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?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pictures Of The Day

Runners in the Yes Promo Products 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle Race pass the grandstand at Plumpton racecourse on December 19, 2011 in Plumpton, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

 Ruby Walsh riding Aerial clears the last to win The Shawbrook Bank Graduation Steeple Chase at Ascot racecourse on December 17, 2011 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Picture Of The Day

Runners turn into the home straight in The Novices' Handicap Steeple Chase at Towcester racecourse on December 15, 2011 in Towcester, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pictures Of The Day

Ruby Walsh riding Join Together clear the last to win The Ryman Stationer Novices' Steeple Chase at Cheltenham racecourse on December 10, 2011 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Barry Geraghty riding Grandouet (C) winning The International Hurdle Race from Overturn (L) at Cheltenham racecourse on December 10, 2011 in Cheltenham, England.  (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Craig Williams of Australia riding Dunaden celebrates after winning the 2400 metre event of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races in Hong Kong on December 11, 2011. The prestigious annual event is one of the world's richest meetings, putting it in the company of America's Triple Crown, the Dubai World Cup and Britain's Royal Ascot. (AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pictures Of The Day

Barry Geraghty riding Shakalakaboomboom (R) clear the last to win the Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase from Mon Parrain (L) at Cheltenham racecourse on December 09, 2011 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Jake Greenall riding Inga Bird (L) on their way to winning The Betfred The Bonus King Novices' Handicap Steeple Chase at Huntingdon racecourse on December 08, 2011 in Huntingdon, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Picture Of The Day

Richard Johnson riding Duke Of Lucca clears the last to win The Weatherbys Talking Horse Beginners' Steeple Chase at Wincanton racecourse on December 01, 2011 in Wincanton, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Remembering Cinzano

ROUSE AND CINZANO IN 1981 (Douglas Lees Photo)
Back in June, Dr. Mark Gerard died.  Gerard was convicted of a horse-swapping scam and banned from racing back in 1977.  One of the horses involved in the swap was Cinzano.  The speedy South American champ would be stripped of his papers by the Jockey Club after the scandal and purchased by noted Virginia horseman Randy Rouse.  Rouse successfully raced Cinzano in the unsanctioned point-to-points where Jockey Club papers weren't required.  The pair were undefeated in ten starts. Cinzano died a pensioner at Rouse’s farm in 1999 at the ripe old age of 26.

Not long after Gerard died, the Washington Post published a very well-written and complete obituary written by T. Rees Shapiro, the son of retired newspaper Washington Post columnist Len Shapiro and author and publisher Vicki Moon of Middleburg renown. The obituary does a great job of retelling the Cizano story.
Shortly after reading the obituary, we asked Eclipse Award photographer Douglas Lees if he had any old photos of Randy and Cinzano, and, of course, he did.  The problem was finding the old negatives from the pre-digital days.  This conversation was re-enacted a few times over the summer and early fall, and this morning these photos arrived from Douglas. 

Spectacular, as always.
ROUSE AND CINZANO IN 1982 (Douglas Lees Photo)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pictures Of The Day

Runners make their way into the bottom turn in The toteplacecpot Novices' Hurdle Race at Chepstow racecourse on October 25, 2011 in Chepstow, Wales. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Runners take a flight of hurdles in front of the grandstand at Chepstow racecourse on October 25, 2011 in Chepstow, Wales. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Horses and riders complete gallops during Breakfast With the Stars at Flemington Racecourse on October 25, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Friday, October 21, 2011

More International Gold Cup Photos

 Debra Kachel's Black Bag (Florence Patarin) rallied in the final half mile to win the  International Fegentri World Cup Flat Race. (Susan M. Carter Photo)
Waiting for the start of the Old Dominion Turf Championship. (Glenn Petty Photo)
The start of the Old Dominion Turf Championship. (Glenn Petty Photo)
Down the stretch in the Old Dominion Turf Championship. (Glenn Petty Photo)
Meritage Racing LLC's Inti (Roddy Mackenzie - pink and black silks) won the maiden hurdle race. (Douglas Lees Photo)
Irvin S. Naylor's Lake Placid (Carl Rafter) led all the way to win the optional allowance/starter hurdle race. (Douglas Lees Photo)
 Michael Smith's Humdinger (Jacob Roberts - left) won the Steeplethon. (Susan M. Carter Photo)
Alix White's Tu Baku (L) winning the Old Dominion Turf Championship.  (Douglas Lees Photo)

