All of the inside scoop on Virginia's biggest day of Steeplechase racing -- the Virginia Gold Cup. Hey, 50,000 of your closest friends can't be wrong! Do you have your tickets yet?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photos Of The Day

Frankie Dettori riding Sandiva (L) win the $109,00 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes G3 at Newmarket racecourse on April 16, 2014 in Newmarket, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Pat Dobbs riding Magnus Maximus win The $168,000 Tattersalls Millions 3YO Sprint Stakes at Newmarket racecourse on April 16, 2014 in Newmarket, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pineau De Re wins $1.675 million English Grand National

Pineau de Re ridden by Leighton Aspell jumps the last fence before going on to win the $1.675 million English Grand National.  (Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)
Pineau De Re was the 25-1 winner of the Grand National, foiling the two most high-profile jockeys in the race, Richard Johnson and Tony McCoy, who finished second and third on Balthazar King and Double Seven. The winning jockey was Leighton Aspell, making two years in a row that the famous Aintree race has been won by a rider back from retirement, following Ryan Mania last year.

The 37-year-old Aspell, runner-up in the National 11 years ago on Supreme Glory, quit the saddle in the summer of 2007 and went to work in the Flat-racing yard of John Dunlop in Sussex. He returned to action in 2009 and has now been rewarded with what was already his best season by a long way. Even so, first prize of £561,000 doubles his money won since last May.

This was the second Grand National over the modified fences that have been criticised by some for being too soft. Last year, every runner cleared the first seven fences without incident but this race looked much more like older Nationals, with Twirling Magnet falling at the first and others tumbling at regular intervals, including Burton Port and Big Shu at the next two fences.

However, various media outlets reported that all horses returned without serious injury. A total of 18 completed the course.

The most notable departure in the early stages was the well-fancied Long Run, a past winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase, who fell when leading at Valentine's Brook. Shortly after, as the field tackled The Chair in front of the stands, there were despairing cries from many a punter as Teaforthree unseated Nick Scholfield.

(Tom Jenkins for the Observer)
Nor was the drama confined to the fences. There was a false start, following which Battle Group refused to race when the tape went up for real.

"I was very conscious that I didn't want to be in front too soon over four and a half miles," Aspell said. "He's a small horse, so he has to try at his fences, which he kept doing.

"When I got a bit of daylight, I knew I'd be fine because that was my only worry. Once he was in daylight, from the Canal Turn, he really enjoyed that part of the race."

The winning trainer is the 50-year-old Dr Richard Newland, who took Pineau De Re into his Worcestershire stable last summer and sparked a revival in his form. The horse is Newland's first Grand National runner. 

Photos Of The Day - English Grand National

In cold drizzly weather some fans arrive in less than suitable clothes. (All photos by Tom Jenkins for the Observer)
  he horses break through the tape for a false start
The packed stands watch the third race, the Silver Cross Stayers Hurdle was won by Barry Geraghty on Whisper. 
  At The Chair, Nick Scholfield is unseated from the favorite Teaforthree.

Checking out The Chair.
A bettor is rather “chuffed” that he backed 9/2 favourite Lac Fontana to win the Mersey Novices' hurdle race.
The 25-1 shotPineau De Re, passes the post to win the National by five lengths.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Photo Of The Day

A general view as runners clear the 'Chair' at Aintree racecourse on April 03, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  The world famous English Grand National steeplechase is tomorrow with 40 horses entered to go to the post. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe) 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Top Striker Wins $50,000 Carolina Cup

(NSA) It was a day of surprises at Springdale Race Course, starting with the weather. 

What was forecast to be a miserably stormy day, turned out to be just dandy. And the racing was just as good. Hometown favorite Top Striker, owned by locals Sue and George Sensor and trained by Camden's own Arch Kinglsley, put on a dazzling show to win the Carolina Cup novice stakes by 11.5 lengths. 
TOP STRIKER (Tod Marks/NSA Photo)
Top Striker marked himself as a rising star when he powered away to a dramatic victory in the 82nd edition of the historic $50,000 stakes race for novice steeplechase horses at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on Saturday, March 29.

Ridden confidently by leading jockey Willie McCarthy, the five-year-old Van Nistelrooy gelding shadowed Sheila J. Williams’ Easy Reach through the first 1 3/4 miles of the 2 1/8-mile Carolina Cup.

Approaching the second to last fence, McCarthy turned Top Striker loose, and he quickly opened a daylight lead. Cleanly over the last obstacle, Top Striker increased his advantage at will, and McCarthy booted him home with only modest encouragement.

