invocation, a steady performer on the NSA circuit since coming over from the United Kingdom four years ago, has asserted himself as the undisputed king of the steeplethon, a unique race over mixed obstacles. The seven-year-old French-bred son of Intense Focus, ridden by Sean McDermott and trained by Mark Beecher, captured his third steeplethon of this abbreviated 2020 campaign with a come-from-behind victory over Ballybristol Farm’s Mercoeur, who handed Invocation his only loss of the season in a similar race at Great Meadow in June. On Saturday, Invocation left no doubt as to who’s the boss, romping by eight lengths.

Invocation (#7) makes his way through the water obstacle in the Steeplethon. Photo by Douglas Lees. 

Young riders shared the spotlight with the four-legged veterans as two up-and-coming teen riders earned their first NSA sanctioned victories. Parker Hendriks, the son of trainers Sanna Neilson and Ricky Hendriks, actually won two on the card. His first winner came aboard Sherry Fenwick’s Anticipating, a son of 2009 champion steeplechase mare Confined, who held off Armata Stable’s New Member by a length in the second race, a handicap for horses rated at 130 or less. Anticipated toted 24 pounds less than New Member, but a win is a win, and the victory was also one of two on the card for Jonathan Sheppard, who leads Jack Fisher by two in the contest for top trainer. Parker found the winner’s circle again two races later, by piloting mom, Sanna’s, He’ll Do in a maiden claiming hurdle.

Anticipating was one of two winners Jonathan Sheppard had on the Gold Cup card. Photo by Douglas Lees.

Colin Smith enjoyed his first sanctioned tally with a remarkable rally aboard Gill Johnston’s Be Counted in the eighth race, a claiming hurdle restricted to apprentice riders. Looking hopelessly behind at the last jump, Be Counted and Smith unleashed a furious rally to catch Sheila Williams’ and Northwoods Stable’s Notjudginjustsayin by a neck. Following their wins, both Hendriks and Smith received an ice-water dunking from their fellow riders, a customary initiation rite.

Among the other storylines from the Gold Cup Day card, several stand out. Hudson River Farm’s Galway Kid, a striking chestnut who has turned heads since he burst on the racing scene with two wins in his first three starts last year, won for the second time in 2020, in a handicap for horses rated at 120 or less. ​The Irish-bred 5-year old, ridden by Darren Nagle, drew clear of Bon Nouvel Chasers’ Repeat Repeat by nearly three lengths for trainer Sheppard. Galway Kid has now won three of six career starts. In his previous two outings, Galway Kid was ambitiously entered in the Michael Walsh and Jonathan Kiser novice stakes at Saratoga, where he finished a solid third and second, respectively.

Darren Nagle rode Galway Kid to victory in the $25,000 Ratings Handicap Hurdle. Photo by Douglas Lees.

In a race reminiscent of Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes, Armata Stable’s Vintage Vinnie, an 11-year-old Irish-bred son of Vinnie Roe, making his first start in a year and a half, won Saturday’s timber race for apprentice riders by 30 lengths, after leading the three-mile contest by as much as 80 lengths. Ridden by Archie Macauley and trained by Joe Davies, Vintage Vinnie sprinted to a lead and extended it by such a wide margin for most of the race that you couldn’t even see the rest of the field.

Michael Mitchell maintained his lead in the battle for leading jockey with a win aboard Riverdee Stable’s Douglas Road in the opener, a maiden hurdle race. Mitchell holds a 11 to 8 edge in wins over both Sean McDermott and Gerard Galligan. Galligan won a training-flat race, but it doesn’t count in the standings.

Douglas Road (#1) holds off Virginia-bred Eryx (#8) to win the $20,000 Maiden Hurdle at Great Meadow. Photo by Douglas Lees.

And in the second of two training flat races on the card, Irv Naylor’s recent acquisition, Choo Choo, a graded-stakes placed winner of $225,000 on the flat, won his second training flat race this month. The five-year-old son of English Channel was a one-length winner under Brian Cullinane. Choo Choo also won a similar race on Oct. 4 at the Foxfield Fall Races in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia-Sired Mr. Buff Shines On Empire Showcase Day

Friend Or Foe gelding galloped to title defense in Empire Classic Handicap.

