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?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SEEYOUATTHEVENT CAPTURES MAIN EVENT (AGAIN)

By Brian Nadeau/Steeplechase Times

Far Hills visited The Plains, Va. on Saturday in the form of rain, cold and wind. In the midst of it all Jeff Murphy stole the show, winning two of the three jump races on the card.

Subbing for Far-Hills bound Willie Dowling, Murphy took the International Gold Cup for Nick Arundel and Jack Fisher with Seeyouattheevent, who bested Bon Caddo and stablemate Bubble Economy. The 8-year-old son of Event Of The Year took the Gold Cup in 2007 and doubled up on Saturday with a late rush that carried him clear of Uppercut late. The latter was later disqualified for going outside a beacon, which moved Bubble Economy into second and Shady Valley third. Fan favorite Salmo was forced to settle off the quick pace set by Incaseyouraminer and Music To My Ears and never factored while racing wide.

Murphy and Fisher also scored aboard Major Malibu in the $25,000 Steeplethon. The 5-year-old took charge midway through and proved a handy winner over a late-running Swimming River.

Sonic Charm and Diana Gillam took the opener, a $15,000 maiden hurdle, for Rusty Cline and Don Yovanovich.

There were also two open flat races on the card. The $10,000 International World Cup at 1 3/4 miles was won by Slaney Rock (Michelle Penman) while the $25,000 Virginia-bred at 1 1/2 went to Love Colony (Jake Chalfin).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

FAIR WEATHER RACE GOERS CAN WATCH ON LINE

So you chickened out and decided to forgo the International Gold Cup just because it’s wet and it’s cold…Really?

Well, you’re missing a bunch of fun, but if you want to keep up with what’s going on at Great Meadow as well as at the meet at Far Hills, NJ, you can do so thanks to Universal Sports and the National Steeplechase Association.
To watch the live feed, click here.

If you change your mind, you can still get out to the race course in time for the feature!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"REAL HOUSEWIVES" HEADED TO GOLD CUP

Not too long ago, television network Bravo announced a that a spin-off of its hit docu-series franchise The Real Housewives was in development in the influential metropolitan region of Washington, D.C.

Hmmm...

Guess what? According to our sources, they have chosen the cast and they plan on filming at Saturday’s International Gold Cup.

“We’re tapping personalities who are among Washington D.C.’s influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders – the people who rub elbows with the most prominent people in the country and easily move in the city’s diverse political and social circles,” said Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bravo Media.

Evidently,some of those “players” will be out at Great Meadow eating, drinking and bickering, or whatever it is that Real Housewives do, while the Bravo team captures it all on tape (or digital).

In addition, Universal Sports will also be at the races producing five hours of coverage in cooperation with the National Steeplechase Association. They will broadcast three races and they can be seen at UniversalSports.com or on Verizon, Cox or DirectTV. So if you want to actually see the races, you can Tivo them and watch it when you get home. How convienient.

And,finally, just because clothes make the man and t.v. cameras make the event, the Virginia Tourism Corporation will also be at the Gold Cup filming for future promotions.

So look your best, and you might be an “extra” in one of three television productions!

For more scoop from our friend Carol Joynt (of the late great Nathans of Georgetown fame) click here and from the Washington Post click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Riders compete during the 119th traditional Velka Pardubicka Steeple-Chase in Pardubice city, East Bohemia, on October 11, 2009.

(Photos by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, October 9, 2009

WEEKEND PLANNER: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17th

So, your sittin’ around trying to figure out what to do on Saturday, October 17th…

The answer is obvious – you go to the International Gold Cup. It’s a great sporting event combined with a great party and a nice day in the country. Enough said.

However, while the gals will relish the opportunity to wear that new dress and hat (we recommend a bringing a sweater and/or sunscreen and a pair of sensible shoes even though we know that latter item is ALWAYS ignored), the guys are always running down the “sporting events” check list before making a decision.

