Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

In a season of steeplechasing where successes were often reserved for larger stables from Maryland and Pennsylvania, Virginians Richard Valentine and Jimmy Day took Saratoga steeplechasing by storm. Spy in the Sky started the success with a win in the $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial-G1 for Day in a 25-1 upset. Three weeks later, Valentine claimed the meet’s biggest prize, the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup-G1, with Demonstrative.

  • Mid-Atlantic-breds shined at Saratoga as Pennsylvania-bred So Many Ways blazed through the Grade 3 Schuylerville to open the meet and added the Grade 1 Spinaway to close it, while Maryland-bred Poseidon’s Warrior upset the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap.
  • North central Virginia-based trainer Patrick Nuesch put in the work to find the right race for Le Deluge. Making two 800-mile round trips to Presque Isle Downs in less than a month resulted in two back-to-back track records. Le Deluge won the second and third races of the Presque Isle Downs Distance Series of starter allowances, the first coming at 1¾ miles. Facing 10 rivals, the son of Louis Quatorze was nearly a dozen lengths off the pace before being sent with about a half mile to go. The gelding steadily drew off to win by 3 lengths in 2:59.27. Three weeks later, despite rearing at the start, Le Deluge won a 2-mile battle by a length in 3:32.12. Nuesch, who usually ran at Charles Town, noted: “He never showed early pace, and he looked like he could run all day.”
  • Althea Richards’ Jump Start colt won the grand championship at the 12th annual $15,000 Virginia Breeders Fund Yearling Futurity. The Futurity, held at the Warrenton Horse Show Grounds in Warrenton, was judged by Audley Farm general manager Dr. Jens von Lepel. Richards’ dark bay colt was out of her homebred mare Green Jeans, a daughter of Green Dancer who produced a multiple hurdle stakes winner Green Velvet and $149,058-earner Boxer Shorts.
    The Jump Start colt, Just Call Kenny, would win or place in five graded stakes, topped by a victory in the 2017 Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes. He earned $501,270.


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