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?

Saturday, April 23, 2011


2010 winner Across the Sky (Douglas Lees)
The Maryland Grand National Steeplechase is today.  Positioned just two weeks prior to the Virginia Gold Cup, the race sometimes produces horses who travel to Great Meadow the first Saturday in May.  The races are somewhat similar as the Grand National is run over 3 ¼ miles over timber and the Virginia Gold Cup is a timber race covering four miles.

Like the Gold Cup, the Grand National has its own glorious past.  It was begun in 1898 by several young men who wanted to compete, but were too young to enter in the Maryland Hunt Cup.

While the Hunt Cup is considered Maryland’s most demanding timber race (longer race, higher jumps), the Grand National is the most demanding three mile timber race—a critical difference, as the shorter distance means racing faster over eighteen unyielding obstacles at a faster pace.  That said, since the race moved to the current course in 1946, there have been sixteen horses to win both races.

2009 winner Coal Dust (Douglas Lees)
Some great equines have won the race three times: Inshore, Winton, Landing Party, Mountain Dew, Buck Jakes, and Welter Weight. With his fourth win last year, Welter Weight joined only one other in winning more than three times. The other, a six time winner and still reigning king of the Grand National, is Mountain Dew. Eight starts, six wins, two seconds and never a fall  over 144 Grand National fences. 
How do the experts see this year’s race?  Here’s what the guys at Steeplechase Times had to say about it.

1st Race. The Grand National Steeplechase, 3 1/4-mile timber stakes. With the Maryland Hunt Cup a week away, this race always causes consternation for handicappers. Who’s winning? Who’s schooling? This year is even more tricky with a couple of serious contenders, soft ground, a two-time champion jockey returning from motherhood and a wild front-runner who puts a spell on any race.

Joe Clancy:  Incomplete, Private Attack, Across The Sky.
Sean Clancy:  Private Attack, Incomplete, Across The Sky.

1 comment:

Main Line Sportsman said...

I saw Buck jakes win this race..and several at Radnor...helluva horse.