We have a jockeys' race. Sunday's steeplechase card at Charleston produced a tie atop the National Steeplechase Association leaderboard with Darren Nagle and Paddy Young at 15 wins each.
The tie sets up a for-the-championship showdown at the Colonial Cup Nov. 23. The day will feature five, maybe six, jump races with Nagle and Young no doubt featuring prominently in most if not all.
Never a champion, Nagle went into Sunday with a one-win cushion (14-13) on Young and quickly made it two when El Season took the day's second race. Nagle steered the Bill Pape/Jonathan Sheppard trainee to a 3-length win in the conditioned claiming hurdle. Three-time champion Young wasted no time responding as he captured the next two races - a $15,000 maiden with Royal Bench and the $25,000 optional claiming feature with Jamarjo - to create the tie. Tom Voss trains the former for Merriefield Farm. The earner of more than $1 million on the flat was making his steeplechase debut. Irv Naylor owns Jamarjo, an Irish-bred trained by Young's wife Leslie. The 6-year-old has been first, second or third in all seven American starts including two jump wins this fall. Sunday, he outran Cognashene by 5 1/4 lengths.
Owner/trainer Jack Fisher won the opener, a $10,000 maiden claimer, with Wait Outside. Sean Flanagan rode the 4-year-old Dynaformer gelding. In the finale, Armata Stable's Echo Bob (Eve Ledyard) won a training flat race for trainer Kathy McKenna.
In other NSA races, Sheppard (20 wins) leads Fisher (18) among the trainers. Pape ($542,650) leads Naylor by less than $40,000 among owners. Despite a long history in the game, Pape has never been champion owner while Naylor has won the last three titles.
The race for the steeplechase Eclipse Award comes to a close with the $100,000 Colonial Cup Nov. 23. The race is expected to draw Divine Fortune, Demonstrative, Gustavian and other major contenders.
The TIHR handicappers each won two Sunday. Joe and Sean had Wait Outside and Royal Bench. Tom had Wait Outside and El Season. Heading to the Colonial Cup, Joe leads with 53 wins, followed by Sean with 46 and Tom with 42.