Thankfully, the woeful Redskins and the ongoing drama that is the Jim Zorn Show and As The Vinny Turns, both brought to you by Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Productions, do not play on Saturdays.

Baseball is out since both local squad, the Nats and the O’s, didn’t sniff the post-season playoffs. Heck, the Nationals were so bad they misspelled their own name on their jersies, not once, but twice. You can watch the playoff on TV Saturday night since MLB has decided to abandon kids as part of the fan base and to show the overwhelming majority of the games when the next generation of fans is asleep.

College football? Why bother. The only legit DI team in the Commonwealth is Virginia Tech, and they play Georgia Tech the night of the International Gold Cup. No sweat, you can go to the races and easily be home or be at your favorite sports bar for the 6 p.m. kickoff.

Virginia is 1-3 going into this weekend and Maryland is 2-3. Both are likely to lose again on Saturday, and then guess what? On Gold Cup Saturday, they play each other. If you’re a die-hard, you can catch the second half since it starts at 4pm, but, really, why would you?

Two of the best D1AA squads in state, #1 Richmond and #10 JMU face off this weekend, so that’s out of the way come Gold Cup. No. 8 William and Mary has a bye on IGC weekend.

Our one legit professional franchise, the Caps, is home in the Verizon Center, but they don’t skate until 7 p.m.

Thankfully, Agent Zero and the rest of the Wiz/No Wiz have the night off.

So, simply put, the International Gold Cup remains the best party on Saturday’s menu and one of the best local sporting events as well.

So get your tix and we will see you there.

(Go JMU!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

JACK RUSSELL RACES HIGHLIGHT GOLD CUP PRE-GAME EVENTS

On Saturday, October 17 at the International Gold Cup the pre-race events will again be highlighted by the now famous Jack Russell Terrier race exhibition. We aren’t gonna get in trouble with the guys that put on the horse races and say this is just a bit more entertaining, but we will say it’s pretty good stuff.

Just wander over to the paddock at noon and check it out. It’s not that far of a walk and besides you will see all sorts of interesting things between where you are and where you will end up. Just another part of the Gold Cup experience!

Remember: noon and paddock.

None of the canine knuckleheads seen here will be competing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

JUST ONE MORE REASON AMERICA IS A GREAT COUNTRY

Of course, we constantly compare the Gold Cup (both Spring and Fall) to other big spectator sporting events to be sure we offer our patrons a quality experience. So...

Enter Australia.

The Aussies are always good for a little perspective and our friends over at the blog wonderfully titled “Sucks To Be You” hipped us to this item which makes the Gold Cup (which, we will admit, has a handful of useful rules and regs related to attending the event) look like geniuses. And, that is a good thing.

Evidently, there is an auto race down under called the Bathurst 1000. Again, evidently, it is something of a party. So much so that organizers of the event are limiting attendees to one “slab” of beer a day. For those of you who are not familiar with the Aussie lingo, a “slab” equals 24 cans or as we say in these parts A CASE.

No kidding.
However, if you drink the Aussie version of “light beer,” you can have 36 cans! Ahhh...the emergency 12-pack!!!!
According to Reuters, wine lovers must make do with no more than “four liters of cask wine per day” and combinations of the options will not be allowed. Damn.

Here are a few points to ponder. Hey, Aussies, ever heard of water? It’s free if you bring it from home, and if you want to get fancy you can even buy it at a store.
If your na├»ve enough to believe somebody stands out in the show with a wooden bucket on some glacier in who knows where to capture the stuff, you’ll really enjoy the store bought version. On the other hand, maybe the glaciers melting isn’t global warming, but a byproduct of Evian?

If water isn’t your thing, there’s cola. You can drink the regular kind by the gallon and end up weighing 400 lbs and starring on NBC’s hit show Biggest Loser or you can stick with the diet stuff that used to kill lab rats, but we’re pretty sure it’s OK now. At least, it hasn’t killed Diet Coke swilling pro-golfer John Daly – yet.
And then there are those energy drinks that taste like gasoline. That will get you all amped up so you are more likely to pay attention to the race while you quaff 36 Australian Miller Lites! Woo-hoo!

