Thursday, November 4, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
The noted Virginia horsemen have been trying for over forty years to capture the Virginia Gold Cup run annually just down the road from their Warrenton, VA base. The Oares have come close – really close. But the famous four mile timber race has alluded them time and time again including back in the early 1970’s when Oare rode Seven Corners Timber Champion Allen B.J. only to have his girth break mid-race.
Oare, who is selling the overwhelming majority of his horses this week in Ocala, is hanging on to the International Gold Cup winner. He recently told Steeplechase Times, “I’ve been trying to win the Virginia Gold Cup for 40 years. I really have. I’d rather win that than any other race. If I sell him, I’m going to have to start all over again.”
Oare who has trained, owned and ridden racehorses since he married Betty in 1964, returned to training his own stock in earnest in 2008 concentrating on Tampa, Colonial Downs and Delaware Park. Apparently, somewhere along the way, Oare forgot about one of the basic truisms of horse ownership – they accumulate. Turn the clock forward to 2010, and Oare was conditioning a stable of 30 horses.
Oare’s patience was rewarded on Saturday when the eight-year-old gelding went flag-to-wire to win the $50,000 International Gold Cup at Great Meadow.
In doing so, He’s a Conniver collected his second straight victory turning back a challenge by Bon Caddo and winning by 2 1/4 lengths.
Jumping comfortably on the lead in the late stages of the testing 3 1/2-mile timber race, He’s a Conniver found himself on the far outside with jockey Jody Petty after the last fence, while Merrifield Farm’s Bon Caddo took the inside route under Christopher Read for the battle to the finish line. But Petty kept He’s a Conniver under pressure and maintained his advantage to the finish line.
Finishing a good third in a field of seven was Mrs. S. K. Johnston’s Swagger Stick, a timber-racing newcomer who is trained by Jack Fisher and was ridden by Willie Dowling.
Bred by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, He’s a Conniver opened the fall timber season with a sparkling 27-length victory in the $35,000 National Sporting Museum Chronicle Cup at the Virginia Fall races in Middleburg on Oct. 2.
Oare is a member of the board of directors of both the Virginia H.B.P.A. and the Virginia Thoroughbred Associaiton.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
|He's A Conniver|
1 MUSIC TO MY EARS (IRE) g.12 150 Walsh, R – jockey, Anna Stable – owner, Richard L. Valentine – trainer; 2 FIELDVIEW g.7 165 Nagle, D, Irvin S. Naylor, Katherine N. McKenna; 3 GATHER NO MOSS g.9 150 Watts, M, Manown Kisor Jr,. Michael Berryman; 4 BON CADDO g.9 160 Read, C, Merriefield Farm, Dawn P. Williams; 5 HE'S A CONNIVER [L] g.8 165 Petty, J, EMO Stables, Ernest M. Oare; 6 ALBERT'S CROSSING g.10 155 Slater, J, Irvin S. Naylor, William Meister; 7 INCASEYOURAMINER g.9 150 Swope, B, Benjamin C. Swope, Benjamin C. Swope; 8 MEET AT ELEVEN (IRE) g.11 165 Young, P, Keystone Thoroughbreds, Todd McKenna; 9 SWAGGER STICK g.9 150 Dowling, W, Mrs. S. K. Johnston, Jr. Jack Fisher.
Gold Cup vetrans will note that the trainer of Swagger Stick is Jack Fisher of SALUTER fame.
(Photo courtesy of Susan M. Carter photography)
Is going nowhere on the mantelpiece
Well, do I lie like a lounge room lizard
Or do I sing like a bird released
Everywhere you go you always take the weather with you…
-- Neil Finn, Mullane Finn and Brian Timothy (Crowded House) and as frequently performed by Jimmy Buffett.
SATURDAY: Sunny, 66 degrees.
In a word, PERFECT.
If you are one of those “fairweather” race goers who waits to decide if you are going until the last minute ‘cause it might “not be perfect,” we’ve got good news for you – weather that’s just about as “fair” as it gets this time of year. Let’s call it “perfect.”
So, are you going to “lie like a lounge room lizard” or “sing like a bird released?”
Everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you.
We’re taking our weather to Great Meadow on Saturday. How about you?
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
|A hunting we will go...|
Now this rumor popped up last spring when the Bravo show was filming and some folks thought that showing up at the Virginia Gold Cup on the first Saturday in May would be LOGICAL as it is one of the most IMPORTANT social events in the metro-D.C. area (not to mention to the horsey set out in horse country.)
However, if they were amongst us on that lovely spring Saturday, nobody at the Virginia Blog Cup made (or recorded – which is the important part) any sighting. That said, now that we’ve watched who-knows-how-many episodes of this new chapter of the hugely popular Housewives franchise, we now know that parties for stylists and the occasional department store fashion shows are way MORE important then horse race/cocktail parties in the bucolic Virginia countryside.
|Mary, Michaele, Stacie, Cat and Lynda|
It’s not that we don’t like celebrity stylists (we do) and fashion shows (well…not as much, but we do like the models), and it’s not that we don’t think they are terribly important (as clearly all of the D.C. housewives cast members do…What? Tarq isn’t an official "D.C. Housewife?" Jeez…Damn it!). Oh well, it’s just that we thought there were certain KNOWN facts about the Washington social calendar and prestigious events like the International Gold Cup.
