Here's how we handicap the 82nd running of the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup (for recreational purposes only, of course):
3 to 1 – GHOST VALLEY –This one comes from the First Family of jump racing being owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable. Sanna Hendriks trains. Career earnings over timber $77,400. Ghost Valley, pictured right, has made 18 starts over timber and been in the money all but once. He most recently won the Middleburg Hunt Cup. October 2006, he won the Gold Cup’s sister race, the $50,000 International Gold Cup.
4 to 1 – BUBBLE ECONOMY – Does Saluter ring any bells? How about Jack Fisher? Bubble Economy has lifetime earnings of $127,000. He won the Little Grand National last time out on April 21 by 3.5 lengths. Prior to that, he was second in the My Lady’s Manor a week earlier, and back in March he won the open timber race at Green Spring.
5 to 1 – NO FAST MOVES – The Kinross-Morris combo wins jump races like Tiger Woods wins golf tournies. No Fast Moves ($42,900) was second in his only 2007 prep race at the Fairfax Point-to-Point beaten four lengths by Fields of Omagh. Last year at Iroquois, he was second in a $75,000 timber stake, and the race prior to that he was second in the My Lady’s Manor. He likes to be second.
7 to 1 – MR. BOMBASTIC (GER) – Nizza pferd! Mr. Bobastic has won $58,300 and was recently third to Fappa Fire and Bubble Economy at My Lady’s Manor. One week earlier, he won the Lady Rider Timber race at Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point. In his last start of 2006, Mr. Bombastic won the New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills. Question is can he win this far below the Mason-Dixon line? Jack Fisher trains.
10 to 1 – FIELDS OF OMAGH – He doesn’t like his races to close together. He won the International Gold Cup in 2005, but then only wandered out of his stable three times in 2006. Ah heck, he just needed some rest. After a cushy five plus months off, Fields of Omagh ($43,800) got his game on and won the open timber race at the Fairfax Hunt Point-to-Point three weeks ago. He is owned and trained by Randy Rouse who knows his stuff.
12 to 1 – SALMO – Salmo ($49,900), pictured right, is another Jack Fisher trainee. He was recently second to Bubble Economy at Middleburg. Last year, he won the Radnor Hunt Cup.
12 to 1 – IRON COUNTRY XMAS – Iron Country Xmas is trained by Doug Fout, and he has won $30,900. ICX was third in The My Lady Manor Stakes and prior to that he won the open Rokeby Bowl at Piedmont. Prior to that, he was on vacation for almost three years. Nice work if you can get it.
15 to 1 – FAPPA FIRE – Last time out Fappa Fire ($29,000), pictured left, beats Bubble Economy, so why doesn’t he have better odds? Excellent question, grasshopper. Seems as Fappa Fire beat Bubble Economy over three miles, but the experts think he won’t cotton to that last mile of the four mile Gold Cup. Sort of like Rosie to Donald Trump, if you get my meaning?
30 to 1 – THE REST OF THE FIELD -- ROSBRIAN, SEEYOUATTHEEVEN, PATRIOT’S PATH, MR. LIBERATOR and J. ALFRED PRUFROCK – Rosbrian ($81,150) hasn’t won yet this year, but was third in the open timber race at Green Spring. Seeyouattheevent ($13,500) has only been out once in 2007, finishing third in a $20,000 timber allowance at the Carolina Cup races. He won two timber races last spring for trainer Jack Fisher and owner Arthur Arundel. Both of those boys know their way around the Gold Cup course, so don’t be fooled.
Patriot's Path has one third in five career starts and $5,350 in earnings. His entry into a $100,000 race is a reach. But his trainer, Bruce Haynes, is no dummy, so the wager is he thinks he will like the distance and the going. Mr. Liberator ($9,000) is another with limited experience. However, this one has at least won a race – the $15,000 maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor. Owner, trainer and rider Conrad Somers has decided to take a swing at the big boys with J. Alfred Prufrock. “J. Al”, as his friends call him, is undefeated in 2007 going three for three. He won the Amateur Highweight Timber race at My Lady’s Manor as well as the Heavy Weight Timber races at Brandywine Hills and Cheshire Point-to-points. Maybe J. Al has a little “Rudy” in him, who knows?