By Norman Fine
Photos by Joanne Maisano
Maiden Hurdle (r-l): Number 1, Keoni (Woods Winants up) wins on a DQ; Number 3, Scrappy Warrior (Mike Woodson up) loses rider at the last fence.
Blue Ridge’s warm spring race day on Saturday, April 21, 2019 was a welcome change for those who hark back to those cold, blustery days on the Woodley hillside in early March when the races were formerly held.
In the first race of the day, Maiden Hurdle, trainer Michael Pearson saddled two strong horses, Keoni and Scrappy Warrior. With seasoned amateur jockey Woods Winants on Keoni and Mike Woodson on Scrappy Warrior, the Pearson team shared the pacesetting until the last fence when Scrappy Warrior stumbled and lost its rider. Racing to the stretch, Shannon Hill Farm’s All Out of Aces with 2018 leading jockey Barry Foley aboard grabbed the lead. Keoni battled back but All Out of Aces was first at the wire, then disqualified for cutting a pole and being off course. Keoni was declared the winner. Big E, ridden by Kieran Norris and trained by Julie Gomena placed second.