We literally almost forgot this. Not sure what it was – two days of editorial planning for 2019, post-Saratoga Special hangover, a humid/wet/rainy trail run in Fair Hill the other day or perhaps just sheer ineptitude.
Anyway, the steeplechasers head to Virginia and the Foxfield Races today (Sunday) for a five-race card. Just outside Charlottesville, Foxfield sticks it out and runs two race meets a year – spring and fall – and deserves some applause. Some Clancys were at the first one (we think) in 1978 and the place is a staple on the calendar. Things get started at 1:30 this afternoon. There’s no livestream this week, but follow along with the NSA on Twitter for reports.
As for the TIHR handicappers, we’re in the batter’s box again. Last week, Sean came up with two winners (Elucidation and Doc Cebu) while Tom had one (Elucidation) and Joe was blanked while looking for longshots or something. The autumn challenge reads Sean 3, Tom 2, Joe 2.
First race. $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle going 2 3/16 miles. Full field of 10, with three on the also-eligible list, lines up while looking for graduation tickets. Nice to see another runner for Rob Masiello (welcome to jump racing) in Cotton Town. Top trainers Ricky Hendriks and Jack Fisher are represented, as are Neil Morris and Cyril Murphy. Totally wide open.
Joe: Tambourin, Av A Word, Negotiate.
Sean: Barhanpour, Av A Word, Tambourin.
Tom: Av A Word, Barhanpour, Negotiate.
Second race. $20,000 filly/mare maiden hurdle going 2 3/16 miles. The distaff division has been decimated this year, but here’s a new crop. Umoveover’s dam Ptarmigan was petty good over hurdles. Just three of the nine have run over jumps.
Joe: Umoveover, Lakota, Always Summer.
Sean: Lakota, Umoveover, Crazy Bernice.
Tom: Lakota, Always Summer, Umoveover.
Third race. $30,000 maiden hurdle going 2 3/16 miles. Seven square off here. Fisher runs Storm Team, who was third at Monmouth Park over the summer. Brooklyn Speights returns on short rest after pulling up at Shawan.
Joe: Storm Team, Brooklyn Speights, Star Glitter.
Sean: Storm Team, Zeppelin Ride, Star Glitter.
Tom: Zeppelin Ride, Storm Team, Market Alley.
Fourth race. Training flat going 1 1/16 miles. Total mixed bag from first-timers to With Rhythm, who stood at the start at Shawan, to super veteran Orchestra Leader (who loves Foxfield over jumps) to the returning Invocation.
Joe: Orchestra Leader, Invocation, Salix.
Sean: Makkadangdang, Orchestra Leader, Invocation.
Tom: Invocation, Orchestra Leader, With Rhythm.
Fifth race. Virginia-bred/sired flat going 1 1/4 miles. This is the tuneup for Great Meadow in three weeks. Nice to see Complete St back for another go, but she needs to right the ship. The Morris barn reloaded for this division with Talk Less and Gio Lemon. Close your eyes and pick one.
Joe: Gio Lemon, Talk Less, Complete St.
Sean: Complete St., Gio Lemon, Jump Ship.
Tom: Jump Ship, Talk Less, Complete St.