Far Hills: Taking the Oath

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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.

Jimmy: “He ran a huge race, he didn’t really settle, he went out there like, ‘I know all about this…’ “
Emily: “…Typical teenager, right? He thinks he knows everything.”

Emily: “The idea was for him to be a flat horse, but you’re working him and we ran him at the point-to-point, and it’s like, the horse stays. If he can be a nice jumper, then go be a nice jumper…”
Jimmy: “…Well, the great thing is you know what you’re getting when you pass him to an owner.”

Jimmy: “I’m delighted for Bruce, he and Edie bought him two weeks before Shawan. They adore the game…”
Emily: “…He’s 93 and she’s 89, isn’t that fun?”

Emily: “He learned so much at Shawan, he was all over the place…”
Jimmy: “…He focused really well. It looked like a good 3-year-old hurdle, they went a nice, good gallop.”

Jimmy: “We have a yearling by Bluegrass Cat and she’s in foal to Midshipman…”
Emily: “…Her first two foals are black type.”

The conversation lasted about five minutes and could have gone on for five hours. Winning a 3-year-old stakes with a homebred at the best meet of the year provides natural material.

Sean McDermott cajoled Officer’s Oath to the lead early, allowing natural exuberance to carry him to the front over the first two hurdles as Invocation, with five hurdle starts under his belt, tracking in second. Pulling through most of 2 1/8 miles, Officer’s Oath jumped with precision, allowing Invocation to take over briefly with a circuit to go. Officer’s Oath led around the final turn and up the hill as Invocation and Popcastle challenged on the outside. McDermott switched his whip to his left hand as Officer’s Oath drifted left briefly, flew the last and drew off to win by 2 lengths over Popcastle, a runner-up to Officer’s Oath in their first matchup at Shawan Downs, and Invocation.  

Bred in Virginia by the Day’s Daybreak Farm, Officer’s Oath won twice on the flat, taking a restricted maiden at Charles Town as a 2-year-old while trained by Ollie Figgins and a restricted allowance there in June. In between, he made a flat start at the Virginia Gold Cup in May, finishing fourth against older Virginia-breds. Officer’s Oath is now 4-for-9 in his career.