With Saturday's 80th running of the Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races just four days away, last-minute shoppers have been gobbling up the remaining reserved parking spaces for the Camden spring classic, leaving few spots remaining inside the Springdale Race Course.
Led by 2011 Eclipse Award winner Black Jack Blues, a field of six jumpers will take to the Springdale Race Course for Saturday's $50,000 Carolina Cup Steeplechase (Gr. III.)
In what can best be described as an ironic twist, with a good portion of Kershaw County residents suffering from pollen-related maladies, Black Jack Blues will come to town some four months after the missing last November's Colonial Cup steeplechase due to a respiratory infection.
Saturday is the final day for patrons to secure discount general admission tickets for the Carolina Cup steeplechase races.
Augustin Stables' Ever So Lucky, which spent part of the winter training at the Springdale Race Course for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, opened his 3-year-old campaign by finishing third in Saturday's $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
With less than three weeks left before the Carolina Cup Races, reserved parking spaces are, once again, moving at a brisk pace.
It was a good week for maidens who got their starts at Kip Elser's Kirkwood Stables in Camden.
Get Stormy shook off the doldrums from his 12th place finish in last November's TVG Breeders' Cup Mile by winning his first race of 2012 by wiring Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (Gr. 1) in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Each time Jonathan Sheppard sent out Ever So Lucky in the company of a training partner last summer, the precocious 2-year-old would dig in and would refuse to be beaten, even if was nothing more than a simple work around the track at the Hall of Fame trainer's farm in Pennsylvania.
It is two weeks and counting for patrons who purchased reserved parking spaces and/or grandstand boxes for last year's Carolina Cup races to renew their order for the 2012 edition of the event.
It has been a good start to 2012 for horses which received their early training in Camden.
For Irvin Naylor, it was not whether one of his jumpers would win the 2011 Eclipse Award for steeplechasing, but which one would be voted to receive racing's top honor.
It is not too early to begin making plans for the 2012 Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races at the Springdale Race Course.
It has been a busy and winning post-holiday season for Thoroughbreds with Camden connections.
There are two certainties as to the 2011 Eclipse Award winner for steeplechasing. First, it will be an Irish-bred gelding. Second, it will be owned by Irv Naylor.
Saturday's 83rd running of the Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races at the Springdale Race Course in Camden will begin with the first of six races taking the starter's flag at 1:30 p.m. The gates to the course open to the public at 9 a.m.
Bargain basement purchases, horses with Camden ties and an Irish import making its first start over fences on this side of the Atlantic. What more could you ask for in a jump race?
A few hundred yards away, trucks carrying workers zig-zagged their way in and around the Springdale Race Course in final preparation for Saturday's 83rd running of the Carolina Cup. Tucked away in a barn located behind the National Steeplechase Museum, Brian Murphy stands atop the straw in a stall as he brushes down one of his horses with the only sound here being that of a few chirping birds on a relaxed Monday morning.
Officially, Minimambo carried jockey Rosemary Homeister and 120 pounds on her back in Saturday's fifth race, a $16,500 maiden claimer run at Tampa Bay Downs.
Five novice jumpers are expected to take the starter's flag for Saturday's $75,000 Carolina Cup steeplechase race after entries were accepted Monday by the National Steeplechase Association.
Given the harsh winter in the Mid-Atlantic region, there was more than a bit of concern as to how many horses would be ready and headed for the Saturday's March 28 running of the $75,000 Carolina Cup steeplechase race in Camden.
Thanks to a second-place finish behind unbeaten Dortmund in Saturday's $400,000 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Prospect Park will next try for the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4.
With three weeks and a day to go before the 2015 Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races in Camden, reserved parking spaces are starting to fill up.
Even though the calendar just turned to January and cold weather is on the way, it is not too early to be thinking about the warmer days of spring.
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