The Iroquois Steeplechase continues to shine as the spring’s premier meet, hosting a stellar seven-race card, highlighted by a tantalizing renewal of the Iroquois on Saturday. The Willowdale Steeplechase, with its collection of timber, hurdle and flat races, offers opportunity for the next tier of horses on Sunday.
As for last week, Joe made up ground, picking seven winners (Share Out, Wantan, Syros, Blue Blade, Gokokogo, Lake Placid, Sporty). Sean countered with five winners (Share Out, Blue Blade, Lake Placid, Moonsox, Sporty). Tom made the donuts, blanking on the weekend (a first in the history of ST Handicapping). For the year, Sean leads with 26 wins over Joe with 22 and Tom with 17. If anybody is bored, please check our math.
The Iroquois Steeplechase. Nashville, Tenn.
The First. Training Flat Race. $15,000.
Jonathan Sheppard preps Codrington College with another training flat spin, after emerging with a win at Queen’s Cup. Trainer Julie Gomena looks loaded with Gun Point, an established flat performer. Two-horse race for a decent purse.
- Sean: Codrington College, Gun Point, Slew’s Best Quality.
- Joe: Gun Point, Codrington College, Slew’s Best Quality.
- Tom: Codrington College, Gun Point, Azulyekit.
The Second. The Bright Hour. Restricted Hurdle Stakes. $35,000.
Sporty and Broxbourne go for the amateur bonus. Easy Reach goes for his second win in a row. Short field. Catch Easy Reach if you can.
- Sean: Easy Reach, Broxbourne, Tempt Me Alex.
- Joe: Easy Reach, Tempt Me Alex, Broxbourne.
- Tom: Easy Reach, Sporty, Tempt Me Alex.
The Third. The Marcellus Frost. Novice Hurdle. $75,000.
The undefeated Schoodic faces an acid test against the likes of Awesome Pearl, Kingdom and Pleasant Woodman. Having said that, the novice division doesn’t appear to have a standout at moment as Queen’s Cup winner Looking On graduated to open stakes. Winner here rises to top of division.
- Sean: Schoodic, Awesome Pearl, Kingdom.
- Joe: Schoodic, Awesome Pearl, Rudyard K.
- Tom: Pleasant Woodman, Awesome Pearl, Kingdom.
The Fourth. The Margaret Currey Henley Memorial. Filly and Mare Stakes. $50,000.
Kisser N Run aims to win her fourth straight as she takes on the durable Fisher entry, the established Naylor entry and a trio from Doug Fout. We miss the Henleys.
- Sean: Kisser N Run, Take Her Tothe Top, Cordillera.
- Joe: Kisser N Run, Quiet Flaine, Cordillera.
- Tom: Kisser N Run, Take Her Tothe Top, Opera Heroine.
The Fifth. Sport of Kings Maiden. $25,000.
Continuing the concerning trend, just 11 maidens make the entry box for the best maiden race of the year. Last year, it split. This year, no chance. The best maidens graduate at Nashville. Check out pedigree of Woodslane’s Overwhelming. And don’t forget, Amergin comes in off sweet Irish point-to-point form.
- Sean: Overwhelming, Amergin, Ajzaa.
- Joe: Tiz Nasty, Overwhelming, Ajzaa.
- Tom: Overwhelming, Aflutter, Tiz Nasty.
The Sixth. The Mason Houghland Memorial Timber. $50,000.
Just six timber horses travel to Nashville. Cornhusker dominated the timber feature at Middleburg. Tax Ruling loves the course, at least the Iroquois course. Fisher prepped Rugged Rascal with a spin around Middleburg Point-to-Point.
- Sean: Cornhusker, Rugged Rascal, Tax Ruling.
- Joe: Cornhusker, Peace Fire, Rugged Rascal.
- Tom: Nationbuilder, Cornhusker, Tax Ruling.
The Seventh. The Iroquois. $150,000.
The 3-mile classic attracts a high-class field of nine. Established veterans Demonstrative, Divine Fortune and Gustavian take on European imports Molotof and For Non Stop. Veterans Italian Wedding, Fog Island and Pierrot Lunaire aim at returns. Fisher rolls the dice with Virsito, 2-for-2 in his career. Pull up a chair and enjoy.
- Sean: For Non Stop, Virsito, Divine Fortune.
- Joe: Demonstrative, Divine Fortune, Gustavian.
- Tom: Divine Fortune, Gustavian, For Non Stop.
The Willowdale Steeplechase. Unionville, Penn.
The First. Training Flat Race.
Fisher continues to unleash well-bred transferees, this time stakes-placed Dynafortwo for Michael Moran.
- Sean: Dynafortwo, Soul Of The Moon, More Tea Vicar.
- Joe: Soul of The Moon, Mr.Universo, Dynafortwo.
- Tom: Dynafortwo, All The Way Jose, Spy In The Sky.
The Second. Maiden Timber. $15,000.
Three picks, three different selections. Sean stretches with Dont Tell Sailor, 2-for-2 at the point-to-points for Paddy Neilson, while Joe goes back to the Fisher camp with the debuting Drift Society and Tom goes with Durer, second at the Manor.
- Sean: Dont Tell Sailor, Durer, Drift Society.
- Joe: Drift Society, Cold Water Spring, Dax.
- Tom: Durer, Dax, Drift Society.
The Third. Allowance Timber. $10,000.
Whoa, Todd Wyatt gets best bet of the day with Brother Sy, who benefitted by some errant rivals at the Grand National.
- Sean: Brother Sy, More Fascination, Almarmooq.
- Joe: Brother Sy, Here Comes Badness, More Fascination.
- Tom: Brother Sy, More Fascination, Fort Henry.
The Fourth. Allowance Timber. $25,000.
Whoa II, Wyatt sweeps the board again as Raven’s Choice goes for his second win in a row. Don’t get nervous Todd.
- Sean: Raven’s Choice, City Press, Prince Ludovic.
- Joe: Raven’s Choice, City Press, Prince Ludovic.
- Tom: Raven’s Choice, Almarmooq, Prince Ludovic.
The Fifth. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. $10,000.
Cry Vengeance goes for his fourth try of the spring while Merging makes his debut for Richard Valentine. Last chance saloon.
- Sean: Merging, Complete Dyno, Cry Vengeance.
- Joe: Cry Vengeance, Complete Dyno, Merging.
- Tom: Cry Vengeance, Complete Dyno, Merging.
The Sixth. Conditioned Claiming Hurdle. $15,000.
Joe and Tom swap Fisher entrants on top while Sean tabs his own horse, Prime Prospector. You have to ask yourself, is that because he believes or because he doesn’t want to get a derogatory text from Blair Wyatt and Win Lewis…?
Whomever wins, call your mother when it’s over.
- Sean: Prime Prospector, Popplestone, American Ladie.
- Joe: Popplestone, American Ladie, Acela.
- Tom: Certain Swagger, Popplestone, American Ladie.