Million dollar earning horse Mr. Buff is by Friend or Foe, who stands at Robin Mellen’s Smallwood Farm in Crozet. Mr. Buff is 3-for-6 this year and has eaned $277,500. His stakes wins in 2020 include the Empire Classic Handicap at Belmont, and the Haynesfield and Jazil, both at Aqueduct. In 40 career starts, he has 15 wins and earnings of $1,210,786.   

Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Mr. Buff got back on track Oct. 24, taking the $175,000 Empire Classic Handicap in frontrunning fashion for the second consecutive year and putting the finishing touches on a thrilling day of New York-bred stakes action at Belmont Park.

Winning trainer John Kimmel praised the Bromans for their continued support of his barn and the New York-bred program, which shined on Empire Showcase Day with eight stakes worth $1.2 million.

“They have been with me since their inception in the Thoroughbred game,” Kimmel said. “They’ve been big supporters and sent me a lot of top well-bred New York-breds over the years.

Virginia-Sired Mr. Buff won his third straight stakes race earlier this year (Feb. 22) at Aqueduct. Photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese.

“They have really taken the New York-bred program to another level. No one has done what he’s done and bred his mares to the best stallions in the marketplace—Tapit , Storm Cat, American Pharoah Justify —he’s really tried to prove that you can raise a good horse in New York.”

A hard-knocking 6-year-old, Mr. Buff began 2020 with smashing wins in the Jazil and Haynesfield stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack, the latter of which was a 20-length tour de force against state-breds that netted him a sparkling 106 Beyer Speed Figure, but he was well beaten in each of his previous two starts. His disappointing results in the Whitney Stakes (G1) and Suburban Stakes (G2) this summer led to many jumping off his bandwagon in the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up on the main track as he was sent off as a distant 7-2 second choice in the wagering.

Mr. Buff is shown winning the Empire Classic for the second straight year. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Durand.

Departing post 1 with regular rider Junior Alvarado aboard, Mr. Buff broke sharply and went out to lead the field through sensible splits of :23.50 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.56 for the half, and 1:11.50 for three-quarters. While he readily yielded a soft lead in the stretch of the Whitney in his most recent outing, the Friend Or Foe gelding had no such trouble Saturday as he powered home a 3 1/4-length winner.

Mr. Buff completed the distance in 1:48.75 and returned $9.40 on a $2 win wager. The win gave the millionaire his 15th victory from 40 starts for the Bromans.

Friend or Foe stands at Robin Mellen’s Smallwood Farm in Crozet.

“He’s a 17.1 (hand) horse with a huge stride length,” Kimmel said. “The key is to get to the top of the lane and switch to his outside lead turning for home. I knew then it was over and there was no way they were going to beat him at that point.”

Alvarado said he was determined to make Mr. Buff’s challengers work for a shot at defeating the defending champ.

“The big horse is back. I couldn’t be any happier for him. I really wanted to do it for him. He deserves it. He’s the best older New York-bred,” said Alvarado. “I like him when he takes a hold of the bridle. That’s how he likes to be ridden. I just got out of there running. I wasn’t intending to get to the lead. I just wanted to get him out of there going forward and take my position, whatever it will be.

“He’s a horse that can go :22 and :45, too, but I just gunned him out of there to get a good position. If anyone else wanted the lead, they were going to have to work hard to get it. I wasn’t going to give it to them easily today.”

Mr. Buff’s win in the October 24 Empire Classic pushed his bankroll over the $1.2 million mark. Photo by Janet Garaguso.

Bankit came out on top of the host of pursuers that lined up to take their shots at Mr. Buff in the stretch. The son of Central Banker  trained by Steve Asmussen had similarly gone off form in recent starts after a promising start to his 4-year-old campaign, but he closed strongly on the inside and finished a clear second by three lengths over Sea Foam.

Heavy favorite Funny Guy had to settle for fourth in his return to the state-bred ranks. The John Terranova II trainee beat Mr. Buff in the June 12 Commentator Stakes at Belmont and won the John Morrissey Handicap at Saratoga Race Course against New York-breds, but he couldn’t get back to his best form and finished a neck behind Sea Foam.

