Nine Strong Weekend

Spring has sprung.

Book the baseball tickets. Till the garden. Stow the wool. And get back to the races. Riverdee unleashes nine horses from four stables at three meets this weekend. Camden to Cheshire to Cockeysville.

Snow Geese accounts for our first NSA starter of the season. Based in Camden with Bernie and Kate Dalton, the 4-year-old takes on five rivals in the C.P. and Edith Willis DuBose Cup at the Carolina Cup. Presented by Brown Advisory, the $30,000 maiden attracted a small but tough field, including Clancy Bloodstock’s purchase St. John’s.

Owned by Riverdee and Joseph Fowler, Snow Geese made his career debut at Shawan Downs in September, finishing third and backed that up with another promising third to close the season at Charleston.

“We were happy with his races last year, especially for an inexperienced horse,” Kate Dalton said. “He’s doing well, doing everything right. He seems to have matured but he’s still growing, still needs to put on another 50-75 pounds. He’s not there yet. He’s had a couple of good schools, including one with Haint Blue two weeks ago.”

Haint Blue won her debut at Aiken last weekend.

Post time is 2:40.

You can watch all the races from the Carolina Cup at https://nationalsteeplechase.com/live-streaming/

Sunday.

Include It returns to the races for the first time since 2022. Still riding a three-race win streak (five if you include point-to-points), the 9-year-old clashes with four rivals in the Louis Neilson III Memorial. Sponsored by Don Cochran, the $15,000 timber race offers an opportunity to five apprentice jockeys. Paddy Neilson would have liked that.

Read Sean’s tribute to Neilson. https://thisishorseracing.com/opinion/the-inside-rail-by-sean-clancy/paddy-neilson-2/

Elizabeth Scully reunites with Include It for Todd and Blair Wyatt. Scully partnered the Maryland-bred son of Include to victories in 2022 and has been partnering him in the hunt field all winter. They flitted around the Foxhall Farm Cup Team Chase two weeks ago and should be set for the 3-mile test.

“I’m happy with him, he’s ready to get back to the races, but this is just the start of the season,” trainer Todd Wyatt said. “He’s fit enough and ready to run but we’ve got bigger things down the road. This hopefully will push him forward to those goals. We’ve been patient and thankfully the partners have been patient and we’re excited to get him back going. Good, competitive race.”

Post time is 12:30. Sunday. You can watch the races from Cheshire at https://nationalsteeplechase.com/live-streaming/

As for the other meet Sunday. We’ll be busy.

The Green Spring Valley Hunt Point-to-Point at Shawan Downs will host seven Riverdee runners. I don’t think we’ve ever run seven horses in a day.

Potus makes his timber debut in the Daniel Baugh Brewster Memorial. The two-time hurdle winner has hunted all winter, cruised around the Foxhall Farm Cup Team Chase and should be ready for his maiden voyage. Trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Whitney Schweizer, the 6-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid faces five rivals, including stablemates Ping Pong Champ (Clancy Bloodstock) and Presence Of Mind.

As we’ve said before, you can’t win at the point-to-points but you sure can lose at the point-to-points. We’re looking for a good, safe introduction to timber so we can move onto bigger things down the road. If all goes well, Potus could go to the maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor April 13 or the maiden timber at Foxfield April 27.

Post time is 1:00.

Queens Empire returns for his second season of timber racing for Fisher and Schweizer. The son of Empire Maker hasn’t missed a check in 15 steeplechase starts, including five over timber last season. The 7-year-old joins three others in the Kiplin Farm Bowl, an apprentice timber race going 3 miles. Same as Potus, a decent performance here could set up Queens Empire for the Manor as well. And yes, he has a nomination to the Maryland Hunt Cup but we’re trying to not think about that.

Post time is 2:00.

Two-time stakes winner Cool Jet begins his first season out of the novice division with a start in the Caves Farm Amateur Flat. Schweizer takes the call for Fisher. Cool Jet faces a tough field that includes hurdle stakes performer Jimmy P, two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner Vintage Vinnie and timber stakes winner Cracker Factory. All are going for preps here. Just knock off some rust, open the windpipes and secure the fitness. That’s it. If all goes well, Cool Jet will go to the Temple Gwathmey at Middleburg April 20.

Post time is 2:45.

Zabeel Champion begins his season in the Stoneworth Farm Training Flat at Green Spring. The two-time stakes winner from 2023 makes his first start in the dark blue, light blue and red cap. Purchased this winter after wins in the Appleton and Noel Laing, the 7-year-old is pointing to the Temple Gwathmey and the Iroquois May 11. Apprentice Ben Sullivan, who works for Jack Fisher, will do the steering.


Post time is 3:20.

A race later, Rocket One and Pietrelcina line up in the second division of the Stoneworth Farm.

Owned by Riverdee and Ten Strike Racing, Rocket One won twice last year and will use this as his launch to the Tryon hurdle feature April 13. With wins at Colonial Downs and Shawan Downs last year, the son of Into Mischief could climb the ladder into the novice stakes division this spring/summer. Two-time champion jockey Graham Watters will ride for Jack Fisher.

Pietrelcina makes his debut for RIverdee and trainer Danielle Hodsdon. The Maryland-bred hit the board on the turf for Graham Motion last season and will use this as a prep to return to the Maryland ovals to try to graduate on the grass. The rider is to be determined.

Post time is 3:55. 

Awakened completes the nine-prong weekend attack in the third division of the Stoneworth Farm. Owned by Riverdee and Ten Strike, the Grade 1 stakes winner returns for his third season over hurdles for Jack Fisher. Tom Garner, aboard for the Grade 1 Jonathan Sheppard last summer, takes the return call.

Post time is 4:30.

Fisher summed up Sunday’s goal for all the horses.

“At the point-to-points, we don’t care where we finish, we’re just looking for good, safe trips for all the horses. Get them off the farm, get a blow and see where we are as far fitness. This has been my approach for a long time. Green Spring has served as a launching pad to a lot of horses over the years,” Fisher said. “Some we’re trying to learn something about, others we know all about and just need to get started. Again, nothing to be won, just a day out, a tightener for bigger and better things ahead. It’s also a great for the riders, they’ve been working hard all winter and it’s fun to give them opportunities in the afternoon.”

It sounds as though they’re working on providing live streaming. I’ll try to let you know about that. You can check at https://gsvhounds.com/point-to-point/

• Riverdee has shares available in new and established horses, including stakes winner Serifos, promising 3-year-old filly Lorraine and proven performers Cool Jet and Gordon’s Jet.

• For picks and preview, the intrepid TIHR Handicappers are back with all their tips and takes. https://thisishorseracing.com/news/picks-preview-for-carolina-cup-etc/

• The Saturday Special has all the Saturday action in one place. Read, download, print, put it in your pocket. Most of all enjoy a packed Saturday card from Meydan to Camden, Chantilly to Charles Town.

We’ll check in with you over the weekend with the Riverdee results.