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.
Those fears were allayed on Monday when seven Thoroughbreds were nominated to the 83rd annual Camden spring classic for novice jumpers.
Four of the nominees have spent most of, if not all the winter, in Camden training either at the Springdale Race Course or at the neighboring Camden Training Center.
One jumper expected to take the starter’s flag in the Carolina Cup feature is Mrs. Timothy Gardner’s Where’s the Beef, who is trained in Camden by Ireland native Peter Murphy. Getting the nod in the irons will be defending NSA champion jockey and part-time Camden resident Willie McCarthy, who has been riding the gray gelding all winter.
Claimed for $25,000 after a 10th place finish in a $28,000 race on the flat for Kathy Neilson last June at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania, the 7-year-old son of multiple stakes winner Rockport Harbor, scored its biggest win over fences by carrying McCarthy to victory in the $50,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle Stakes at Callaway Gardens, Ga., on Nov. 2, 2013. That win came five weeks after Where’s the Beef broke its maiden over hurdles in its second start in a maiden special chase at Foxfield in Charlottesville, Va.
Trainer Richard Valentine, who campaigns 2014 Eclipse Award for steeplechasing winner Demonstrative, sent in the name of Bill Pape’s Fog Island.
The 8-year-old Rossini gelding has not win over fences since taking the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., in 2012, but is no stranger to stakes company. In fact, its last 11 races have been stakes jump races with one of those resulting in a second-place finish in the 2013 Carolina Cup.
Camden-based conditioner Lilith Boucher nominated Perfect Peace Racing Stable’s Marq Your Bible and William Riddle’s Absolum into the Carolina Cup. Both horses were cross-entered into Saturday’s allowance and hurdle stakes chases in Aiken.
Marq Your Bible, a 6-year-old Marquetry gelding, made nine starts in 2014 with two wins, two seconds and a pair of thirds while earning $44,475. Included in the victories was a state-bred allowance on the flat at the International Gold Cup in Virginia before finishing his season with a third in the Crown Royal allowance hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens.
Absolum was formerly trained by Leslie Young before the 7-year-old found its way into the Boucher barn. The Fantasticat gelding won an allowance chase at Middleburg last spring after having broken its maiden over the same course in 2013.
Jack Fisher, who as of three weeks ago said he was not coming to the Carolina Cup due to the wealth of snow in Maryland, took advantage of a break in the weather to round Syros into shape for a possible try in Camden.
Owned by Gil Johnston, the 7-year-old Dynaformer gelding won three times in 10 starts --- with three seconds and a pair of thirds --- in 2014 which brought in $122,400. One of his wins from a year ago came in a $65,000 allowance chase at Saratoga. Syros closed last season with back-to-back seconds in the $100,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills and a runner-up finish behind 2014 Carolina Cup winner Top Striker in the $50,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at Callaway Gardens in November.
The mystery horse in the nominees is Daybreak Stable’s Diplomat, who was purchased by trainer Jimmy Day from Dermot Weld’s stable in Ireland. A 6-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Diplomat had a pair of seconds in eight starts in the UK in 2014. In 2013, Diplomat scored a pair of wins over hurdles at Galway and Sligo in Ireland
Cup ticket update:
Cup ticket update:Here is the ticket and parking situation for 83rd running of Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races to be run on Saturday, March 28, at the Springdale Race Course in Camden.
The gates will open at 9 a.m. on March 28 with the first of the schedule six races taking the starters’ flag at 1:30 p.m.
General admission tickets: $45. (Note: Children ages 11 and under will be admitted to the races free of charge, if accompanied by an adult ticket-holder.) General admission parking: Infield Parking
General admission tickets: $45.Tickets will be sold through and the day of the races at the Carolina Cup office and at all gates, respectively.
(Note: Children ages 11 and under will be admitted to the races free of charge, if accompanied by an adult ticket-holder.)
General admission parking:$10
Infield Parking(rows D - L): $215; South and West Rail(s): $215; North Rail: $195; Restricted parking rows B & C: $267; Front Row Paddock: $318 (all include two general admission tickets); College Park row C (few spaces remaining): $830 (general admission tickets are not included); College Park rows E: $215 (includes two general admission tickets); Grandstand Box (selling quickly): $750 per six-seat box (includes food and beverages)
Ticket orders are no longer being taken online for the Carolina Cup races as all orders will be taken either over the phone or, in person at the Carolina Cup office located on Knights Hill Rd., in Camden.
For information, please call the Carolina Cup Racing Association office at 432-6513 or (800) 780-8117 or visit the Carolina Cup Website located at www.carolina-cup.org.