Winston’s ChanceChestertown, and Evaluator completed the order of finish. Our Last Buck was scratched.

Mr. Buff is out of the graded stakes-placed Speightstown mare Speightful Affair, who among her six foals has a 2-year-old full sister to Mr. Buff named Miss Buff and foaled an Accelerate  colt this year. All four of her starters are winners.

Also on the Saturday card, Lucky Move won the $175,000 Empire Distaff Handicap, Laobanonaprayer took the $150,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes, Brooklyn Strong won the $150,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes, Myhartblongstodady took the $150,000 Ticonderoga Stakes, Tribecca won the $125,000 Hudson Handicap, Somelikeithotbrown took the $150,000 Mohawk Stakes, and Collegeville Girl schooled the field in the $125,000 Iroquois Stakes.

International Gold Cup Set For Saturday Oct. 24; Entries Are Available

The 2020 International Gold Cup Races will be held at Great Meadow Racecourse in the Plains on Saturday October 24. The first of ten races will go to post at 12 Noon. A list of entries and other material can be found at the link here:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the racew will be run spectator-free but live video streaming will be available via

A total of $135,000 in purse monies will be distributed over the ten races. The 81st running of the International Gold Cup highlights the card. A field of seven will tackle 3 1/2 miles over timber in the sixth race, scheduled for 2:30 PM.

Tailgating areas that normally would have been filled with thousands of fans sat empty at the 2020 spring edition.

Richest race on the program is a $30,000 Ratings Handicap Hurdle, scheduled as Race 2. A field of nine will compete 2 1/8 miles. A $25,000 Baltimore Stables Ratings Handicap Hurdle is scheduled as the fifth race and features a field of 11.

A socially distant riders meeting will take place with officials before the first race.


Largent Jumps Up Late to Snatch $75,000 Bert Allen Victory

Embolden Popular Winner of $75,000 Punch Line
McCarthy Wins Three of Five Virginia-Bred Turf Stakes Friday
Live Racing Returns with 10-Race Card Saturday at 12:40 P.M.
LAUREL, MD – Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ stakes winner Largent saved ground all the way around, scooted through an opening along the rail and dueled with 60-1 longshot Tolaga Bay through the stretch to emerge by a neck in Friday’s $75,000 Bert Allen at Laurel Park.
The 22nd running of the 1 1/16-mile Bert Allen for 3-year-olds and up was among five turf stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses on Friday’s nine-race program, preceded by the $75,000 M. Tyson Gilpin, $75,000 Brookmeade and $75,000 Jamestown and followed by the $75,000 Punch Line.
With four-time Maryland riding champion Trevor McCarthy aboard for seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Largent ($2.10) completed the distance in 1:42.06 over a firm All Along turf course layout for his fifth win from seven career starts and second in a stakes.

Largent (#1) en route to a tight victory in the Bert Allen Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Tolaga Bay was a stubborn second, a length ahead of Kendama in third. They were followed by Great Camanoe, Ismusbemyluckyday, Divine Interventio and River Deep.
“I had a really good break and I knew [Tolaga Bay] had some speed, as well, and they were going to want to go out there,” McCarthy said. “Todd said he didn’t have to be on the lead today and his race at Colonial he seemed to run pretty good off the pace. Plan B was to go to the lead and Plan A was to kind of get him to settle, and it worked out nice.”
Largent tracked Great Camanoe through a quarter-mile in 23.58 seconds before settling into third as River Deep picked up the chase in second after a half in 47.94. McCarthy was still unhurried in third when Kendama made his move to get into contention following six furlongs in 1:11.93, biding his time to wait for an opening.

Largent, shown after winning the Bert Allen Stakes, has 5 wins & 3 runner-up finishes from 8 career starts.