Fact is, the Gold Cups, both Spring and Fall, have been attracting celebs, socialites, college kids, families and both regular and high-test Joes for many YEARS. People with stylists, and people without stylists, come out and enjoy and afternoon in the country and all the trappings.
Now in order to give all of this some additional legs, there is another rumor floating around that says the Gold Cup has agreed to add a new division to the annual and always popular International Gold Cup Tailgate Contest – The D.C. Housewives Division.
|Apparently Andy needs some brown water to confront|
this crew. We'd recommend Woodford Reserve.
The prize for the winner will be a trip back to the Bravo Clubhouse with Andy Cohen (assuming he’s survived another rugged reunion show.)
|"Sure, who doesn't love a good tailgate?"|
So, get your tickets, you don’t want to miss this…after all, a polo game might break out if we can find the “gear.”
And if that doesn’t happen, it promises to be a great day of socializing and racing and that’s what it was meant to be all along!
*items in italics may not be true.
(Props to Express Night Out.com for the cool pic up top.)
Monday, October 11, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
But did you know that the 1973 Triple Crown winner was born in Virginia? Down in Doswell, not far from Richmond and the Strawberry Hill Steeplechase races you may or may not have attended.
They never tried Big Red over jumps as he was way to valuable to risk a fall or injury. But had they, he would have given all of them -- even the great Gold Cup champion Saluter -- one heck of a race.
Here are some reviews of SECRETARIAT starring Diane Lane and John Malcovich.
Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post admitted to Tony Kornheiser on the radio this week that she is a sucker for a sports movie and she loved Secretariat -- the horse and the movie.
To read her review, click here.
Andy Beyer, who is portrayed in the film, in the Washington Post: Just about every turf writer who has previewed "Secretariat" - which opens nationwide on Friday - has pointed out historical inaccuracies and significant omissions in the film. Having followed Secretariat's career as a journalist, I found some of the omissions distracting (particularly the expurgation of his Kentucky Derby-winning stablemate Riva Ridge.) But the filmmakers had to take some liberties in order to make this movie. Secretariat's real-life story didn't have a triumph-of-the-underdog theme that is a staple of sports movies. Nor were the people surrounding him especially colorful or lovable.
Manohla Dargis of the New York Times: It's a pleasurable, seductive fantasy partly because, as we have known from the start of cinema, the sight of a running horse is a beautiful thing.
To read the review, click here.
Richard Roeper: This is a very predictable but thoroughly entertaining take on the greatest horse of all time.
To see the video of Roeper’s review, click here.
Clint O’Connor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
In that golden span of great sports from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, Muhammad Ali was king, but Secretariat was a contender for the throne of sports majesty. He even out-Springsteened Springsteen, landing on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.
To read the review, click here.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
|The Curragh Racecourse in Ireland|
Any arguments from the folks in Louisville, KY notwithstanding, we will reluctantly claim the title while paying homage to our friends in Europe who are willing to glam up and go racing literally at the drop of their hat.
While they are happy to doll up for a regular meet, they also have skills when it comes to the “majors” with just such an event occurring last Sunday at Longchamp racecourse near Paris.
As always, hats played a major role in the ladies dress code.
There was an elegant party as one might expect and an important horse race. Is this starting to sound familiar?
|Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Lonchamp Racecourse near Paris|
The three-year-old colt, ridden by Ryan Moore, held off a strong challenge from Nakayama Festa on the home stretch.
"He was back to his best today and we got a nice run through,'' Moore said. "There was half a gap there and he was very brave and really quickened into it well.''
Say what? Those European jockeys have a rather odd way of saying things. What he meant was.
"My horse was at his best today, he didn't get tired and finished strong. There was a tight space for me to go through to get to the lead, and my horse wasn't shy about going through this small space, and, once through it, he ran on very well from there to the finish."
|Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Lonchamp Racecourse near Paris|
Workforce gave trainer Sir Michael Stoute and his double talking jockey thier first wins in The Arc.
Stout also was wearing a hat.
Sources near Paris tell us a party ensued and lasted well into the night.
No doubt, hats were lost.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Check with your GPS, your iPhone, your Blackberry, your girlfriend, or heaven forbid, stop and ASK for directions.
You are looking for HORSES jumping. It's much more fun, more beautiful, more inspiring, etc.
The people steeplechase looks wet, sweaty, uncomfortable and generally not so much fun.
The weather will cool off, and the leaves will start to turn.
The signs of autumn are everywhere.
