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?

Friday, August 28, 2009


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)

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