Welcome to steeplechasing. Three-year-olds take the next tepid step in their steeplechase careers. Three of the eight make their career debuts while the other five exit the first 3-year-old race of the year at Shawan Downs. Tie on, jocks.
Giza. Pape homebred hasn’t shown much in three tries on the flat, which was the goal when the mating occurred as he’s by high-profile flat sire, Eskendereya (well, high profile when he started, but he’s already been sold to Japan). At least showed a little more in his last try against Pennsylvania-bred maidens at Parx at the end of August. Champ Paddy Young takes the call for Hall of Fame trainer.
Boogie Feva. The first Arizona-bred to run over jumps? Probably. The first 3-year-old to start for Todd Wyatt? Perhaps. Son of Pomeroy has been at Wyatt’s for a while and learned to jump quickly and accurately. Wyatt tabs Jack Doyle for the ride. Flat race at Great Meadow was certainly designed as an educational spin and he actually was running on a bit at end.
Ice It. Nice debut for son of Tapit, who surely won’t show up on Gainesway’s ad in The Saratoga Special next summer. Cost $310,00 as a yearling, flopped in two starts on the dirt for Graham Motion and made his hurdle debut at Shawan Downs for leading trainer Jack Fisher. Decent effort, still running in spots up the lane, while learning on the fly. The horse to beat.
Kensington Court. Claimed from Todd Pletcher’s high-profile barn Aug. 30, he’s learned to jump quickly, making his hurdle debut in just seven weeks. Nice pedigree for hurdling and at least won twice on the flat, which is two more than any other horse in the race.
Buckrail. Maryland homebred won his debut at Shawan when setting the pace for his five rivals. Ran and jumped greenly early, but showed conviction and improved as he went along to win over Ice It and four others he faces again here. Picked up four pounds for the win. One of the choices.
Timmy T. You don’t see too many sons of Two Punch to go jumping but here’s one. Big long-striding homebred tried to break his maiden 13 times but wasn’t able to reach that goal and switched to hurdling with a fourth in his debut at Shawan Downs. Actually, ran OK that day and should improve for the experience.
Pure Deal. By Doug Fout’s favorite stallion, Purim, this filly has only made two career starts, including a third-place effort at Shawan Downs. Fout has had success in the past with freshman jumpers and could turn the trick again here. Rated near the back at Shawan Downs and closed some ground.
East Avenue. Second of Fout’s Purim pair. He also ran at Shawan Downs, finishing fifth, after intentionally missing the break and being anchored in the back. Willie McCarthy takes the call again, which is a good sign at the least. Needs to show more than he did at Shawan Downs.