Down the backside they tried to slow the pace down and I said, ‘I they’re going to go this slow, I have to make them work for it.’ That’s when I kind of went up on the inside there and made those guys kick on,” McCarthy said. “I just sat chilly and tried not to panic on him. He was the best horse in the race. That day at Colonial he seemed like he could really shoot through a seam when there was one, so I just tried not to really get pressured and get panicked and take it as the race came up. He likes to fight this horse. I have to give a huge credit to [Tolaga Bay] who really put up a good race. He does everything you want him to. I’m just really happy.”
McCarthy got his chance once straightened for home and set down Largent for a drive up the inside as Jevian Toledo and Tolaga Bay dug in on his outside. The top two horses gained separation from their rivals and Largent ultimately found more approaching the wire to get his second stakes win in three starts following the one-mile Edward P. Evans, also against Virginia-breds, July 29 at Colonial.
“[Great Camanoe] was kind of out the whole way and kind of wanting to bait me through there and I knew [River Deep] would kind of run out of gas and I was just starting to make my way out until Toledo saw me starting to make a move on the inside and put the pressure on the inside,” McCarthy said. “I just kept telling myself to wait and something’s going to open, and sure enough it did.”

Embolden captured the Punch Line Stakes October 9 at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

McCarthy completed a stakes triple by guiding Dare to Dream Stable’s Embolden to a popular 1 ¼-length triumph over Lynchburg in the 5 ½-furlong Punch Line for 3-year-olds and up, hitting the wire in 1:02.17 on the Dahlia turf course.
Embolden ($3.20) gave the tandem of McCarthy and trainer Michael Stidham their second stakes win of the day, also teaming up with Tasting the Stars in the Brookmeade.
Ready to Run sprinted to the lead from his rail post chased by Embolden through a quick quarter-mile in 21.88 seconds. Embolden ranged up on the leader midway on the turn and took over the lead once straightened for home, opening up on the field and cruising to the wire under a hand ride as Lynchburg came with a late run for second. Boondoggle finished third.

Trevor McCarthy leads Embolden back to the winners circle. Photo by Jim McCue.

Winner of the 2019 Jamestown at Colonial Downs, Embolden ran second to Largent in the Edward P. Evans to open his sophomore campaign. He dropped back to state-bred company after a pair of tries in graded-stakes, running fourth in the Aug. 29 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga and 10th in the Sept. 16 Franklin-Simpson (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
“I’m feeling very ecstatic. To win the third stake of the day with Embolden, he’s been one of my favorites since I broke his maiden at Colonial. I was happy to see him back sprinting today,” McCarthy said. “It was a big field so I wanted to get out as quick as I could and get position. I knew [Ready to Run] would be great speed from the rail so I wanted to lay second and stalk and get him in a good rhythm. It was a pretty hot pace but I wasn’t too worried. He gave me his kick turning for home and I was very happy with him.”

Kenny Had A Notion won the Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Louis J. Ulman and H. Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion ($3) proved to be too much for his competition, sprinting to a popular five-length triumph in the Jamestown for 2-year-olds. Jorge Ruiz rated the Dale Capuano trainee behind Cool Enough for a quarter-mile before sweeping to the lead at the top of the stretch and cruising home in 1:03.62.
Susan Cooney-trained stablemates Point of Grace, off at 35-1, and Virginia Fib respectively ran second and third. It was the third career start for Kenny Had a Notion, a gelded bay son of prominent sire Great Notion who broke his maiden at first asking July 30 and was sixth after a troubled trip in the First State Dash Sept. 26, both at Delaware Park.

Tasting The Stars won the Brookmeade Stakes October 9 at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Under a well-timed ride from McCarthy, Newtown Anner Stud Farm’s Tasting the Stars ($4) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in more than year in the 1 1/16-mile Brookmeade for fillies and mares 3 and up. McCarthy settled the even-money favorite in third before tipping out three wide on the turn and surging past a stubborn Pink Pearl midway through the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:14.60 over the All Along layout. Fionnbharr was third.
Trained by Stidham, 4-year-old Tasting the Stars won her first three starts including the Just Jenda Stakes last July at Monmouth Park but went to the sidelines after running sixth in the Virginia Oaks. She returned 12 months later to be fifth in the Twixt Stakes on dirt Sept. 5 at Laurel.
Trying the turf and stakes company for the first time, Country Life Farm’s Virginia Beach ($8) kicked off the stakes action in Friday’s opener with a front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in the M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Dahlia turf course. The 3-year-old Virginia Beach, ridden by Victor Carrasco for trainer Mike Trombetta, had one win from three previous starts, all this year on dirt.