Pictures Of The Day

Tom Queally riding Frankel (R) goes on to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot racecourse on October 15, 2011 in Ascot, England. The victory rubberstamped his tag as being the best horse in the world this year. (Photo by Carl Court/AFP)
A horse and rider make their way to the start at the Lingfield races in Lingfield, England.  (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Runners race towards the finish at Lingfield racecourse on October 18, 2011 in Lingfield, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Incomplete Wins International Gold Cup

Robert Kinsley's Incomplete (Mark Beecher - left) won the $50,000 International Gold Cup.  Al Griffin’s Virginia-bred Aero (green and yellow) finished second.  2010 Virginia Gold Cup winner Bon Caddo lost his rider over the 17th fence. (Douglas Lees Photos)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegas Does Gold Cup

(Douglas Lees Photo)

Who do you like in the International Gold Cup?  Here's how Don Clippinger of the National Steeplechase Association sees the race:

Incomplete. 2001 b. g., Press Card--Sioux Lady, by Poker. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Ann D. Stewart. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 2011 record: 3-0-1-0, $6,450. 15-1 odds. Finished distant sixth in Virginia Fall's National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup after losing rider in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Ran a good second to Private Attack in the Grand National on April 23, beaten a neck while closing on the winner.

He's a Conniver. 2002 ch. g., Crafty Friend--Better to Be Lucky, by Roberto. Owner: EMO Stable. Trainer: Dale L. Jackson. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2011 record: 4-0-1-1, $7,100. 8-1 odds. Defending winner of International Gold Cup finished third in Chronicle Cup. Fell in Virginia Gold Cup after second in the Middleburg Hunt Cup on April 23.

Aero. 2005 b. g., Northern Spur (Ire)--Best Victory (Fr), by Cadoudal. Owner: Alfred C. Griffin Jr. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2011 record: 3-2-0-1, $28,000. 5-1 odds. Ran sparkling race in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup to win by six lengths at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Oct. 1. Scored his maiden timber victory at Willowbrook Steeplechase in May.

I'm Telling. 2001 dk. b. or br. g., Linkage--Don't Tell Ma, by Ga Hai. Owner-trainer: Bay Cockburn. Jockey: Jacob Roberts. 2011 record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. 10-1 odds. Finished second in Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs, his first start since winning Morven Park optional allowance over timber last October.

Expel. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Expelled--Kentwood Miss, by Our Native. Owner: Northfield Farm LLC. Trainer: Teddy Mulligan. Jockey: Liam McVicar. 2011 record: 4-0-0-0, $1,850. 15-1 odds. Finished fifth in the James P. McCormick Memorial, a maiden timber race at Virginia Fall on Oct. 1. Also finished fifth in a similar race at Winterthur in Delaware in early May.

Bon Caddo. 2001 b. g., Bon Point (GB)--Tactical Info, by Tactical Advantage. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Dawn Williams. Jockey: Jody Petty. 2011 record: 3-2-0-0, $67,200. 4-1 odds. Won the Virginia Gold Cup by 13 lengths on same course on May 7 but then was sixth in the Radnor Hunt Cup two weeks later. Front-running winner of the My Lady's Manor in first 2011 start.

Won Wild Bird. 2002 gr. or ro. m., Wild Wonder--Rowdy Bird, by Topsider. Owner: Pink Ribbon Racing. Trainer: Regina Welsh. Jockey: Carl Rafter. 2011 record: 4-2-0-0, $33,000. 9-2 odds. Came back from fall in Maryland Hunt Cup and refusal at start of Virginia Gold Cup's Steeplethon to win the Radnor Hunt Cup in Malvern, Pa., on May 21. Won Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Maryland's Grand National meet.

Gather No Moss. 2001 gr. or ro. g., Awad--Caro Landing, by Caro (Ire). Owner: Manown Kisor Jr. Trainer: Michael Berryman. Jockey: Mark Watts. 2011 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,400. 15-1 odds. Finished fifth in the Chronicle Cup after a third in the C. P. & Edith Wills DeBose Cup at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on April 2.

