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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.

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.

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.

How Randy Rouse’s National Fence Saved Steeplechasing

brh18.maiden hurdle.maisanoSteeplechase horses swish through the man-made national fences routinely at most hurdle races around the country today. Brush fences were once expensive and time-consuming to set up, and racetracks were dropping steeplechase races from their cards.  /  Joanne Maisano photoIt was autumn of 1973, and the world was in turmoil. U.S. forces were pulling out of Vietnam, the Watergate scandal was rocking the nation, and a looming energy crisis was getting global traction.

The steeplechase circuit, too, was in a state of flux. The year before, the bottom had fallen out of the industry. New York basically kicked out the jumpers and went from eighty-three jump races at Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga in 1970 to fifteen in 1973. And those were at Saratoga only.

Senior Senator Retires Maryland's Grand National Challenge Cup

Photos by Douglas Lees

senor senator.gns2Senior Senator (Eric Poretz up) and challenger Monstaleur (Forrest Kelley up) at the last fence.Potomac MFH Skip Crawford’s Senior Senator won his third straight Grand National Point-to-Point—a three-and-a-quarter mile race over timber in Butler, Maryland—in a dominant finish to retire the challenge cup. The horse also has two legs up on the Maryland Hunt Cup and will be gunning to retire that trophy next Saturday in Glyndon.