Virginia Beach prevailed in the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Defending champion and 1-5 favorite What the Beep, winner of the Camptown Stakes July 29 in her lone prior start this year, had a tough trip until getting clear late and wound up third, behind 40-1 longshot runner-up Tea in China. The winning time was 1:03.41.
This piece appeared on the website. Congratulations to the winning Breeders:
*Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III – Virginia Beach (M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes)
*Audley Farm Equine – Tasting The Stars (Brookmeade Stakes)
*Althea Richards – Kenny Had a Notion (Jamestown Stakes)
*Lazy Lane Farms – Largent (Bert Allen Stakes)
*Nancy Terhune & Ernest Frohboese – Embolden (Punch Line Stakes) 

Middleburg Fall Races Set For Saturday October 10

Nine races with purses totaling $115,000 are up for grabs at Saturday’s Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park in Middleburg, as the National Steeplechase Association (NSA) returns to the Old Dominion for the second straight week.

Because of ongoing Covid-19 protocols, the event will be run without spectators, but you can still enjoy the races in real time via live stream broadcast. All told, 94 horses were entered in the final overnights.

Glenwood Park plays host to a card of sanctioned steeplechase races each spring and fall.

The expansive nine-race card, with a first-race post time of 12:30 p.m., is anchored by the National Sporting Library and Museum Cup (the fourth race of the afternoon), which will be run as a timber stake as a result of a purse bump from $15,000 to $25,000.

The 3 ¼-mile test features a lineup of eight veterans including Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday, runner up to Andi’amu in last year’s running, and Armata Stable’s Grand Manan, who finished second in the race in 2017. Two other contenders, S. Rebecca Shepherd’s Curve of Stones, and Sheila J. Williams’ and Northwood Stable’s Storm Team had previously broken their timber maidens over the course. Charlie Fenwick’s Royal Ruse comes into the stake off of a 15-length triumph in a non-sanctioned open timber event at Shawan Downs two weeks ago. Up-and-coming apprentice Skylar McKenna has the mount for her aunt, trainer Sanna Neilson. Also in the field is Upland Partners Mystic Strike, winner of the 2019 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Mystic Strike finished second to Royal Ruse at Shawan.

Andi’Amu, who will compete in the National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, was best in the 2020 Middleburg Hunt Cup.

The card also includes three maiden hurdles, a handicap for horses rated at 115 or lower, a timber maiden, steeplethon over natural brush and timber fences, and a timber race and training-flat contest, both restricted to apprentice jockeys.

There’s an interesting footnote to the fifth race, the $10,000 Daniel P. Sands Cup maiden hurdle for three and four year olds. One of the entries making his debut over jumps is Irv Naylor’s Junior Senator. If the name conjures memories of another horse with a similar name, it’s not a coincidence. Junior Senator, a four-year-old gelded son of Smarty Jones out of the mare Queen Kennelot, is a half brother to the legendary Senior Senator, the three-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup. Junior Senator ran eight times at Laurel over the flat for trainer Billy Meister, winning once.

Middleburg’s grass course is 1 1/4 miles around at its outermost point.

Looking at the leaderboard entering Saturday’s races at Middleburg, trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who had a hot hand at Saratoga and saddled one winner at the Foxfield Fall Races in Charlottesville, Va., last Sunday, has an 11 to 10 edge in victories over conditioner Jack Fisher.

Among jockeys, Gerard Galligan has eight victories, one more than Michael Mitchell, and two more than Tom Garner and Sean McDermott.

If you choose to watch the races via the live stream, you can print out the program by going to the NSA web site and clicking on the link for the overnights: The live stream is sponsored by Brown Advisory, Charleston’s The Post and Courier, Bruton Street-US, and the Virginia Equine Alliance.

Five $75,000 Turf Stakes For Virginia-Bred/Sired Horses Highlight Racing Action at Laurel Friday October 9

The M. Tyson Gilpin, Jamestown and Punch Line Stakes will be contested at 5 1/2 furlongs while the Brookmeade and Bert Allen Stakes will be run at the 1 1/16th miles distance.