So be glad there are no “tailgate police” at the International Gold Cup. As long as you maintain a level of decorum that is appropriate while not infringing on your neighbor’s right to a good time, you’ll be OK. It’s really pretty easy and it doesn’t involve math so we’ve got that going for us.
We won’t even mention a designated driver because we KNOW that if you plan to party you already HAVE ONE.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

MIDDLEBURG RACES PRELUDE TO FALL GOLD CUP

VIRGINIA FALL RACES RECAP
Written by Brian Nadeau – Steeplechase Times

With the NHL season getting underway over the weekend it was only fitting that Hat Tricks were the theme at the Virginia Fall Races, where Paddy Young increased his lead in the standings with a trio of wins on Saturday and Jacob Roberts doubled his season total with three wins on Sunday.

Young entered the day with a two-win lead (13-11) over Xavier Aizpuru and Jody Petty in the standings but quickly left little doubt on his fall intentions. He teamed up with main client Doug Fout to sweep the first two on the card, including the featured National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup aboard Maggie Bryant’s Erin Go Bragh. Saving all the ground in the $35,000 timber tilt at 3 1/4 miles, Young engineered the mild upset over Seeyouattheevent and pro-tem leader Patriot's Path.

The win was Erin Go Bragh’s first since taking the New Jersey Hunt Cup last October at Far Hills. In three starts this spring the New Zealand-bred struggled, finishing third of four in a Middleburg allowance, a distant third in the 4-mile Virginia Gold Cup and then fifth, beaten 22 lengths in the Radnor Hunt Cup.

“We kind of played with him in the spring because he came back a bit keen and sketchy in his jumping. We kind of though ‘what’s the best way to ride him?’” At Far Hills he won sitting back off of it so we thought that might be the best way,” Young said. “It helped on Saturday that he was fresh and he jumped so well. He was a bit sharper than earlier in the year and shortening up a little bit helped as well. It’s good to get him back going in the right direction.”

In the opener, an optional claimer, Young guided Eldon Farm’s Chess Board to a neck win over Fogcutter and then made it a perfect 3-for-3 when he guided Ann Stern’s Major Malibu to a maiden timber win for Jack Fisher.

“Coming in I would have been happy to pick up one win, so obviously I didn’t expect this kind of day,” Young said. “Obviously when you get that first one out of the way it makes it a little easier to relax for the remainder of the day. And to win with my only three mounts on the day makes it all the more exciting."

Fisher also scored a training double on the day when he saddled Gil Johnston’s I Know It’s Not (Willie Dowling) to a win in fifth, a maiden-claimer. The 5-year-old son of Yes It’s true won in his fifth start over hurdles.

Friday, September 18, 2009

JUMP RACING LAST WEEKEND AT COLONIAL DOWNS

Eagle Beagle with Paddy Young wins the open hurdle race at Colonial Downs on 13 September.
Torlundy, ridden by Paddy Young, won the maiden hurdle at Colonial Downs, the first sanctioned steeplechase meet of the fall season. Hope he uncrossed those front legs before he landed...
Virginia-bred Class Disco (3rd) with Bernard Dalton and Beech Cay (2nd) with Jody Petty.
All photos by Susan M. Carter of Jeffersonton, VA. Susan is an equine enthusiast and photographer. To see more of her award winning work, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

COLLEGE FOOTBALL GETS UNDERWAY TONIGHT...

...and that can mean one thing, and one thing only -- Fall is fast approaching and with it the International Gold Cup.

On October 17th, 2009, 35,000 spectators will gather at Great Meadow near The Plains, Virginia, to celebrate the 72nd running of the International Gold Cup Races.

This event will provide a full day of entertainment including six nationally sanctioned horse races, terrier races, tailgate contest and a Porsche sports car exhibit.

