The form wouldn’t look out of place at Aintree Thursday, Friday or even Saturday. Instead the form shows up at Stoneybrook for the $25,000 allowance feature. Irish-bred For Non Stop makes his American debut for Irv Naylor, Cyril Murphy and Roddy Mackenzie. The 9-year-old gelding finished behind Sprinter Sacre, Cue Card, Flemenstar, Menorah, First Liutenant and Captain Chris in his most recent starts in England.
Purchased last summer for 175,000 pounds, For Non Stop skipped the fall season and begins his spring season in the North Carolina feature. The three-time winner clashes with Colonial Cup runner-up Barnstorming and three others.
Former trainer Nick Williams talked about For Non Stop winning at Aintree in the Racing Post in 2012.
“That was a good performance,” Williams said. “He carried on where he left off from last season. Every year he seems to get better. But I think the course, the ground, the trip and the strong pace were in his favour today. He is a good two and a half mile handicapper in the long run.”
Stoneybrook at Five Points. Raeford, N.C. Five-race card starts at 1:30.
First Race. Maiden Hurdle. Interesting eight-horse maiden opens the card. Jonathan Sheppard unveils Sal The Barber, a four-time winner on the flat. Richard Valentine unveils Unbraggio, a four-time winner on the flat as well. Julie Gomena debuts Noble Bull and Cocodimama. Alicia Murphy makes a rare trip north with West Is Best.
Sheppard talked about Sal The Barber this winter.
“Sal The Barber is by Alphabet Soup, he was a pretty solid Group 2, 3 turf horse, Lewis thought he was losing his form a little bit so he decided to take him out of training and he was on this farm turned out,” Sheppard said. “He talked to me about it at Saratoga, it happened to coincide with Italian Wedding (also by Alphabet Soup) winning the Turf Writers, that was a boost.”
- Joe: West Is Best, Sal The Barber, Unbraggio
- Sean: Sal The Barber, West Is Best, Unbraggio.
- Tom: Sal The Barber, Unbraggio, West Is Best.
Second Race. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. Come on Primero Peru, today is the day to break your maiden in start number 70. One time for Rafael Fernandez.
- Joe: Complete Dyno, A Zoo Society, Primero Peru.
- Sean: Complete Dyno, Primero Peru, Stephen’s Revenge.
- Tom: A Zoo Society, Stephen’s Revenge, Complete Dyno.
Third Race. Conditioned Claiming Hurdle. Short field of four square off for trainers Dave Washer, Jeremy Gillam, Lilith Boucher and Arch Kingsley.
- Joe: Ez Mac, General Partner, Mr. Lickety.
- Sean: Ez Mac, General Partner, Mr. Lickety.
- Tom: Ez Mac, Mr. Lickety, General Partner.
Fourth Race. Allowance Hurdle. Heavy hitters For Non Stop and Barnstorming take advantage of the conditions (non-winners of $15,000 twice in 2013-’14 other than maiden, claiming, starter). Cool race. Tactical gem. Next stop, stakes. Albany Road makes second start of the season while Forgotten Man and Duc de Savoie dust off the rust.
- Joe: Barnstorming, Albany Road, Forgotten Man.
- Sean: For Non Stop, Barnstorming, Forgotten Man.
- Tom: Barnstorming, For Non Stop, Albany Road.
Fifth Race. Training Flat. Champion mare Kisser N Run preps for Atlanta. New York Turf Writers Cup winner Italian Wedding preps for bigger things. Richard Valentine unveils Awesome Pearl and Labonte as well. Sheppard reignites Great Siege, off since 2010 when competing for Dave Hofmans at Hollywood Park. Good luck to Tate Shaw on Saint Nicholas.
- Joe: Awesome Pearl, Italian Wedding, Kisser N Run.
- Sean: Great Siege, Awesome Pearl, Kisser N Run.
- Tom: Great Siege, Awesome Pearl, Italian Wedding.
Dogwood Classic. Colonial Downs. New Kent, Va. First race at 1:00.
The Virginia sanctioned season gets underway with a five-race card over Colonial Downs’ oval. Bring your money, pari-mutuel betting is offered.
First Race. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. Short field. Charge drops to the claiming races, the 5-year-old finished 6 lengths behind Maryland scion Eighttofasttocatch in the 2012 Jennings. Just four horses in a maiden claimer? Signs of a tough winter.
- Joe: Annual Update, Cry Vengeance, Charge.
- Sean: Cry Vengeance, Annual Update, Charge.
- Tom: Annual Update, Class Fuss, Cry Vengeance.
Second Race. Maiden Hurdle. Another short field but a couple of quality maidens from last year spar with a couple of first-time starters.
- Joe: Syros, Jake’s Mandate, Hear The Word.
- Sean: Hear The Word, Syros, Jake’s Mandate.
- Tom: Syros, Flagrant Honor, Hear The Word.
Third Race. Allowance Hurdle. Welcome back, 3-year-old champ Schoodic and welcome aboard 4-time champ Paddy Young. Quality allowance race with the likes of Cognashene, Top Man Michael, Rudyard K and Lea Von.
- Joe: Schoodic, Lea Von, Top Man Michael,
- Sean: Schoodic, Top Man Michael, Cognashene.
- Tom: Schoodic, Cognashene, Lea Von.
Fourth Race. Claiming Hurdle. Another short field. Just five line up for the $20,000 purse. Ferguson winner Class Bopper drops to the claiming ranks for his first start since last summer.
- Joe: Call Me Sonny, Prime Prospector, Certain Swagger.
- Sean: Class Bopper, Call Me Sonny, Prime Prospector.
- Tom: Prime Prospector, Certain Swagger, Call Me Sonny.
Fifth Race. Training Flat. Another short field. Eclipse Award nominee Gustavian gets back to work, as does two-time winner Dr. Skip and five-time flat winner Short Shrift and Saratoga flat winner Mr. Starr’s Report.
Paddy Young talked about Gustavian this winter.
“He’s not having as many problems with his feet as he has in the past, he’ll probably have at least one race during the summer, but that’s looking a long way off,” Young said. “I always thought he was a good horse, I just wish he knew he was a good horse. I’m sure Graham Motion would say the same thing, anybody who’s been around him would tell you he’s a brilliant, brilliant horse but he just doesn’t believe in himself. I don’t know why and I don’t know how you change it, but once he gets a nostril in front, he pulls himself up. All his wins have been by short margins.”
- Joe: Share Out, Short Shrift, Gustavian.
- Sean: Short Shrift, Mr. Starr’s Report, Gustavian.
- Tom: Mr. Starr’s Report, Gustavian, Share Out.