There had been colder and wetter Colonial Cup race days, but maybe not as many sunny or, brisk ones as Saturday’s 45th edition of the Camden fall classic contested over the Springdale Racecourse.
The question as to whether there had even been a Colonial Cup run in cooler conditions was posed by Camden businessman and Thoroughbred owner George Sensor in the press box as the four runners in Saturday’s seventh and final race were headed to the post a little past 4 p.m.
When reminded of the wind-,rain- and cold-ravaged conditions in which the 1999 and 2000 Colonial Cup races were run in, Sensor smiled as, suddenly, Saturday seemed not as bad a day at all.
Gamecocks in the house:
Gamecocks in the house:In the minutes between the sixth and seventh races, the peaceful Springdale setting was interrupted by a loud roar emanating from various tents in the infield.
When a producer/director with Hunt Cup Productions, which films the races, asked what the yelling was all about, he was told that USC may have just beaten Florida. The gentleman smiled, shrugged his shoulders and went back to the task at hand.
Shortly thereafter, some of the few fans remaining in the grandstand loudly started humming the USC fight song before breaking into a chorus of the school’s alma mater.
A quick trip through the infield was all it took to discover that many Colonial Cup-goers came to the races ready to watch the races along with either the USC vs. Florida or, the Clemson at Georgia Tech games as evidenced by the large number of large screen televisions, set up under the tents, and more than a few generators located alongsi those parking spots.
Never count out Sheppard:
Never count out Sheppard:When it came to Saturday’s feature, the $100,000 Colonial Cup Steeplechase, all eyes were fixated on pre-race favorite and 2014 Eclipse Award winner-in-waiting Demonstrative.
Even though he had four of the six starters in the field, including 2013 Eclipse Award winner Divine Fortune, Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard was almost overlooked thanks in part to Demonstrative’s having won its previous three starts.
Had the race been run on paper, maybe Demonstrative wins this race. Instead, Divine Fortune turned the 2 ¾-mile journey into a parade with the 11-year-old gelding and jockey Darren Nagle serving as the grand marshals. A bolting start led to a quick six-length advantage over the rest of the field which chased Divine Fortune’s shadow every step of the way.
For Sheppard, the victory was his record 14th in the Colonial Cup.
A long way from Camden:
A long way from Camden:The winners of the final three races on Saturday’s seven-race card received their starts at tracks located in various parts of the world.
The fifth race was won by Argentina-bred Wantan, a 9-year-old gelding which had its first start in its home country at the San Isidro Hipodromo on Feb. 22, 2008.
The sixth race was taken by 5-year-old Irish-bred Long House Saint, whose first career start came at the Galway Racecourse in his homeland on July 29, 2013.
The longest journey of all winners and, probably that of all the afternoon’s starters, on Saturday to get to Camden goes to Green Lazer. The 5-year-old was bred in Kentucky and had its first start at the track at the Pyatigorsk Racecourse, a facility located southeast of Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 18, 2011.
It’s not too early to be thinking about spring:
It’s not too early to be thinking about spring:Even though work is still being done at the Springdale Racecourse after last Saturday’s running of the Colonial Cup Races, plans are being made for next spring’s Carolina Cup Steeplechase Races.
The 83rd running of the Camden spring classic is set for Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the Springdale Racecourse. Invitations to 2013 space holders will be mailed out shortly after the new year.
For more information on the Carolina Cup, log onto www.carolina-cup.org or, visit their Facebook page.