Ticket sales benefit the Great Meadow Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Start planning now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

VIRGINIANS WIN BIG JUMP RACE AT SARATOGA

Virginians Jim Carter, and his wife Melinda, own Randleston Farm in Bluemont. They started out some years ago with the modest goal of maintaining a few broodmares, but, as often happens, the barn filled up with a string of flat runners and steeplechasers.

How fortuitous.

Yesterday, the Carters and Virginia-based trainer Jimmy Day of Berryville teamed up with Spy In The Sky and jockey Liam McVicar to upset the $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Gr.I at Saratoga.

In doing so, all they had to do was beat a bunch of stakes winners trained by some of the best trainers to ever saddle a jumper at the Spa (or anywhere else, for that matter). Rounding out the order of finish were Sermon of Love (Jonathan Sheppard), Dalucci (Janet Elliot), Swagger Stick (Jack Fisher), Mixed Up (Johathan Sheppard) and Slip Away (Tommy Voss). You Gold Cup fans know all about that Fisher guy...

Unfortunately, the victorious owner-trainer trio wasn’t there to witness the Grade I win, but if you heard an uproar coming from NW Virginia at around 2:10 p.m. yesterday, odds are it was the Carters and Days cheering him home via TVG. Was that “I Love New York” we heard wafting off the Blue Ridge and on down Piedmont way?

The 10 ¼ length victory paid $43.00 for the longest shot in the field as the 9-5 favorite Slip Away was pulled up and highweight Mixed Up struggled home last of five finishers.

McVicar, a Scottish-born apprentice who works for the Day stable in Virginia, said, “I didn’t want to hit the front too early because I had a ton of horse all the way around. I was trying to bring him back, hold him for 10 or 12 strides on the turn. Then it was time to kick on and win the race.”

(NYRA Photos)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN

Good news – only 73 more days until the International Gold Cup on October 17 at Great Meadow.

Until then, we will keep you up to date on some other horse races…some on the flat and some over jumps.

You may recall that prior to the spring Gold Cup, we were talking about a horse named Quality Road who was born just down the road from Great Meadow. He had a foot injury and missed the Kentucky Derby, but he’s back.

Back with a vengeance…

VIRGINIA'S TOP RACEHORSE BACK ON TRACK

It didn't look like a track record, but it was...

And just when it appeared there wasn't a three-year-old in the country who could run with super-filly Rachel Alexandra, Edward P. Evans' Virginia-bred Quality Road returned from a four-month hiatus to register a record-setting 2 1/4-length victory over Capt. Candyman Can in Monday's $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes Gr.II at Saratoga.

Quality Road, the likely favorite in this year's Kentucky Derby before being sidelined by reoccurring quarter cracks, covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:13.45.

The timer stopped him at 1:07.22 for six furlongs, a time so fast that folks had to wonder if it was correct. The track record for six furlongs at Saratoga is a long-standing 1:08 by Virginia-connected Spanish Riddle. The officials went back and hand timed the race and confirmed the time.

His final time shattered the course record set by Topsider in 1979 by nearly a full second. Quality Road, by Elusive Quality out Kobla by Strawberry Road, who was transferred from trainer Jimmy Jerkens to Todd Pletcher's barn, set the record despite stumbling at the start and racing wide throughout the race.

Simply put, Quality Road, who is a very cool customer pre-race, is so fast he doesn't look fast.
"Any time you run a horse for the first time with his potential, you want everything to go well, and we were hoping he'd run just as well for us as he had for Jimmy," said Pletcher. "He stumbled at the start and it took him a while to recover and get the position we'd hoped he'd be in. From there, he got the trip.

"Racing wide was not a concern," Pletcher added, "because with a big horse and the long stride he has, you want to let him do his thing and not have anything get in his way."
Pletcher has said all along that he was using the Amsterdam as a stepping-stone to the Grade 1 Travers, and a potential matchup with Rachel Alexandra.

