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Horse beats car just one storyline from a day at the Carolina Cup

Posted: April 3, 2017 3:11 p.m.
Updated: April 4, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Tom Didato/C-I

SEAN MCDERMOTT GUIDES SYROS to the finish line and to victory in the C.P. and Edith Wills DuBose Cup timber race in Saturday’s Mullikin Law Firm Carolina Cup.

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Just when you thought that you might have heard every tale imaginable from the Mullikin Law Firm Carolina Cup races, along comes this nugget.

Race director Jeff Teter was in his customary spot beside the track announcer’s booth atop the Springdale Racecourse grandstand, ready to take in Saturday’s final race of the afternoon, when a gentleman came looking for him.

When the man met Teter, he said that he made the trip up the steps to report that a loose horse --- Sharp Numbers, which unseated jockey Willie McCarthy before the C.P. & Edith Wills DuBose Cup --- jumped over the south rail and hit his vehicle causing what the owner estimated to be “about $12,000 in cosmetic damage.” 

The gentleman, whose car took the worst of the beating, said he reported the incident to the proper law enforcement authorities before seeking Teter to make double-sure that he contacted all those who might be party to making sure he was compensated for the damages.

Teter never batted an eye as the man wrote his contact information on a yellow sheet from a pad which included notes from an afternoon which, compared to previous runnings of the Camden spring classic, appeared to be fairly calm and rather uneventful, crowd control-wise.

The day itself proved to be one of the warmer Carolina Cups in recent memory. While some race patrons estimated that attendance seemed to have been down, it was noticeable in the fewer than normal numbers in College Park. Usually, the area is jammed with revelers but this time around, the numbers --- for a variety of reasons --- did not remotely approach those of previous years.

Here is a rundown of the five supporting races included on Saturday’s card:

Maximum effort: Running second behind Wing Foot (Shane Crimin) at the 11th and final fence Camden’s Bernie Dalton, aboard Maximum Horsepower, tracked down the race leader in deep stretch to come away with a one-length victory in the $30,000 Camden Plate.

Trained by Camden’s Nancy Ruch for Smallwood Stables, the 6-year-old Dixie Union gelding, made the two-mile trip over National Fences in a time of 3:54.20. Giza (Kieran Norris) finished third in the starting field of six jumpers which finished with five finishing.

The start was the first over fences for Maximum Horsepower whose career started under trainer Wayne Catalano. In 19 starts on the flat, it won three times with a second and three thirds with earnings of just over $27,000.

Biding its time: Waiting until the latter stages of the $20,000 C.P. & Edith Wills DuBose Cup, Sean McDermott brought Gil Johnston’s Syros to the front in the last quarter-mile and held off Puller (Gustav Dahl) to take the three-mile timber race by two lengths.

Dahl later submitted a foul claim against the winner for interference in the stretch run which was dismissed by the stewards after they watched a replay of the race.

The winning time was 6:23.60. Spoiler Alert (Keith Dalton) finished third in the field of five which took the starter’s flag.

Trained by Jack Fisher, Syros was running over National Fences as recently as last year when it ran sixth in the $200,000 feature at the Iroquois meet in Nashville.

The race was delayed when Sharp Numbers unseated McCarthy as the field was taking to the race course and decided to go on a little jaunt (see above) around the Springdale Racecourse before making its way back to its stall after a few scary turns. Fortunately, no race patrons were injured.

A not so Rare occurrence: What would a Carolina Cup day be without Hall of Fame trainer and part-time Camden resident Jonathan Sheppard making an appearance in the winners’ circle.

Thanks to Rare Mix’s seven-length victory in the $20,000 Filly and Mare Maiden Hurdle, Sheppard picked up a victory on Saturday with a horse which he both owns and trains.

Darren Nagle took Rare Mix to the lead in the early stages of the two-mile race over National Fences and kept her there for the comfortable win which came in a clocking of 3:48.60.

The Fisher-trained Amnicalola (McCarthy) was second with the Sheppard-conditioned Admiring Glance (Jack Doyle) coming home third.

This Mile goes longer: Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile carried Ross Geraghty to victory in the day-opening Camden Plate, a 1 ¼-mile run on the flat.

Trained by Ricky Hendriks, the 7-year-old Irish-bred made the trip in 2:09, beating Martini Brother (Doyle) to the wire by 1 ¾ lengths. Strongbox (Bernie Dalton) was third for Camden-based trainer Kate Dalton.

Back on familiar ground: Diplomat, winner of the 2015 Carolina Cup feature, was given a run on the flat at 1 ½ miles to help get him ready for his jump races this season.

Trained in Camden by Dalton with her husband Bernie in the iron, Diplomat went to a 2 ¼-length win in the Kershaw Plate in a time of 2:38.

Quality Song (Crimin) was second followed by Sue Sensor’s Cash Crop, trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., who gave Emma Clifton a leg up.

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