Far Hills Spotlight: 3-year-olds start card

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American steeplechasing’s richest day opens with with the Gladstone, a $50,000 hurdle stakes for 3-year-olds that used to be late in the card. Earlier seems to make sense, other than the jockeys might be proceeding with caution given all the rich opportunities late in the day. Five of the nine exit a 3-year-old maiden hurdle race at Shawan. First Friday won that one. Can he repeat? Post time at Far Hills is 1 p.m., but plan on arriving much sooner or risk spending the first two races in traffic. 

Flash Jackson: The name stems from his early days with Wendy and Travis Kinnamon. They called the unnamed youngster “Flash” because of all his white accents and, since he’s owned by Ann Jackson was listed as Flash Jackson on the invoices. Jackson just went with it. She bought the mare Riveting in foal to Get Stormy at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky sale in February 2014, and this is that foal. Two dismal flat runs in Maryland, then a wake-up call when second over hurdles at Shawan with blinkers for the first time. Belongs, but needs to improve jumping to produce another good effort.

Snuggling: Third behind First Friday and Flash Jackson at Shawan, Hudson River/Sheppard homebred is a half-brother to jump winners Parker’s Project and Aflutter. Worked with Grand National contender All The Way Jose Tuesday. Eligible to step forward.

Down Royal: New York-bred is out of Miss Crown, a hurdle winner who placed in several stakes for this gal’s trainer and jockey Kate and Bernie Dalton. Three flat starts didn’t amount to much. Fell in the Shawan race while in contention late. That doesn’t necessarily inspire, but respect connections.

Britain: Son of Tiznow was busy with six flat starts (three thirds) for trainer Todd Pletcher and owner/breeder Bobby Flay from April to August. Purchased by Eve Ledyard and Ricky Hendriks, Kentucky-bred makes quick conversion to jumps. Sleeper.

What Gives: Another rookie, this one comes in off eight flat tries, and a win three back at Laurel Park. Moves from Chuck Lawrence to Jack Fisher for owner (and former flat jockey) Andrea Seefeldt Knight. Fisher always good with 3-year-olds. Dangerous on debut.

Menacing Dennis: On his third trainer – Gary Sciacca, Ben Colebrook and now Julie Gomena – son of Greatness won $50,000 maiden claimer on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs in January. Fourth in hurdle debut at Shawan after 11 starts on the flat. Must improve.

First Friday: Stylish winner at Shawan for Peggy Steinman and Doug Fout just 13 days after flat spin at Laurel Park. Artie Schiller gelding’s dam Vente finished second twice over hurdles. Her dam Santa Fersane won twice over hurdles in France. Third generation of family to race at Far Hills. Could be first on Saturday too.

Burning Approval: Well-traveled son of Wilburn has raced at Indiana Grand, Hawthorne, Churchill Downs, Turfway Park and Tryon. Makes hurdle debut here for Kentucky-based trainer Brian Murphy. Broke flat maiden going 6 furlongs at Hawthorne on New Year’s Eve. 

Alshibaa: Irish-bred, English-raced son of New Approach won at Leicester for Shadwell Farm and trainer William Haggas in June. Purchased by Leslie Young for Ballybristol Farm at Tattersalls July ($23,000) with jumping in mind. Interesting.

Equibase entries.

Shawan Downs video.