"I have tremendous respect for the filly, she's a phenomenon," said Pletcher, whose colt Munnings finished third to Rachel Alexandra the previous afternoon in the Haskell. "With a stable our size, chances are we're going to run into her somewhere along the line, and if we do, we'd like it to be with our best horse."

Friday, May 15, 2009

THE END OF A PARTY ERA

What do the Virginia Gold Cup and infield party at the Preakness have in common. Well, not as much as you might think and the similarities draw smaller starting tomorrow.

Now, mind you, both have in common a great party, a great picnic and a great horse race, but after that the paths divide. To be politically correct, we’ll say it’s a matter of “style points.” However, another thing both events share is the tradition of B.Y.O.B.

While the Gold Cup is a bit more polished and sophisticated, the Preakness infield has long been famous for one of the biggest and most raucous parties in horse racing. Participants in this time honored tradition are worried that the glory days may be over. Gone are the morning lacrosse game and scaffolding which allowed those so inclined a view of more than the Preakness horses’ ears and the jockeys’ caps assuming they could scale their creation by late afternoon.

But the party has long been fueled by Pimlico’s policy of BYOB. Not anymore. Josh Bacott of the popular sport’s blog Joe Sports Fan had this to say:

For the first time in recent memory, those grizzled horse racing fans that make up the infield crowd at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course on Preakness day will not be allowed to bring in their most effective handicapping tool: booze.
If the Preakness had one clear-cut advantage over its more famous counterpart in Kentucky, it was that those who chose to brave the infield in Pimlico were rewarded with a free pass to haul in as much alcohol as they could shove into a cooler. While both the Derby and the Preakness still managed to crank out their fair share of YouTube clips featuring the time-honored tradition of port-a-racing, it remained a safe bet to assume that the Preakness was topping the trifecta in the race to see which Triple Crown event could produce more drunken meatheads.

To read the blog post, click here.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more things don’t stay the same…

Monday, May 4, 2009

PICTURE OF THE DAY

We're pretty sure there is a completely reasonable explanation for this but only the folks at Falcon Racing know what it is!

(Photo by Jamie Sneed via Amanda Choby/Facebook)

IN RETROSPECT, IT WAS PERFECT

Nobody was complaining about the weather on Saturday simply because it wasn’t raining. Of course, it would be a bit better if it were seventy and sunny, but the clouds did nothing to deter the picnic, the party or the horse racing.

A balmy 60 degrees at 1:30 when the first race was run, the day made a perfect display of one of our favorite Virginia Gold Cup phenomenons. That would be the “I Bought This Outfit, I’m Gonna Wear It No Matter What The Weather” syndrome.

Kudos to the folks who stuck with their fashion choice, weather be damned. Sun dress, heels, sixty, cloudy – no problem, all ahead, full!

We couldn’t help but note that a lot of the locals went a bit more casual in anticipation of an afternoon rain, but all were delighted when the weather held.

Next year, we guarantee sunshine.

Photo by John Arundel - http://www.flickr.com/photos/selsheikh/3499349145/

Sunday, May 3, 2009

VETERAN SALMO WINS 84th VIRGINIA GOLD CUP

On paper, yesterday's $75,000 84th Virginia Gold Cup looked to be between two horses -- the 2007 winner Salmo and the 2008 winner Bubble Economy.

Out on the Great Meadow race course, the timber classic played out as anticipated as Salmo jumped beautifully and had enough left to hold off defending champion Bubble Economy down the stretch.

Salmo also won the race in 2007 when trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Chip Miller. The 13-year-old son of Northern Baby gave owner Irv Naylor his third victory in the timber stakes. Erin Go Bragh was third.

Salmo was bred in Virginia by Sara and Bruce Collette of Pageland Farm in Casanova, VA. Coincidentally, the Collette's farm is next door to Spring Hill Farm where top three-year-old and injury Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road was born.

Irv Naylor owns the Gold Cup winner who is trained by Desmond Fogarty and who was ridden to victory by Darren Nagle.