Dare To Dream Stables’ Embolden headlines a 14-horse field in the Punch Line Stakes scheduled as Race 8, final Virginia-bred event on the card. The 3-year-old The Factor gelding is fresh off a pair of Grade 3 efforts at Keeneland and Saratoga. In his prior race, the Michael Stidham trainee finished second in the Edward P. Evans Stakes and in 2019, wired the field in capturing the Jamestown Stakes. Trevor McCarthy will ride Embolden, who was bred by Nancy Terhune and Ernest Frohboese.

Embolden wins the 2019 Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds over the Colonial turf. Photo by Coady Photography.

The pair also bred Reform School, a 3-year-old Munnings colt who will compete in the Punch Line and is coming off an allowance win at Charles Town last month. In ten life starts, the Crystal Pickett trainee has finished in the top three eight times. Sheldon Russell has the mount.

Twin Creeks Racing and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Largent looks to add to an already impressive 2020 campaign in the Bert Allen Stakes. The Todd Pletcher trainee has three wins and a pair of runner-ups so far from five starts including a victory in the Edward P. Evans Stakes July 20 at Colonial. In seven outings, the 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding has never finished worse than second. He was bred by Lazy Lane Farms and will have Trevor McCarthy up top.

Largent wins the 2020 Edward P. Evans Stakes at Colonial Downs July 29. Photo by Coady Photography.

Paul Hirsimaki’s Divine Interventio, winner of $354,644, makes his first Virginia-bred stakes start in the Bert Allen. The 7-year-old Malibu Moon gelding has 43 career outs and 27 “in-the-money” finishes. The Hugh McMahon trainee was bred by the William Backer Revocable Estate and will be ridden by Katie Davis.

Morgan Ford Farms’ River Deep is also in the field. The 6-year-old Arch gelding won the Hansel and Bert Allen Stakes in 2018 and the Evans last year, but has struggled in 2020. He recently prepped in the Blue Ridge Hunt’s Woodley Cup feature September 19 in Berryville and defeated five others at a one-mile distance. Sheldon Russell, who has ridden River Deep in all three of his stakes wins, will be aboard again.

Divine Interventio pushed his bankroll close to the $300,000 mark with a win March 16, 2019 win at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Eagle Point Farms’ What The Beep looks to make it two straight in Virginia-bred stakes company when she faces a field of five other fillies and mares in the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes. The 5-year-old Great Notion mare won Colonial’s Camptown Stakes by one length July 29 with Forest Boyce in the irons. She was also up top when What The Beep won the ’18 Gilpin edition and will ride again Friday for trainer Karen Dennehy Godsey.

What The Beep captured the $100,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes last August at Colonial Downs. Photo by Coady Photography.

Country Life Farms’ Bella Aurora is one of six fillies and mares in the Brookmeade Stakes field. In nine starts, the Michael Trombetta trainee has competed in six stakes including a win in the Gin Talking last December at Laurel. The 3-year-old Carpe Diem filly finished second in the ’19 Jamestown and third in this year’s Camptown. Bella Aurora was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and will be ridden by Julian Pimentel.

Competition could come from Newtown Anner Stud’s Tasting the Stars, who has only five lifetime starts. The Michael Stidham conditioned filly appeared in the ’19 Virginia Oaks at Colonial. The 4-year-old daughter of Bodemeister was off for a year and just returned with a fifth in the Twixt Stakes September 5 at Laurel. She was bred by Audley Farm Equine and will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy.

Bella Aurora (#4) was best in the 2019 Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

The Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds attracted a field of seven including a pair who broke their maiden this summer. Louis Ulman and Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion won a tight maiden special weight at Delaware July 30 and most recently, finished sixth in the First State Dash Stakes. The Great Notion gelding was bred by Althea Richards. Rashid’s Thoroughbred Racing and Kingdom Bloodstock’s Cool Enough captured a $20,000 maiden claimer in New Kent August 5, wiring the field after the race was moved to the dirt track. The Tamarkuz filly was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm. Jorge Ruiz and Forest Boyce have the respective mounts.

The Bert Allen and Punch Line Stakes are each included in Friday’s Stronach Pick-5 wager that features a $100,000 guaranteed pool.

Virginia racing enthusiasts can wager the action at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Center or online at,, and