Picks & Preview: Carolina Cup

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For the 86th time, horses line up for the Carolina Cup. Later in the spring and after being cancelled last year, the indelible spring stop returns with a six-race card, including the reinvented version of the big one, the Carolina Cup. 

Beyond the $35,000 feature, short but select fields answer the starter’s flag in four maiden hurdle races and a training flat race. 

Watch it live

As for last week, Joe, Tom and Sean picked Mystic Strike and Prayer Hope while Sean and Tom added Embrace The Grind to squeeze it tighter at the top. Joe and Sean are locked together with 11 wins while Tom lurks with 10.

Race 1. The National Steeplechase Museum Hurdle, presented by Woodford Reserve. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. $10,000. 2 1/8 miles. 1:00.

Stop in for a visit to the Steeplechase Museum before watching the opener with a Woodford on the rocks. Tricky race with just five runners and five questions. The intrepid ST Handicappers cover 60 percent of the field. 

  • Sean: Be Somebody, Step To The Bar, My Moonshine. 
  • Joe: Western Crusader, My Moonshine, Step To The Bar.
  • Tom: My Moonshine, Be Somebody, Step To The Bar.

Race 2. The Dale K. Thiel Hurdle, presented by KW Beverage. Maiden Filly & Mare Hurdle. $15,000. 2 1/8 miles. 1:35. 

Another puzzler. Just six line up for a race named after one of the great personalities of American steeplechasing. Tap Dance Star offered a promising debut at Middleburg. Mep sprouts from a prolific family tree in steeplechasing. 

  • Sean: Tap Dance Star, Mep, Flammetta.
  • Joe: Flammetta, Tap Dance Star, Mep.
  • Tom: Tap Dance Star, Flammetta, Wildcat.

Race 3. The Kershaw Hurdle, presented by the City of Camden and Kershaw County. Maiden Hurdle. $20,000. 2 1/8 miles. 2:10. 

We sure wish we were spending the weekend in Camden, breakfast on the gallops, lunch at the Everyday Gourmet, a stroll around downtown, races Saturday afternoon and dinner at Sam Kendall’s. Another tricky one as Joe goes with the local angle, tabbing Arch Kingsley’s Mini P while Joe and Tom opt for form, homing in on the returning Silver Crescent for Leslie Young and 2020 champion Gerard Galligan.

  • Sean: Silver Crescent, Mini P, Sea Mast. 
  • Joe: Mini P, Silver Crescent, McSteamy.
  • Tom: Silver Crescent, Shaka, Mini P.

Race 4. The Springdale Hurdle, presented by BlueCross and BlueShield of South Carolina. Maiden Hurdle. $20,000. 2 1/8 miles. 2:45. 

Whoa, the second-time-starter-for-Jack-Fisher angle. Ziggle Pops tipped his hand with a solid third in his hurdle debut at Middleburg. Short field. Looks like a layup. 

  • Sean: Ziggle Pops, Tolaga Bay, Riendo.
  • Joe:  Ziggle Pops, Tolaga Bay, Channel Island.
  • Tom: Ziggle Pops, Tolaga Bay, Better Tapit.

Race 5. The 86th running of the Carolina Cup, presented by Mullikin Law. Handicap Hurdle. $35,000. 2 3/8 miles.  

It’s been a lot of things and this year it’s a ratings hurdle. The Carolina Cup attracts a competitive group of 11. Fisher unleashes returnees Cite, Pik Em and Lord Justice. Kingsley goes with novice Kilronan and veteran Show Court. Local The Happy Giant could upset. 

  • Sean: Lord Justice, Kilronan, Pik Em.
  • Joe: Cite, Pik Em, Bodes Well.
  • Tom: Cite, Lord Justice, Pik Em.

Race 6. The Camden Plate, presented by WACH Fox 57. Training Flat. 1 1/2 miles. 3:55. 

Welcome back, Fast Car. Prepping for the novice stakes at the Iroquois, the Saratoga winner knocks off some rust for Fisher. Editor’s Note: Sean switched his pick after seeing the confidence in Fast Car. 

  • Sean: Fast Car, Hurtgen Forest, Seeking Albert. 
  • Joe: Fast Car, Seeking Albert, Three O One.
  • Tom: Fast Car, Hurtgen Forest, Down Royal.