Drawn up on paper, the ratings hurdle division was meant to give opportunities for horses who didn’t have any – you know the ones – not quite good enough or had graduated from the novice division, horses who couldn’t compete in open stakes, horses owned by owners who didn’t want to risk them in claimers and/or horses who are better in the hurdle division than the timber division.
Jimmy and Emily Day tend to finish each other’s sentences. After 27 years of marriage, it’s natural. Whether it’s about horses, owners, races or kids, one of them starts a thought and the other one finishes it.
After homebred Officer’s Oath won the Gladstone Hurdle at Far Hills, the Days bantered back and forth about the son of Luftikus, owned by Bruce and Edie Smart, who won his second consecutive hurdle race with a front-running score in the $50,000 stakes.
Forget all that “little horse that could” stuff. Get Ready Set Goes can run, it doesn’t matter if she’s part of a one-horse stable, an Ohio-bred, a 4-year-old filly taking on her elders and a rare Kentucky-based steeplechaser. It also doesn’t matter that her owner is also her trainer, van driver, groom and hotwalker.
Paddock judges check equipment for every horse, every race at the major tracks. It’s a simple process, checking off blinkers, tongue tie, etc. It takes seconds.
In steeplechasing, it’s not part of the protocol. Good thing or the paddock judge at Far Hills might still be taking notes for Le Chevalier.
With a gallant victory in the Grand National at Far Hills, America's most important jump race, Irv Naylor's stable star Rawnaq remained unbeaten in three 2016 starts and all but locked up the Eclipse Award as champion jumper. Photographer Tod Marks has the recap of the $350,000 race. Click on the image below to launch slideshow.
Gray three-button suit, white shirt, brown dress shoes, two-tone green tie, hands clasped loosely behind his back, Cyril Murphy could have been a businessman waiting on a train.
And as it turned out, that’s exactly what he was.
While a crisp breeze swept through the mare barn at Sunset Hill in Woodbine, Md., Friday afternoon, Smash And Grab stood quietly on crossties as owner Sabrina Morris finished tacking for their dressage school, making final preparations for their venture to the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park later this month.
Nothing like a Saturday. All the stars come out for British Champions Day. There’s the rematch between Time And Motion and Catch A Glimpse at Keeneland. The return of Theory at Belmont Park. Of course, Far Hills is streaming live, too. Here’s your Saturday Special for October 15. As always presented by our friends at Pin Oak Stud.
And the finale. Still going strong? The New Jersey Hunt Cup caps off the banner day of racing at Far Hills. With a stakes at Middleburg last week and another one at Great Meadow next week, the timber horses are stretched thin, only six wind up here.
Next year, you can bet on it – or so they say. The Far Hills Races went through all the hoops to get pari-mutuel wagering passed at its one-day steeplechase meet every October and the bill was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie in September – too late to ramp up everything needed for legal betting this year.
So, these selections are all in fun. Hah.
Rawnaq, here’s your chance. The 9-year-old Irish import, already the leader of his division this year, gets a chance to drive home the point in Saturday’s American Grand National, feature race on the Far Hills Races card. He faces seven rivals in the $350,000 classic at 2 5/8 miles.
The 3-year-old horses who run over hurdles in the United States are like, well, 3-year-olds. Unpredictable and full of potential. Someday, they’ll be great like champions Zaccio, Lonesome Glory, Warm Spell and Demonstrative. Or someday, they’ll be lost to history like T.V. Gold, Solitary Strike, Wetlands and Jogja.
Nine newcomers tackle Saturday’s $50,000 Gladstone, the sixth race at Far Hills, at 2 1/8 miles. They hail from pretty much everywhere – Trappe Hill Road has never run anywhere, Officer’s Oath won at Shawan Downs, Invocation has already run five times over hurdles, Don’t Make Me Cry makes his 11th start this year.