Foxfield steeplechase picks and preview

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Fast Vision, a winner at Nashville in May, looks like a player in Foxfield’s handicap hurdle for amateur/apprentice jockeys.
Tod Marks photo

Everybody in the van to Charlottesville. The Foxfield Races, spring and fall, are a fixture on the steeplechase circuit – home to signature performances by Victorian Hill, an Eclipse Award-winning photograph by Douglas Lees (Master’s Degree and Buzz Hannum wiping out over timber) and even a few runnings of the American Grand National. Ask an oldtimer if he or she remembers the Zaccio-Sailor’s Clue match race.

Foxfield’s 2022 fall meet runs Sunday. Post time for the first of six races is 12:30 p.m. and – new this year – you can play a free fantasy stable game via Stable Duel. Check out the app or the website to learn more. Check the weather, it sounds like rain and soft turf.

Last week, everybody had Fleeting Atte and Aweakened. Joe tacked on Cracker Factory, while Sean added Storm Team to finish with three winners each. Tom stayed on two.

First race. $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. Ten in the field with two on the also-eligible list. Quality Choice drops to the claiming ranks for the first time over jumps.

Joe: Quality Choice, Pull Rank, Twentyoneguns.
Sean: Quality Choice, Ping Pong Champ, Hey Teacher.
Tom: Ping Pong Champ, Quality Choice, Twentyoneguns.

Second race. Training flat race going 1 1/4 miles. Another overflow field coming in from all directions.

Joe: Merry Maker, Eagerly, Parish Delight.
Sean: Merry Maker, Parish Delight, High Deff.
Tom: Parish Delight, Eagerly, High Deff.

Third race. $25,000 filly/mare maiden hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. A few making super-quick conversions from the flat.

Joe: Saigon, Fusee de Poche, Magical Charm.
Sean: Fusee De Poche, Magical Charm, Cainudothetwist. 
Tom: Cainudothetwist, Fits The Jill, Ocean Air.

Fourth race. $30,000 maiden hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. Full field of 10 including graded-stakes flat competitor Flying Scotsman, recent flat winner Webb and several others of note. Jimmy P was second at Colonial Downs, Beat Le Bon romped at a point-to-point in April but hasn’t been seen since. La Hara was third twice at Colonial.

Joe: Beat Le Bon, La Hara, Flying Scotsman.
Sean: Jimmy P, Cool Jet, La Hara.
Tom: Beat Le Bon, La Hara, Flying Scotsman.

Fifth race. $15,000 optional claiming hurdle (amateur or apprentice jockeys) going 2 1/8 miles. The horses must be rated 120 or less, or start for $25,000 claiming price.  Sempre Medici won this in the spring and was fifth at Shawan last year. West Newton returns to the jumps after winning on the flat at Pimlico. Ljay, who won at Great Meadow in May, is capable in soft going. Fast Vision stepped up at Nashville in May.

Joe: Fast Vision, Ljay, West Newton.
Sean: Ljay, Fast Vision, Sempre Medici.
Tom: West Newton, Sempre Medici, Fast Vision.

Sixth race. $20,000 handicap hurdle for horses rated 110 and below) going 2 1/8 miles. Salamanca School made 15 starts over jumps overseas. Lear Avia can be tough to catch.

Joe: Salamanca School, Lear Avia, Bold Quest.
Sean: Salamanca School, Pleasecallmeback, Bold Quest. 
Tom: He’ll Do, Salamanca School, Pleasecallmeback.