For complete results of all the Gold Cup races, click here.

(Photo by Douglas Lees, 2007)

Friday, May 1, 2009

PERFECT WEATHER

Well, it looks like the local weather wags have nailed the forecast pictured here, and it’s going to be another picture perfect day the 84th running of the Virginia Gold Cup.

Ok, “perfect” if the race was held in Charleston, SC…

In reality, the forecast is for lots of clouds, temps in the sixties and chance of showers, but who really cares?

Let’s talk about the weather basics. First off, it’s not cold and isn’t that the critical point?

Cold is bad, warm is good. It’s warm. Game over.

There have been plenty of Gold Cup races and Gold Cup picnics/parties held under some clouds, and, quite frankly, they can be the best ones. Certainly takes that smelly sunscreen out of play…
So dress appropriately, and come have fun!

All ahead, full!

AND THE WINNER OF THE 135TH KENTUCKY DERBY IS…

Who knows?

Every year there are horses that we would categorize as “marginal” Kentucky Derby contenders. This year that group includes (in post position order):

WEST SIDE BERNIE (#1 – second to I Want Revenge. The winner fell down coming out of the gate, got blocked in once if not twice, and still beat him. Don’t think the extra furlong will help.)

ADVICE (#4 – Surprise winner of the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland is either improving daily or his Derby prep win was a fluke. Who knows? As Wayne Lukas once said “People have opinions, the horses have the facts.”

HOLD ME BACK (#5 – Has the connections and the pedigree and was second in the Blue Grass Stakes, a major Derby prep.)

REGAL RANSOM (#10 – Upset winner of the United Emirates Derby which means he’s the upset winner of the United Emirates Derby. Good luck figuring that out.)

CHOCOLATE CANDY (#13 – Second to Pioneerof The Nile in the Santa Anita Derby (polytrack), but has never run on good old fashioned dirt.

Which leads us to the real contenders, and they are horses who have either won or been closely placed in the major Kentucky Derby prep races. In post position order, they are:

MUSKET MAN (#2 – Second to I Want Revenge last out)

FRIESAN FIRE (#6 – Won three Derby prep stakes in Louisiana. Not great, but good enough)

PAPA CLEM (#7 – Won the Arkansas Derby)

GENERAL QUARTERS (#12 – Won the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland)

I WANT REVENGE (#13 – Won the Gotham Stakes by 8 ½ lengths and then won the Wood Memorial Stakes impressively after stumbling badly from the gate)

DUNKIRK (#15 – A $3.7 million yearling who ran an impressive second to Quality Road in the Florida Derby over a speed-favoring track most likely not to his liking.)

PIONEEROF THE NILE (#16 – Won the Santa Anita Derby - pictured)

Picks: Pioneerof The Nile, Dunkirk, Friesan Fire

Thursday, April 30, 2009

LIKE THE SUBARU ADD SAYS: I LOVE ANTICIPATION

When it comes to anticipation, the only day better than the Thursday before the Virginia Gold Cup is the Friday before the Virginia Gold Cup, don’t you know?

In the grocery store last night for a few items when we eyeballed a beer sale related to Cinco de Mayo (what we like to call Post-Gold Cup Tuesday), and we thought “Hmmm…”

Well, it is Gold Cup weekend, there are college buddies and wives coming to town so why not stock up now and get ahead of the crowd? Don’t tell us we aren’t doing our part to stimulate the “Bubble Economy.”

Speaking of Bubble Economy, he didn’t scratch out of the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup, but the undefeated My Lady’s Manor winner Incomplete and Private Attack both withdrew from the race. So now there are nine horses in the feature event.

And…speaking of our friends from Subaru, we wager (hypothetically speaking, of course) that they will have a few cars on display at Great Meadow on Saturday (sans the disinterested looking Russian model). Be sure to check them out.

Being a fan of racing, and road rally racing in particular, we’re gonna have to check out the standard model of the Impreza pictured above driven by Israeli rally driver Yuval Melamid zipping through the FIA Middle East Rally Championship near the Dead Sea in Jordan.