A maiden winner last year, Top Striker completed the Carolina Cup distance in 4:01.40 on turf rated as good. He is trained in Camden by Arch Kingsley Jr., and the owner is a Camden resident.

Easy Reach held the second spot, two lengths clear of owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers. Rock Ford Stables’ Sporty finished fourth in a field of six novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences.

Photos Of The Day - The Carolina Cup

 Scenes from the 82nd Annual Carolina Cup at Springdale Race Course in Camden, SC. (Al Photos by Jeff Blake/

Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Maggie Bryant’s Dakota Slew (left)  dominated in the 3 1/2-mile open timber Rokeby Bowl at Saturday’s Piedmont Point-to-Point in Upperville, Virginia for trainer Richard Valentine and rider Robbie Walsh. (Douglas Lees Photo)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Will Carolina Cup Fashion Impact Gold Cup Fashion?

A major event on the spring steeplechase calendar, the Carolina Cup was held on Saturday.  Spring officially started last Thursday prior to the big race (and party), but for some Carolinians, spring doesn’t start until Carolina Day. And for many attending, the biggest thing on their minds was what to wear.
LucyGordon Smith, left, and Karley Nyman, employees at Julia Neal Fashions in Five Points in Columbia, said that Carolina Cup fashion is becoming “a lot less preppy” and more “bohemian chic.” (TRAVIS BROUSSARD — USC School of Journalism)

Read more here:
More than 60,000 people show up for the horse race each year in a sea of neon colors, floral patterns, bow ties and sun hats. It is the bellwether of spring fashion in South Carolina, known for its fashion as much as for its horses. Think of it as a modern-day Woodstock for the conservative minded.
For years now, the traditional outfit has been preppy – a Lilly Pulitzer dress (maybe a Stinger or Elephant Ears print), a pair of Jack Rogers sandals and a monogrammed sun hat to top it off. It is a classy look that will stick around. Guys have always kept it simple with a pastel button-up, a bow tie, a pair of khakis and a matching koozie.
But fashion evolves, and traditions stay the same, so what better place to see the clash of new and old than the Carolina Cup?
Joy Hoffman, left, and Reta Whitten have fun at the 82nd Annual Carolina Cup at Springdale Race Course in Camden, SC.(Jeff Blake, The State)

Read more here:
Or not?
To read more, click here

Photo Of The Day

African Story and Silvestre De Sousa winnings the $10 million Dubai World Cup G1 sponsored by Emirates, for trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, at the 19th running of the Dubai World Cup, Saturday March 29th -2014. (DRC Photo)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

World's Richest Horse Race Draws Sixteen (Horses)

Ruler of The World, last year's Epsom Derby (England) victor, is the early favorite for the $10 million Emirates Dubai World Cup today at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, UAE.  Suffice to say that hats are part of the spectacle!
The son of Galileo, who will have his first race of the year, drew post 12 in the 16-horse field, the same berth from which Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom started en route to winning last year. He is tabbed as the 9-2 favorite on the morning line in the United States.
Ruler of The World had a 3-1-1 record from seven starts last season including his Derby win, and his campaign was capped by a third-place finish in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot. He arrived in Dubai March 26 and will clear quarantine March 28.
Ron the Greek, who now races in Saudi Arabia, drew terribly in the far outside post. He is 5-1 second choice on the U.S. morning line.
The Dubai World Cup card of eight Thoroughbred stakes will broadcast live by HRTV, beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Post time for the first Thoroughbred stakes, the $1 million Godolphin Mile is 9:10 a.m. Post time for the Dubai World Cup is approximately 2:05 p.m. and can be seen from 1:00 to 2:30 pm on Fox Sports 1.  
British-based globetrotter Red Cadeaux, was a fast-flying second last year, two lengths behind Animal Kingdom . He will break from post 14.
To read more, click here.

(Photos by Francois Nel/Getty Images and Warren Little/Getty Images)

Photos Of The Day

Adam Kirby eases to victory on Piton in The New Jump Fixture On 05.05.14 Handicap Race at Kempton Park racecourse on March 27, 2014 in Sunbury, England. (Getty Images Europe)
George Baker riding Chain Of Events during The Betdaq Free 25 Bet No Lose Handicap Race at Kempton Park racecourse on March 27, 2014 in Sunbury, England. (Getty Images Europe)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Runners in The Towcester Racecourse New Greyhound Track Devekopment Novices' Hurdle Race clear a hurdle at Towcester racecourse on March 24, 2014 in Towcester, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Runners clear a flight of hurdles in the back straight in The Finishing Post @White PostbRimpton Novices Hurdle Race at Wincanton racecourse on March 23, 2014 in Wincanton, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Barry Geraghty rides Thanks For Coming to victory and Paddy Brennan rides Ifyousayso to second in the Oakley Coachbuilders Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Newbury Racecourse on March 21, 2014 in Newbury, England. (Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Photo Of The Day

Ulzana's Raid, (centre) ridden by Robert Thornton jumps safely over a fence during the first circuit of the MHM One Call Maiden Hurdle at Warwick Racecourse on March 19, 2014 in Warwick, England. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Europe)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 Virginia Gold Cup: The Clock Starts Now!

