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.
Had it been the 1980s and if it were Wall Street, it would have been considered insider trading.
Brushing beneath the chin of a horse whose winter coat is shedding and floating into the air, Kate Dalton apologized for the mess it was making as hairs flew everywhere.
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.
Bill Pape's Martini Brother, who blossomed last year as one of American Steeplechasing's emerging stars, heads a talented field of six for the $50,000 Carolina Cup, the featured race of the 82nd annual Carolina Cup Races in Camden on Saturday.
Tickets and parking spaces are still available for Saturday's Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races
What has been a tough winter up and down the East Coast is having a profound effect on the first two weeks of the 2014 National Steeplechase Association campaign.
Pleasant Woodman continued his love affair with Ford Conger Field when he broke on top in the Aiken Spring Steeplechase's $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3), fought off a challenge from Street Fight, and drew clear to a 1 1/2-length victory on Saturday.
With the Wednesday morning scratch of pre-race favorite Alajmal, the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3), the featured hurdle race of the 48th annual Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday, March 22.
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.
Saturday, March 15 is the final day to purchase discount general admission tickets for the Carolina Cup steeplechase races.
Even though the Carolina Cup is more than a month away, reserved parking spaces are selling at a brisk pace.
Even though we are not a full two months into 2014, the new year has already been a memorable one for Camden's Liza Towell Boyd and her younger brother, Hardin Towell, and the Towell family's Finally Farm.
Due to the inclement weather the deadline for renewing Carolina Cup reserved parking space for this year's races has been moved to Tuesday, Feb. 18.
The annual South Carolina Horsemen's Council (SCHC) Expo will be held at the South Carolina Equine Park in Camden on Saturday, Feb. 8.
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.
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.
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