Using the Springdale Race Course as his classroom and his good friend and retired National Steeplechase Association champion jockey Jonathan Smart and Camden-based trainer Mickey Preger as his professors, Willie McCarthy went back to school last week in the days leading up to McCarthy's ride aboard Top Striker in Saturday's 82nd running of the $50,000 Carolina Cup steeplechase.
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.
At a time of morning when many a Carolina Cup-goer is rolling over in their bed, the men charged with making sure everything on the grounds of the Springdale Race Course and its adjoining property are in working order are already on the job and rolling out, assuring that everything is in place for the tens of thousands of patrons who will make their way through the gates in the coming hours.
On the day before St. Patrick's Day, it was lucky to have been a horse which was developed in Camden as two graduates of Kip Elser's Kirkwood Stables and another from Donna Freyer's Custom Care Equine found their way into the winners' circle.
With the start of the regular season right around the corner, several Kershaw County spring sports teams will get a jump on their campaigns by playing in pre-season tournaments beginning this weekend in baseball, boys' soccer and girls' soccer.