Drive safely!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHAT NOT TO WEAR REVISTED

You may remember this one from 2007, but the picture is funny and we thought it was worth bringing back one more time…

By now you should have figured out what you are going to wear...

Here is one last minute tip: DON'T WEAR THIS. For starters, who knew they even made black metalic duct tape?

Secondly, the taped-up face is gonna scare people...kids, your friends, your date, your spouse, Homeland Security, you name it.

Bad idea, OK?

Finally, your tan lines are going to make you look like a Halloween pumpkin.

Get back in your closet and try again.

ELEVEN ENTERED IN 84th GOLD CUP

Eleven timber steeplechase horses have been entered in Saturday’s 84th running of the $75,000 Virginia Gold Cup. The two previous winners – Virginia-bred Salmo in 2007 (pictured) and Bubble Economy in 2008 – will face-off against nine “wanna-bes” tackling the four mile course that features 23 timber fences.

One of the contenders looking to grab the cash and the Gold Cup trophy is Seeyouattheevent who won the International Gold Cup over the same Great Meadow course in October of 2007.

The field also slated to include Incomplete, an 8-year-old bay, who is 3-for-3 in National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned races since beginning his career over timber two years ago. In his last start he won the 99th running of the My Lady’s Manor Steeplechase.

Runner-ups at My Lady’s Manor South Monarch and J. Alfred Prufrock are also entered. As predicted here five weeks ago, EMO Stables’ Orison has successfully made the switch from hurdles to timber and he to is entered in the Gold Cup.

Last time out, 2008 Gold Cup winner Bubble Economy defeated the International Gold Cup winner Seeyouattheevent in the Middleburg Hunt Cup at the Middleburg Spring Races. Gold Cup entrant Erin Go Bragh (NZ) was third in that race.

Scratches for the day’s card are due in at the National Steeplechase office later today.

To see all the entries for the day’s six races click here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ANOTHER CHANCE FOR GOLD CUP

The Going Out Gurus at the Washington Post had this to say this morning:

Another Chance for Gold Cup - Three weeks ago, we wrote about a number of the available party options for the Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase races.

Almost all of them sold out in a matter of days. If you missed your chance to join University Row, the party area featuring an open bar, catered lunch and a huge meet-and-greet with alumni from more than 50 schools, a limited amount of tickets just went on sale for one of the tents, including passes that offer round-trip bus transportation from D.C. (This tent is sponsored by Marquette, but as is the case across University Row, you don't have to be an alumni of to attend.)

We're guessing these won't last long, so pick up your tickets, then start picking out your sundress or seersucker. We'll see you on Saturday. -- Fritz

PARIS HILTON DISSES GOLD CUP AND GOES TO KY DERBY

Are you kidding?

Evidently, Paris Hilton, who recently released her ninth perfume (called Famous For Being Famous?) has decided to attend the Kentucky Derby in lieu of the 84th running of the Virginia Gold Cup this Saturday.

What is she thinking?

Oh, yeah…

We checked in with gossip guru Perez Hilton who knows all about being famous for being famous and everything famous people are doing and why. Perez explained that Paris was attending the Derby because, as she told the New York Post earlier this week, “I don't care what anybody says. Baseball is not our national pastime.”

So is horse racing our “national pastime?”

Man, we’re confused.

Anyway, that shouldn’t matter to you because you are coming to the Gold Cup to be seen, not to see Paris Hilton or anybody else...although there will be a few celebs mixed in the revelry!

We look forward to seeing you.

WHAT TO WEAR SATURDAY: CLOTHING ANXIETY

So Belle over at Capitol Hill Style is having a little bit of anxiety about what she is going to wear on Saturday saying “..many of my friends are furiously trying to find something to wear. The concern has now become that if they go shopping at J. Crew, Nordstrom, Tickled Pink (or any of the other traditional options) they will wind up wearing the same thing as someone else. This is an understandable fear.”

