Athene Noctura Stables’ Odi et Amo found everything to love and nothing to hate at the Kentucky Horse Park on Sunday, when he pulled away to a dominant victory in the featured $20,000 Jay Trump starter allowance hurdle at the 46th annual High Hope Steeplechase.
Trained by Camden’s Allison Fulmer and ridden by Kieran Norris, Odi et Amo finished 8 1/2 lengths clear of Gil Johnston’s Syros. Bruce Smart Jr.’s Orchestra Leader finished third, 14 1/2 lengths farther back, and Bill Pape’s El Season was fourth in a field of seven.
Odi et Amo ran the Jay Trump’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:02.40 on firm ground at the race course north of Lexington. He laid off the early pace, made his move two fences from home, and won in hand.
The six-year-old Inamorato gelding takes his name from the first line of a work by the Roman poet Catullus and translates from the Latin as “I hate and I love.” The first-century B.C. writer was describing a tempestuous love affair.
Odi et Amo has had something of a tempestuous racing career. He made three unplaced starts in 2011, two of them on the flat, and he was pulled up in his only start last year at the Aiken Fall meet after missing the 2012 season. Fulmer had him ready for a 2014 campaign, and Odi et Amo won his maiden victory over fences at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in North Carolina on April 5. He ran a solid second to Orchestra Leader in a Block House claiming hurdle May 3.
Camden-based jockey Richard Boucher closed the day of chasing at the by piloting Complete Dyno to victory for his wife and trainer Lilith Boucher in the $10,000 Henry Collins.
Decoy Daddy successful in Radnor defense: Decoy Daddy, Irv Naylor’s ageless hurdles star, scored his second straight victory in Saturday’s $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) when he turned back a late challenge from Inti to win the Radnor Hunt Races’ featured stakes race by five lengths.
Michael J. Moran’s Staying On finished third, 6 3/4 lengths farther back, and The Fields Stable’s Wanganui was a distant fourth. Trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Carol-Ann Sloan, Decoy Daddy won his second Grade 3 stakes race of the year, following a score in the Tempe Gwathmey, a race he also had won last year.
The 12-year-old Irish-bred raised his 2014 earnings to $60,000 with the National Hunt Cup score and lifted his career earnings above $465,000 from 58 starts.
Wanganui, making his first start since August 2012, went to the lead immediately, with Decoy Daddy stalking the pace of the 2011 three-year-old champion and top jockey Willie McCarthy. On the final circuit of the Malvern, Pa., course, Wanganui tired suddenly, dropping Decoy Daddy on the lead.
Meritage Stable’s Inti, also trained by Murphy, runs his best races on softer turf, and he mounted a strong challenge heading into the last fence. Inti and jockey Kieran Norris drew within a few lengths, but Decoy Daddy had plenty left and pulled away to the finish line.
Decoy Daddy ran the National Hunt Cup’s 2 3/8 miles in 4:52.40 on turf rated as good. W. Burling Cocks Memorial Race Course in Malvern, Pa., had some soft areas at lower elevations after drenching rains the day before.
Naylor, currently the sport’s leading owner by earnings, said he entered the race with considerable confidence in his highly consistent stable star. “He won this race last year, and the jockey is very familiar with the horse. He has a trainer who is new to the horse (since last summer), and he is a trainer in whom we have a lot of confidence,” Naylor said.
He conceded that his concern was Inti, who won last year’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on soft turf. But, for the second straight year, Decoy Daddy’s class proved the decisive factor as he drew away to his 16th career win.