Camden, Round Two. A joint venture between the National Steeplechase Association and the Carolina Cup, Saturday features a second day of action from Springdale Race Course (a week after the traditional Carolina Cup meet).
First off, nice job everyone. The loss of racing at Georgia and Tryon this spring left a hole in the calendar and this fills it. Obviously it's needed, especially when you look at the crowded fields in Saturday’s five races. Ominous to lose two meets on an already sparse spring schedule. Post time is 1:30 p.m. and it ought to be a fun. Get there if you can.
In what’s starting to sound like a skipping record, the TIHR hanicappers are off to a slow start. Tom picked two winners at the Carolina Cup (Ice It in the feature and Teodoro in the training flat) while Joe and Sean came up with one each (Teodoro). Joe and Sean lead with three wins each with Tom one back. We'll find our rhythm.
Race 1. $15,000 maiden claiming hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. The maximum 10 fill the program. Do you want the experience of a familiar face or a newcomer? Capo Dei Capi won the training flat at Aiken. Change Maker has been second twice and switches barns. Naval Gazer crossed the line first, only to be disqualified, at Aiken.
Joe: Change Maker, Capo Dei Capi, Naval Gazer.
Sean: Capo Dei Capi, Naval Glazer, Change Maker.
Tom: Navel Gazer, Capo Dei Capi, Crosseyedcricket.
Race 2. $30,000 maiden hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. Another full field plus one on the also-eligible list. Sometimes we wonder if the game might be better off if the maiden purses were cut in half to create two races and, thus, two winners. It would help down the line. Oh well, back to work. Six of the 10 in the body make their hurdle debuts while Khafayya makes his 10th start over jumps. If you’re playing triples, he could be a key horse. Gold Braid and Knockholt were 1-2 in a point-to-point, and finished in front of recent maiden winner Aggressive. The Boucher barn is flying and Jump Start is legitimate. Kasseopia makes his first jump start for Team Valor and Gary Barber (no really) after refusing to start on the flat last spring. Seeking Albert placed in a Grade 2 at Woodbine last summer. Another good group of maidens.
Joe: Gold Braid, Knockholt, Seeking Albert.
Sean: Repeat Repeat, Kasseopia, Khafayya.
Tom: Painter's Rags, Seeking Albert, Khafayya.
Race 3. $20,000 filly/mare maiden hurdle going 2 1/8 miles. A dozen entered this, and that’s a good sign for the division which sometimes struggles for entries. Snowie Hill tries to do big sister Get Ready Set Goes proud for owner/trainer/breeder Hill Parker. The Ohio-bred won twice on the flat last year and was second over hurdles in September. Crazy Bernice was third at Aiken. Amnicalola makes her first start since teaming up with flat jockey Forest Boyce for an infamous hurdle start at Saratoga in 2017. Forgiving, whose dam Confined won over jumps, makes her hurdle debut.
Joe: Snowie Hill, Forgiving, Amnicalola.
Sean: Snowie Hill, Inverness, Amnicalola
Tom: Forgiving, Amnicalola, Furiosa.
Race 4. $25,000 handicap hurdle going 2 3/8 miles. For horses rated 115 and lower, this one drew a crowd with 14 in the race and another three on the AE list. Disappointing the sport can't offer two races, we understand the difficulty of that, but 17 horses entered in a race isn't healthy. Orchestra Leader makes his 42nd start over jumps. Maccabee makes his second. Manchurian High, a 10-time winner on the flat including three stakes, returns to the jumps (where he won in 2017). Motivational was claimed from a win late last fall after clashing with the likes of Belisarius and Boss Man. Barhanpour exits a decent second, ahead of today’s rival Dapper Dan, at Aiken. Wide open.
Joe: Notjudginjustsayin, Motivational, Dapper Dan.
Sean: Pik Em, Notjudginjustsayin, Motivational.
Tom: Jarir, Barhanpour, Manchurian High.
Race 5. Training flat going 1 1/4 miles. The finale drew 11 and it wouldn’t look out of place at Keeneland thanks to runners like Boss Man (a five-time winner on the flat), Diplodocus (who ran in a Grade 1 on the turf in 2016), Alsinaafy (whose career began in Chad Brown’s barn) and Sportswear (an English-bred son of Frankel) bred by Will Farish and previously trained by Brown and Neil Howard.
Joe: Boss Man, Sportswear, Undisclosed.
Sean: Boss Man, Sportswear, Diplodocus.
Tom: Boss Man, Sportswear, That's That.