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Irish-Breds Dominate at Rappahannock Point-to-Point

rappahannockptp.larry levy Point-to-Point host Larry Levy in the paddock for the first race over his new racecourse at The Hill with jockey Emme Fullilove. Levy’s Easy Exit reached  the wire for a third place finish...preceded by two Irish-breds!  /  Douglas Lees photo

Saturday, March 7, 2020 marked the return of the Rappahannock Point-to-Point Races to the spring schedule after a twelve-year absence. Larry Levy had a brand new racecourse ready for entries at The Hill in Boston, Virginia, and, except for the two-horse Lady Rider Timber race, all races were well filled.

Of six races, Irish-bred horses won five! And in two of those races they finished one-two. In the First Division of the six-horse Open Flat race, Irish-breds placed first through fourth. Just saying.

A Bluebird Day for Racing at Blue Ridge

brhptp20.maide hurdle1Maiden Hurdle, Div 1: (l-r) Noble Weed (Sean McDermott up), 3rd; All Out Of Aces (Graham Watters up), 1st  /   Douglas Lees photo

Saturday, September 19, 2020 was a bluebird day indeed for horses, horsemen, and spectators to be racing, riding, and cheering at Blue Ridge Hunt’s postponed spring point-to-point. Except the latter—the spectators— were sadly absent.

The ground was hard, but the ancient thatch of grass on the Woodley racecourse provides a thick natural cushion for horses. Nine races were run: hurdles, flat, then timber. Of the nine races, trainer Neil Morris entries won three—Maiden Hurdle, Open Hurdle, and Novice Rider Flat.

Entries are Well-Filled at Old Dominion Point-to-Point

odh20.maiden hurdle 1Maiden Hurdle, Division 1: Last fence (l-r) He'll Do (Parker Hendriks up), 2nd; You're No Better (Archie Macauley up), 1st.   /   Douglas Lees photo

With the 2020 events calendar at sixes and sevens for sporting events worldwide, Old Dominion Hounds’ annual Point-to-Point Races at Ben Venue came off on September 12th in the fall of the year rather than in the spring. The good news that some point-to-points are coming off at all is testament to the fact that we are trying to learn how to co-exist with a new reality. Not ideally, to be sure, but we are testing boundaries and, hopefully, learning what works and not what doesn’t.

The fact that most of the ten races on the day’s card were well-filled with entries demonstrates a heartfelt desire for a return to normalcy, but the many horses pulled up during the course of so many of the jump races also demonstrates the training difficulties encountered this year.

Orchestra Leader Resumes Winning Habits at Warrenton

warrenton20.open hurdleOpen Hurdle Race: (l-r) Praeceps (Alex Leventhal up) 4th; Orchestra Leader (Mell Boucher up) 1st; Noah And The Ark (Eddie Keating up) 2nd / Douglas Lees photo

Eleven-year-old Orchestra Leader, a grandson of Seattle Slew on the distaff side, has been winning Open Hurdle races for at least five years. Owned in his earlier racing days by the late Bruce Smart and trained by Jimmy Day, the brown gelding now races for Team Ollie, is trained by Lilith Boucher, and was ridden to the wire by Mell Boucher at the Warrenton Point-to-Point on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Orchestra Leader was the Leading Hurdle Horse in 2018 and won this same race over the same Airlie racecourse last year.