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, March 19, 2009


This is Orison (right). He may run in the Gold Cup. If you can retain some information about him, you will impress your friends/date/family like crazy.

Orison has been running and jumping for a little while now. He has won over $200,000 in his career which includes a win in the $75,000 Carolina Cup Gr. 2 down in Camden, South Carolina.

Most of the money he has won has been over “hurdles.” Those are the big green jumps. Now, Orison is making the switch to timber – those are the ones that look like post and rail fences made out of telephone poles.

Orison’s owner, Ernie Oare, has had his eye on the Gold Cup for many years. In his younger days, Oare used to ride steeplechase horses and his best timber horse, Allen B.J., had a shot to win the Gold Cup with jockey Oare in the saddle.

Unfortunately, the girth broke during the race. The girth is the big belt looking strap that keeps the saddle on and without it you can’t run four miles and jump over a bunch of big fences unless you have the balance of Shannon Miller or Mary Lou Retton. Even then, it would be next to impossible. Kind of like riding a motorcycle on water.

Since then, Oare and his wife Betty, have been looking for the right horse to win the Gold Cup. Could Orison be the one?

Racing for the Oare’s EMO Stables in their distinctive blue, red and gold silks, Orison won the Novice Timber race at Casanova Point-to-Point back in February. Remember February? It was cold.

Then last weekend, Orison won the The Spring Valley timber race over three miles at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point.

There is no official word on whether or not trainer Doug Fout is pointing Orison to the Virginia Gold Cup in May, but it sure looks that way…

(Photos by Douglas Lees)

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