G'Day G'Day. 2003 b. g., Eastern Echo--Say Farewell, by Second Bar. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2011 record: 3-0-1-0, $6,300. 8-1 odds. Homebred finished second to Aero in Chronicle Cup on Oct. 1.

I Can See Clearly Now...

...the rain has gone!
I can see all obstacles in my way...
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind,
It's gonna be bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day!
If you're really old school, you go Johnny Nash, but we prefer the cover by Irish indie group Hot House Flowers or reggae stalwart Jimmy Cliff...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In A Word: Perfect

Not to jinx it, because we don’t believe in that sort of stuff, but the weather forecast for Saturday’s International Gold Cup is PERFECT.

Sixty-eight degrees and sunny.


So, simply put, if you have been procrastinating and you haven’t purchased your tickets, figured out what you were going to wear or organized your tailgate party all under the guise that you weren’t sure about the weather, then it’s time to start pushing some buttons and making decisions.

You are already on line if you are reading this, but you’ve waited too long to order your tickets via the internet.  No problem, you can get your tickets at your neighborhood Harris-Teeter.  While you are there, you can pick up some Stan’s pimento cheese for your tailgate and anything else you might need.

Then go home and look at your clothes.  If you don’t see anything you like click here (which is informative) or click here and then here (just as informative, but, frankly, more fun).

Then figure out what to do about a tailgate or make a plan to freeload off your friends (It’s OK, that’s what we do!)

Spring Gold Cup Winner Tops Field For Fall Gold Cup

BON CADDO (Douglas Lees)
Winners of the Virginia Gold Cup, Radnor Hunt Cup, and the recent National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup top nine entries for a highly competitive 74th edition of the $50,000 International Gold Cup, the featured race of the 28th annual International Gold Cup meet on Saturday, Oct. 15. First post time is 1:30 p.m. at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va., for the six-race program, which drew crowded fields.

Merriefield Farm's Bon Caddo will be attempting to lock up a National Steeplechase Association timber championship in the 3 1/2-mile International Gold Cup. Trained by Dawn Williams, the ten-year-old Bon Point gelding scored a sparkling 13-length victory in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 7 over the Great Meadow course, but then was a disappointing sixth in the Radnor Hunt Cup two weeks later in Malvern, Pa. Bon Caddo, who leads the annual timber-racing standings with $67,200 in purse earnings, will be ridden by Jody Petty.

Pink Ribbon Racing's Won Wild Bird scored an upset in the Radnor Hunt Cup after falling in the Maryland Hunt Cup and refusing to start in the Virginia Gold Cup's Steeplethon. Trainer Regina Welsh named Carl Rafter to ride the nine-year-old Wild Wonder gelding, who is third in the timber point standings with $33,000.

Alfred C. Griffin Jr.'s Aero marked himself as a horse to watch with a dynamic six-length victory in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Oct. 1 under Jeff Murphy. Trained by Doug Fout, the six-year-old Northern Spur gelding had won his maiden timber victory at the Willowbrook Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 15. Middleburg-based Fout also entered Magalen O. Bryant's homebred G'Day G'Day, who finished second in the Chronicle Cup and will again be ridden by leading jockey Paddy Young.

Also in the International Gold Cup field is the defending winner, He's a Conniver, owned by Ernie Oare's EMO Stable. The nine-year-old Crafty Friend gelding, looking for his first victory since his 2010 win at Great Meadow, most recently finished third to Aero in the Chronicle Cup. Trainer Dale Jackson named Bernie Dalton to ride.

Also entering the International Gold Cup from the Chronicle Cup are Manown Kisor Jr.'s Gather No Moss and Robert A. Kinsley's Incomplete, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

To see all the entries for Saturday’s International Gold Cup races, click here.

Pictures Of The Day

Runners leave the starting gate at Salisbury racecourse on October 10, 2011 in Salisbury, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Frankie Dettori riding Ecliptic (R) win the Bathwick Tyres Free Admission Raceday Conditions Stakes from Mon Cadeaux and Jimmy Fortune (L) at Salisbury racecourse on October 10, 2011 in Salisbury, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Cosmonaut (R) ridden by Luke Nolen pulls away to win Race 4 the Betfair Handicap during Caulfield Thousand Guineas Day at Caulfield Racecourse on October 12, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Happy Trails (C) ridden by Damien Oliver wins Race 5 the Orion Expedition Cruise Cup during Caulfield Thousand Guineas Day at Caulfield Racecourse on October 12, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Meethaq ridden by Dwayne Dunn wins Race 1 the Catanach's Jewellers Ladies Day Plate during Caulfield Thousand Guineas Day at Caulfield Racecourse on October 12, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gold Cup Board Member Dies

Charles Thomas “Chuck” Hoovler, 80, a long-time stalwart of the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup races died September 28, 2011.