It’s that time of year when a series of events triggers Gold Cup Fever which this year is crossed with the highly infectious Cabin Fever which has been thrust on all of us by an unrelenting Old Man Winter who is clearly not pleased with Mother Nature. Jeez...enough already...!

That said, look around.  The snow is melting, the NCAA basketball tournament gets underway tonight, MLB spring training is going on in Florida and Arizona and St. Patrick’s Day was just celebrated a few days back. 

All are important, but St. Paddy’s day is close to our hearts and on a cosmic parallel with the big event the First Saturday In May.

In short, St Patrick's Day is an annual religious and cultural commemoration of the widely recognized patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. March 17th, is a public holiday in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but is celebrated in many countries around the world where Irish diaspora have settled.

And all this time, we thought it was about leprechauns and green beer…!

Point is it’s a celebration and a big party and loads of fun just like the annual Virginia Gold Cup and we all know the Irish love horse racing (especially jumpers) and a good party no matter the color of the beverage of choice.

So start getting ready. Clothes, tailgate, picnic, TICKETS, etc.

To get your tickets, click here

Monday, March 17, 2014

Skijoring? More Snow = The Virginia Skijoring Cup?

Brenton Morton is airborn off the third jump a Kristen House and Buck
 race down the straight during the world skijoring championships
 in Whitefish, Montana.
 (Lido Vizzutti/Washington Post)
Skijoring comes our way via Montana…Big Sky Country's own exciting and unique Extreme Sport is here, with the most money, the largest field of competitors and for spectators, the biggest party on snow!

The World Ski Joring Championships are hallmarked by the largest cash purse on the entire skijoring race circuit, estimated at over $20,000 this year. There's a lot of money at stake and skiers & horsemen (and horsewomen) will all be racing for their share of it, in four separate classes, plus the Murdoch's Long Jump.

 Modern skijoring combines Whitefish's signature ski racing heritage with Big Sky Country's cowboy roots into a wild, fast-paced and entertaining spectator event.

To read more, click here.
Cinderella ridden by  Mo Fingers pulls skier Lance Nelson
during the world skijoring championships in Whitefish, Montana.
 (Lido Vizzutti/Washington Post)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lord Windermere Wins $914,000 Cheltenham Gold Cup

 Davy Russell celebrates after riding Lord Windermere
to victory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase.
(Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)
( Lord Windermere stormed through the field in the final stretch to win the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup in a photo finish before a sellout crowd of 67,500 March 14 on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

After two false starts and a tight finish, Lord Windermere, trained by Jim Culloty and ridden by Davy Russell, snatched the race by a short head from On His Own.

A stewards' inquiry was held following the race because Lord Windermere had drifted into On His Own after they cleared the last fence. Although officials concluded there was a clear interference, they ruled it was not sufficient to amend the placings.

 Davy Russell and Lord Windermere (far right).
 (Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)
Lord Windermere, an Irish-bred 8-year-old Oscar gelding owned by Dr. Ronan Lambe, finished the about 3 1/4-mile trip over 22 fences in 6:43.88 on good turf. Entering off a sixth-place finish in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown Feb. 9, his record improved to 6-3-1 from 16 career starts.

"I'm obviously delighted and relieved. It was nerve-wracking," Russell said after the results were confirmed. "I knew I was under no pressure and I just took a chance of going down the inside and he's done it."

Photos Of The Day

A general view as runners make their way out into the back straight during Cheltenham Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Traditional hats for sale during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)
A general view of runners and riders during the JCB Triumph Hurdle on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)
 Daryl Jacob rides Lac Fontana to victory in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)
 Davy Russell on Lord Windemere (R) win from Ruby Walsh on On His Own (centre) and Tom Scudamore on The Giant Bolster during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)
 A packed parade ring during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)
Ruby Walsh's Cheltenham Festival came to a premature end after a crashing fall in the first race left him nursing a broken arm. The horse galloped off apparently no worse for the wear. (Andy Hopper/Daily Mail Photo)
Paul Carberry rides Very Wood to victory in the $199,500 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on Gold Cup day at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 14, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images Europe)