The Nats are done, and when we say "done," we mean REALLY done. In fact, when they recently lost 8-0 to Philadelphia, the Phils popped champagne to celebrate clinching the division. The Nats clinched last place in the NL East a few months ago...Mind you they refrained from losing 100 games -- the high standard of low excellence for major league baseball.
|The goggles are a nice touch, don't you think?|
Friday, September 24, 2010
Easy, they are thinking about how much fun they are going to have later that evening seeing the new Disney movie Secretariat at a special screening for horse industry muckety mucks on Wednesday night at Tysons Corner.
They are also thinking about how much fun they are going to have at this year's International Gold Cup.
One person in light blue in the center of the group is not laughing.
This would be Diane Jones and she is in charge of the International Gold Cup and she has to sweat ALL the details including how she is going to get you your tickets if you wait until the last minute.
So get your tickets today!
(In photo Tommy Lee Jones, Leslie Hazel, Diane Jones, Jocye and Bill Fendley)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The win was the 12th over jumps for the Jack Fisher-trained Pennsylvania-bred.
The win pushed his earnings past the $388,000 mark.
To read more from Steeplechase Times, click here.
(Photo by Douglas Lees)
Friday, April 30, 2010
Trained by Jack Fisher of Saluter fame, Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel’s Seeyouattheevent comes into the Virginia Gold Cup from a two-length victory over Rainbows for Luck in the $20,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup in Middleburg, Va., on April 17. Erin Go Bragh finished third in that race.
In his final start of 2009, Seeyouattheevent had won the International Gold Cup by 3 1/2 lengths over the Great Meadow course. Willie Dowling, who rode the nine-year-old Event of the Year gelding in the Middleburg Hunt Cup, again will be aboard for the Virginia Gold Cup.
Gregory S. Bentley’s Rainbows for Luck also returns in the Virginia Gold Cup, in which all starters carry 165 pounds.
Fisher (pictured), the reigning National Steeplechase Association champion trainer, also will send out Arcadia Stable’s Bubble Economy (below right), winner of the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup in 2008 and second in those races last year. Ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young, the 11-year-old Rakeen gelding rallied powerfully to finish second by a head in the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor on April 10.
Irvin Naylor’s Patriot’s Path (above left) comes into the Virginia Gold Cup from a fifth-place tune-up in the Grand National at Butler, Md., on April 17. Winner of last year’s Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase, the ten-year-old Carnivalay gelding is trained by Desmond Fogarty, and Darren Nagle has the mount.
Also entering the Virginia Gold Cup is H. Bruce Fenwick’s Bon Caddo, Magalen O. Bryant’s Erin Go Bragh (NZ), EMO Stables’ He’s a Conniver, Conrad Somers’ J. Alfred Proofrock, Diane Gilliam’s Artist’s Stroke, Gregory Bentley’s Rainbows For Luck, Joseph Davies’ Fort Henry (IRE) and Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Meet at Eleven (IRE).
(NZ) = New Zealand – country of origination.
(IRE) = Ireland – country of origination.
To read more from Steeplechase Times, click here.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
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 Haloween pumpkin.
Get back in your closet and try again.
You've only got three more days to figure this out!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Subsequently, each and every year we encourage you to turn around and revel in the splendor that is equine. It’s not that hard – there’s an audio clue.
When you hear the long-time voice of steeplechase racing, Will O’Keefe (the Al Michael's of jump racing), say “They’re off!” simply turn around and look for large animals being ridden by smallish men and women in colorful shirts. How hard is that?
If you do this and you see small animals with large ears being ridden by who-knows-who wearing a bright yellow vest (courtesy of VDOT?), you have managed to land yourself at some other race.
REPEAT: You are not at the Virginia Gold Cup.
If you see carts or anything that looks like carts being pulled by these large eared animals, you have made several wrong turns one of which may have involved your passport and an international flight. In this case, Pakistan…a very far cry from The Plains, VA on the first Saturday of May!
We don’t know where you might be based on these photos, but we know where you are not…
You may see some things that might make you think you’re at the Gold Cup, but look a little closer (note the soccer game in the background) and you will see some tell tale signs to the contrary.
So check those directions, don’t forget your tickets and come enjoy the day.
And, remember to turn around and look at the horses. You’ll be glad you did.
That really is perfect, not too hot, not too cold, not too much sun. Like we said – perfect.
Now considering the whimsical nature of Mother Nature and the vagaries of predicting what she may cast down upon us on any given day, you may be wondering why would even mention the weather forecast some eight days out.
Scattered about out there in the great realm of potential Gold Cup attendees is a little known sub-group of “fair weather” Gold Cuppers. Yes, this group doesn’t buy tickets until they see the forecast for the first Saturday in May.
While this is not the recommended approach as we believe the Gold Cup is like football – rain or shine – and all the different weather makes for different experiences from year-to-year. That said, we understand why this group wants to wait until the all clear is given dopplerwise.
So, my weather forecast focused friends, get moving.
It has plenty of the trappings that might remind you of Gold Cup including sponsors, VIP Tents and tickets of all prices.