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Gomena Saddles Three Winners at Orange County

 Photos by Douglas Lees

och19.open hurdle(l-r) Menacing Dennis (Aaron Sinnott up) finishes first; Ack Feisty (Jacob Roberts up) is third in the Open Hurdle.

Julie Gomena-trained horses swept three of the seven races for three different owners with three different riders at the Orange County Point-to-Point on Sunday, March 31, 2019: Maiden Flat (second race), Open Hurdle (fifth race), and the Open Timber (sixth race). Racing was run over the Locust Hill Farm racecourse in Middleburg, Virginia:

Jimmy Day Entries Finish Strong at Old Dominion

Photos by Douglas Lees

odh19.maiden hurdleMaiden Hurdle race (l-r): #1, Apollo Landing (Bryan Cullinane up) finishes 1st; Leopard Cat (Paul Cawley up) places 2nd.

The trainer-rider team of Jimmy Day and Bryan Cullinane won four of the nine races carded at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue Farm on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle (first race) was a walkover, and the rest of the fields were sparse, but Day and Cullinane won over hurdles, over timber, and on the flat.

In the Maiden Hurdle, Cullinane took Charlie Fenwick’s Apollo Landing right out to the front and pulled away from Leopard Cat for the easy win.

Trainer Davies and Jockey Poretz Come Back Strong at Piedmont

Photos by Douglas Lees

piedmont19.maiden timber.leesMaiden Timber (l-r): #14, Flaming Sword (Aaron Sinnott up), winner; Some Response (Eric Poretz up) is seen above winner; #12, Holiday Mousse (Jacob Roberts up); #3, Le Aqua (Paul Cawley up), finishes third

The Piedmont Point-to-Point Races at Salem Racecourse on Saturday, March 23, 2019 got off to an interesting start in the first race, Maiden Timber. Some Response and jockey Eric Poretz, captured above (top center) in a disagreement at the first fence, ultimately parted company at the sixth fence. The horse did prove he could jump and do the distance, however. He took his own line over a four-foot-three-inch boundary fence, raced east on Route 50, through the village of Upperville, and was finally captured unharmed at the Hunter’s Head restaurant by huntsman Jordan Hicks and whipper-in Lissa Green, outriders. The trio were met by a police escort for the return trip to Salem, followed by jammed-up westbound traffic.

Warrenton Kicks Off Virginia Point-to-Point Season

Photos by Douglas Lees

 warrentonptp19.open hurdle.jpgOpen Hurdle race, Second Division: (l-r) Orchestra Leader, 15, (Keri Brion up) wins in the fastest time of both divisions. Storm Team is 4th and Special Skills finishes 3rd.

Hunt racing in Virginia opened on a beautiful spring day with the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point at Airlie on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Ten races were carded with the Open Hurdle and Maiden Hurdle races split into two well-filled divisions each.

Read Your Horse

expressive horseThis Douglas Lees photograph captures the huntsman’s horse expressing himself most clearly!

A horse walks into a bar.

“Why the long face?” asks the bartender.

Scientists at the University of Sussex must have heard that old joke and taken it seriously. They have discovered that horses are able to employ seventeen distinct facial expressions—three more than chimpanzees and one more than dogs. Humans, by way of comparison, are able to communicate their most subtle feelings by twenty-seven different facial expressions through our exceedingly dexterous facial musculature.

Three Tries, the Charm, for Field Hunter Champion

trfhc18.wittenborn.leesJohn Wittenborn and Soccer, representing the Smithtown Hunt (NY), win 2018 Theodora Randolph Field Hunter Championship in Virginia.

John Wittenborn and his fourteen-year-old Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross, Soccer, returned home to Long Island and the Smithtown Hunt with the Championship Trophy and ribbon from the Theodora Randolph 2018 Field Hunter Championship in Virginia. Three tries was the charm for Wittenborn and Soccer. Last year the pair made a good showing, placing third.

It was the first team from a northern hunt to have won the coveted prize in thirty-five years of competitions. And it was fitting; Mrs. Randolph was a northerner, though from Boston’s North Shore.