Good Friday

Time is ticking to race day. The Virginia Gold Cup. The big one around here. A behemoth nine-race card on the docket. The Commonwealth Cup, a Grade 1 hurdle stakes added this year and the Virginia Gold Cup, a 4-mile, 23-fence classic anchor the day. Seven other races for all divisions. Epic card.

Riverdee has two in the former and one in the latter. The races were put on the calendar months ago, when Include It was jogging hills, legging up after an injury knocked him off the ride in 2022. A win and a second this spring ticked the most recent boxes. Our first runner, ever, in the Virginia Gold Cup. The timber game is the long game and we’re just beginning to have more timber horses. Include It was a hurdle prospect five years ago, now he’s one of five entries in a $75,000 timber stakes. A two-year layoff back there somewhere. Patient owners. That’s the long game.

Awakened and Gordon’s Jet take their places in the Commonwealth Cup. We entered Cool Jet but scratched him, the two-week recovery from a crashing fall proved to not be in his best interest. I was a bit relieved to not be running, to be fair.

We penciled in the 2 1/8-mile stakes for Awakened in the embryonic stages of hearing about the race. Temple Gwathmey and then here. Makes sense, especially when Snap Decision goes to the Iroquois. Gordon’s Jet always had this as a possibility. He was second in a version of this last year. He still has something to find at this level. Cool horse. Tough race.

Four others on the day. Tiz A Giant trying to take the next step up the ladder in a deep allowance race. World Factor, King Tsunami and Penicillin Success taking their places in three divisions of a maiden starter. Three divisions of a maiden starter? That’s never happened before. Thanks to the NSA, the VGC and the SOTA condition-book subcommittee for that one. If you wonder about paying into the Sport of Kings Fund, well, here’s why.

Off to ride a horse, pick up passes, handicap the card, hit the ATM…