He was born June 22, 1931, in White Plains, NY, but moved to Virginia as a young boy.  He quickly adopted his new state and became a true “Virginia Gentleman.” Hoovler served in the United States Navy as an aviation ordinance man and a tail gunner on the USS Roosevelt, USS Coral Sea and USS Midway from 1948 to 1952.

Hoovler attended the College of William & Mary, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1956. Following graduation, he joined Communications Inc. with his two brothers and eventually created Ancom Inc. and BCH Inc. of Arlington.

In 1985, after the sale of Communications Inc., Hoovler embarked on his second career, bringing his business skills, humor and energy to numerous organizations and foundations. They included: the Virginia Gold Cup Association, which he served as an executive board member and as director of traffic/security for both The Virginia Gold Cup and The International Gold Cup Races and The Meadows Outdoor Foundation (now Great Meadow Foundation) in The Plains, VA.  Great Meadow hosts both Gold Cup races.

He was also involved with The Fauquier Club of Warrenton, the Kiwanis Club of Arlington, the Fauquier County Economic Development Commission and the Lord Fairfax Community College.

For many years, one of Hoovler’s most beloved pastimes was serving as Ringmaster for the Warrenton Pony Show, the Warrenton Horse Show and the Upperville Colt and Horse Show.  As a landowner and longtime supporter of the Orange County Hunt, he volunteered at its annual events and was a strong supporter of the Middleburg Orange County Pony Club and the MOC Beagles.

However, his greatest passion was serving as a trustee of Glenwood Park in Middleburg which is home to the Middleburg Races in both the Spring and Fall of each year. Under his guidance, multiple improvements have been made to the race course, including new buildings, turf management and historic tree preservation.

The most significant of their land conservation achievements was placing the racecourse into perpetual conservation easement, so it will be available for future generations.  Hoovler’s perseverance of this significant achievement was recognized by multiple organizations, including the Town of Middleburg, the Piedmont Environmental Council and Loudoun County.

Hoovler received numerous awards and commendations, including the 2002 Warrenton Horse Show Gilman Volunteer Award, the 2005 Piedmont Environmental Council Conservation Volunteer Award, a Meritorious Recognition Award from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office for Outstanding Contributions to Public Safety, the 1985 Medallion of Recognition from Lord Fairfax Community College and the 1989 Great Meadow Volunteer of the Year.

(Photos courtesy of George and Shelley Payne)

We Don't Know How This Got Started...

(Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)
...But, wer're pretty sure we know how it's gonna end!

France's Julien Lemme taking a tumble off of the English horse Tomis during the 121st Velka Pardubicka Steeple-Chase in Pardubice, East Bohemia in the Czech Republic on October 9, 2011.

Closer to home, Promising juvenile colt Here Comes Frazier fell in the stretch during Sunday’s Grade III Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

Here Comes Frazier was leading in the stretch of the 11⁄16-mile turf race under jockey Julien Leparoux when he shied and fell into the rail, sending Leparoux tumbling several yards over the rail.

Although Here Comes Frazier was initially thought to have only suffered cuts and scrapes, he has since had surgery for a fractured hock.  By all accounts, he’s resting comfortably.

Leparoux was unhurt save for a few aches and pains. 
(Photo by Amy Wallot/Photos by Z)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Not To Wear...

...Just sayin'...

(Photo by Wojtek Radwanski/AFP)
It's always a topic of conversation -- what to wear to the Gold Cup.  The first trick is to check the weather and plan accordingly.  That said, don't wear what this guy is wearing...

Meet, Poland's "King of Fans" Andrzej Bobowski (Bobo for short, note name on crown) at Warsaw's national stadium as he campaigns for the October 9 general elections. Bobowski is running for a seat in parliament, as football fans feel the heat of a broad government crackdown aiming to stem hooliganism before the 2012 European Championships which Poland will host.

All of that is just fine, but don't wear this outfit to the Gold Cup.