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?

Sunday, May 1, 2011


By Kent Baker, Special to The Baltimore Sun (condensed)

Approximately three-quarters of the way through the four-mile Maryland Hunt Cup course Saturday, Private Attack was beginning to lose interest.

No competitors were in sight behind him and a mile of ground and five more fences were to be navigated before the Sportsmans Hall gelding claimed the 115th running of the $75,000 timber classic, a race that has proven elusive and full of disappointment for his connections.
  (Sabina Moran/Perry Hall Patch)
But jockey Blythe Miller-Davies adroitly kept him about his business and Private Attack romped home far ahead in a jumping race for which 14 entered, 10 started and only three finished.

It was sweet redemption for the Calhoun family, owners of Sportsmans Hall, and Murphy after two previous Hunt Cup ventures did not blossom for Private Attack.

He "tied up" after winning the Grand National in 2008 and had to scratch. A year later, jockey Bill Santoro misread the jumps heading for the 13th fence before backtracking to take the third, costing the horse valuable ground and they did not finish.

Last year, Private Attack was second at age 11 behind Twill Do.

And The Eagle Flys, ridden by veteran Billy Meister, pressed the winner on the lead for about two miles and settled for a distant second. Volle Nolle was third, far back of the runner-up.

With rather soft ground because of the rainy weather and no one to force the pace, the winning time was 9 minutes, 27 3/5 seconds, more than a minute slower than the course record.

To read the full article in the Baltimore Sun, click here

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