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Early morning rain fails to dampen Cup day

McCarthey, Kingsley combine for two wins

Posted: March 30, 2014 2:07 p.m.
Updated: March 31, 2014 5:00 a.m.

All those gloomy early week predictions of the possibility of  --- your pick --- rain, hail, thunderstorms, threat of a tornado ... locusts ... on Saturday did not keep too many Carolina Cup patrons from descending upoon the Springdale Race Course in strong numbers.
The day opened with the skies opening over Camden in the early morning hours. By midday the sky lightened with the sun poking through for several hours. In fact, the only rain drops felt on the afternoon came for a few seconds as connections of $50,000 Carolina Cup feature winner Top Striker gathered in the winners’ circle to receive the spoils of the 5-year-old gelding’s victory.
Carolina Cup race director Jeff Teter gave the official number of buses in College Park as 240, meaning that more than 10,000 college students came and left the races without having to climb behind the wheel of their own cars.
As for the five-race card of races, Willie McCarthy scored a pair of victories --- including Saturday’s feature --- for the second straight week as he now leads the National Steeplechase Association with four wins after the circuit’s first two stops in Aiken and Camden. There were three non-feature races which were close --- all within two lengths --- and one romp; the latter a 28 ¾-length victory by Hiwasee Gem and jockey Harry Haynes in the finals.
Here is a look at Saturday’s Carolina Cup undercard:
Ryvit … Ryvit: McCarthy and Camden trainer Arch Kingsley teamed up with Ryvit to win the day-opening $25,000 Camden Plate, a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle.
Trade Winds Farms’ Ryvit, a 7-year-old Tapit gelding, carried McCarthy to a 1 ¾-length win over Balance the Budget, ridden by Roddy Mackenzie. Class Wish, trained in Camden by Lilith Boucher and ridden by her husband, Richard Boucher, was third.
McCarthy took his mount to the front from the drop of the starter’s flag and kept Ryvit there until giving up the lead to Balance the Budget about three-quarters of a mile from home, which McCarthy said he was more than willing to do. Ryvit had a little extra left in his tank as it made the two-mile trip over National Fences in 3:52. McCarthy, who spends the winters in Camden, said Ryvit was comfortable running at the point.
“We tried different tactics with the horse but it didn’t work out. He wasn’t happy running from behind,” McCarthy said. “We put him in front today and he jumped really well. He settled very nicely.”
Formerly a runner on the flat for trainer Will Phipps, Ryvit had never won either in its three previous starts over fences or, 15 on the flat. One week earlier, in a maiden hurdle at Aiken, McCarthy eased Ryvit.
To come up with a win at the Carolina Cup was a nice surprise, not to mention a great way to start what would become a memorable day for Kingsley and McCarthy.
“He’s come close a lot of times to winning races, but he’s never gotten it done,” Kingsley said. “That was a milestone. He won his first race at seven and, it feels pretty good. He was ready to go today.”
A matter of Pride: Connor Hankins rode Woodslane Farms Grand Pride to a win in the $20,000 C.P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup, a 3-mile race over timber fences.
A 7-year-old Grand Reward gelding trained by Jack Fisher, Grand Pride stretched out coming to the wire to overtake Darnlittlecash (Mackenzie) by three-quarters of a length. Sumo Power (Mark Watts) came home third in a race which finished with three horses still running.
The winning time was 6:45.
On Island time, again: Bodie Island started 2014 where he left off in 2013 as the 7-year-old Elkstone Group LLC gelding won the $20,000 Woodward-Kirkover.
In the winners’ circle was Elkstone’s Stuart Grant, owner of the Camden Training Center, who was on hand for the race and the plaque presentation.
Trained by Richard Valentine, who gave Kieran Norris a leg up, Bodie Island returned to the Springdale Race Course over which it won in its final start of last year in the $20,000 Hobkirk Hill.
Bodie Island beat All Together (Jeff Murphy) to the wire by 1 ¼-lengths in a clocking of 4:09 1/5 for the 2 1/8-mile journey.
Sir Dynamite, owned by Camden’s Dale Thiel and trained by Camden’s Britt Graham, came home in third. Mark Watts took Sir Dynamite to the early lead before being overtaken by the winner  as the field turned for home.
No contest:  The afternoon of racing closed with a romp as the Janet Elliot-owned and trained Hiwasse Gem carried Harry Haynes to his first NSA victory in a 28 3/4-length romp in the $20,000 Sport of Queens Filly and Mare Hurdle.
Under a hand-ride by the Ireland native, the 7-year-old mare galloped to her first victory in just four lifetime races. Her previous start ended with a seventh-place finish in the 2010 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial Hurdle Stakes on Colonial Cup day in Camden.
Weather affects Cup fields:  While the early rains and clouds  may have kept some Cup-goers at home, the brutal winter and spring in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic affected many horse’s training and led to rather light fields in Saturady’s five-race card which led ton one race being scratched after drawing two entries.
In all, 26 horses raced on the Carolina Cup card.
Save the date: Steeplechase action returns to the Springdale Race Course on Saturday, Nov. 15 with the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup.

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