Wow, it’s good to be a guy.

We have to worry about finding a designated driver, not forgetting the tickets and avoiding the Swine Flu.

Really, we already know we are going to show up at Great Meadow on Saturday wearing the same thing – pants, for example. Shoes and a shirt are likely as well, and sport coats are optional. A hat’s not a bad idea, or sunscreen, as needed.

For example, check out these guys. They are all dressed similarly, but not the same. Evidently, if you’re a dude, that’s acceptable. No stress involved. Usually, guys choose their “outfits” for a big day like the Gold Cup based on one very strict criteria – “clean.”

Now, we understand the pressure on women not to show up wearing the identical Lily Whats-Her-Name dress as one of her friends or fellow party goers.

So measures can be taken. Belle suggests the Sunday Brunch Dress Shop for an original dress.

We simply suggest you reach into the closet and find the most unique outfit you have or go buy a new one like Belle suggests (after all it’s good for the economy). Now check out these this group. The young woman is wearing a flower print sun dress which probably has some probability of duplication, but since there are millions of permutations and combinations involving colors, flowers and prints, we wager she gets away with this.

Which brings us to the guys – Far Left Guy looks like he strolled out of W&L or UVa frat party. Classic, but easily duplicated. We’d recommend a tie that makes more of a statement.

Hmm…like Center Guy, now that’s a tie and if somebody else is wearing it on the First Saturday In May we’d be shocked.

And that brings us to Far Right Guy. Home run, dude. We don’t know who designed the sport coat, but there had to be a party involved. Well done. We suggest you wear it on Saturday as a jacket like that needs to be let out of the captivity of your closet more than once a year!

Don’t forget the extra batteries. (Just kidding.)

PICTURE OF THE DAY


(Photo by Amanda McLean. http://www.flickr.com/photos/soleil1016/2466455702)



Monday, April 27, 2009

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Here's a nice "hat picture" from last Saturday's Maryland Hunt Cup.

It's a nice little race, but the Virginia Gold Cup it is not...

VIRGINIA'S QUALITY ROAD OUT OF KY DERBY

For those of us plotting how we were going to find our way to get in front of a television for the Kentucky Derby after a big, fun day at the 84th Virginia Gold Cup, things just got a little simpler regarding the logistics for this Saturday...

Edward P. Evans' Virginia-bred Quality Road, who figured to be among the top choices for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Gr. 1) will not start in the Run for the Roses, it was confirmed Monday morning by Chris Baker, farm manager of Evans’ Spring Hill Farm.

“There was some tenderness in the foot this morning and he’s not 100%. (Trainer) Jimmy (Jerkens) wasn’t comfortable breezing him, and without a work, he can’t go,” Baker said. “He’s not going to make the race.”

On Monday morning, Jerkens noticed the colt’s foot was sore and that he was favoring it. "You’re just kidding yourself if you think you can go out there and run in the biggest race in the world and haven’t trained,” Jerkens said. “It’s a shame because he’s so talented.”

Quality Road was aiming to become the fifth Virginia-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby and the first Commonwealth-born horse to run in the prestigious race since 1996. Previous Virginia-bred winners were Reigh Count (1928), Secretariat (1973), Pleasant Colony (1981) and Sea Hero (1993).

Quality Road has three wins from four lifetimes starts. He was a smashing winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) in his 3-year-old debut Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park and last time out won the Blackberry Presents the 58th Running of the Florida Derby (gr. I).

“The good news is we have a very talented 3-year-old,” Baker said. “We’ll wait and get him right and go from there.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

MOTHER NATURE READIES FOR GOLD CUP

We made a quick trip down to Casanova this morning to visit Spring Hill Farm where Kentucky Derby contender Quality Road was born. We were reminded of how beautiful horse country is in the Spring, and in anticipation of another awesome day next Saturday at the Virginia Gold Cup, we thought we'd share a few images.

(TarDog Photos)