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Rising star Abaan takes biggest prize on busy weekend


Abaan (#1) and The Hero Next Door (#2) © Tod Marks

By Tod Marks

Eleven races worth $270,000 were up for grabs throughout the only triple header of the spring, with an approximated 40,000 fans on hand for the 89th running of the Carolina Cup Races.

Only 4 horses went postward in the $75,000 Carolina Cup newbie stakes at Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C., however the race itself was anything however ho-hum. Michael Smith’s The Hero Next Door, under Jamie Bargary, presumed the lead from the break, with Bruton Street-United States’ Neotropic, Hudson River Farms’ L’Imperator, and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Daigneault Thoroughbreds’ Abaan following leisurely behind.

There was no considerable modification in the running order as the quartet swung into the stretch the very first time around the course, as just about 3 lengths separated them from front to back.

With three-quarters of a mile to go, L’Imperator, under Parker Hendriks, edged into 2nd. The Hero Next Door was still 3 lengths ahead with 2 dives left. And that’s when Abaan and jockey Bernie Dalton made their transfer to the beyond the leader.

Nearing the last fence, The Hero Next Door kept a narrow benefit along the inner rail, and after the set increased and over the 10th and last obstacle, the fight was on. It was still anybody’s race through Springdale’s long stretch, however with around 100 backyards to the wire, Dalton guided Abaan further to the outdoors, taking charge and drawing clear by 2 1/4 length, waving his outstretched fist as he crossed the goal.

A several stakes winner on the flat and over dives of more than a half-million dollars, Abaan is the child of 2013 Travers winner Will Take Charge. He came off the flat (where he was trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher) late last summertime, breaking his maiden at Colonial Downs in Virginia. In his next start, he surpassed The Hero Next Door, trained by Leslie Young, to record the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle stakes by 3 lengths at Far Hills in October.

Abaan’s success was a popular one with the home town crowd, approximated at 40,000 by Executive Race Director Toby Edwards, as Dalton and his other half, fitness instructor Kate Dalton, are residents, and the neighborhood commemorated with the couple and their connections. Last year’s newbie champ, L’Imperator, made a belated go to end up close behind The Hero Next Door for Camden-based conditioner Arch Kingsley.

Here’s how the rest of the card played out:

Sherkali takes first claimer opener

Hurricana Farm’s Sherkali, making his very first start in over a year, was rested and prepared to enter the opener, a $30,000 first declaring obstacle.

With Parker Hendriks riding for Arch Kingsley, the Irish-reproduced 8-year-old stalked Ice Bar in the field of eight for much of the going, took the lead at the 6th fence, and drove away a prolonged difficulty from Gill Johnston and Sharon Sheppard’s King of Tsavo (Jamie Bargary) to edge clear by 2 lengths. It was far back to R and K Racing’s Bless Bless in 3rd.

“Lightning” strikes in $30,000 Dale Thiel maiden obstacle

Owner Clarke Ohrstrom and fitness instructor Laird George partnered with jockey Gerard Galligan to craft a narrow come-from-behind success in the 2nd race with Lightning Rod.

For the six-year-old Maryland-reproduced child of Bellamy Road, it was simply his 3rd start over obstacles following 13 tries out the flat, and his very first journey to the post because November 2022.

Galligan beinged in midpack for the majority of the journey, with Mark Buyck’s Memento and Joseph Fowler’s Southpaw Mike revealing the method. With about three-quarters of a mile to go, the field tightened up, with simply 8 lengths separating the runners from front to back. Nearing the last fence, Galligan moved Lightning Rod into contention and from there the race was on, with the winner extending his cause about a length over Memento (Parker Hendriks). Upland Flats Racing’s Hidden Path (Harry Beswick) got up for the program area.

Feeling Festive offers Kingsley, Hendriks a double on the day

Richard Colton’s Feeling Festive, a gently raced Irish-reproduced point-to-pointer, made his NSA launching a winning one with a hard-fought rating over Riverdee Stable and Joe Fowler’s Snow Geese in the $30,000 DuBose Cup maiden obstacle.

With Parker Hendriks once again riding for Arch Kingsley, the five-year-old child of Shantou shadowed Gill Johnston’s Irelands Call for much of the contest then engaged Snow Geese (Bernie Dalton), who asserted himself with 2 fences to go.

Festive Feeling stayed somewhat behind Snow Geese at the last fence, ultimately surpassing his opponent to rating by a half length.

For Hendriks and Kingsley it was their 2nd success in the very first 3 races on the card. Hendriks nearly made it 3 in a row, however fell a length except Lightning Rod in the Dale Thiel maiden.

Tease and Seize squashes field in handicap

Jockey Gerard Galligan signed up with fellow riders Bernie Dalton and Parker Hendriks in doubling on the Carolina Cup card with a blowout success aboard Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Tease and Seize in the $30,000 Kirkover-Woodward Cup handicap for horses ranked at 115 or less.

Coming off of 3 straight in-the-money surfaces (an initially, 2nd, and 3rd) in 110 and 115 handicap business in 2023, the French-reproduced six-year-old child of Motivator, trained by Richard Valentine, dragged the rate set by KMSN Stable’s Lightning Ridge. Lightning Ridge, who was making his seasonal bow following an astonishing success on the Alston Cup stakes for three-year-olds at Charleston last November, kept a clear benefit under Graham Watters as Tease and Seize slowly moved into contention.

With 2 fences to go, Lightning Ridge was still on the top by a length or two, with Tease and Seize in close pursuit and the rest of the field far behind. Turning into the stretch, Tease and Seize all of a sudden sped up and dove previous Lightning Ridge, opening by about 10 lengths at the last dive and expanding his cause almost 20 at the wire. Neil Morris’ Dante’s Fire, under Harry Beswick, got up for 2nd.

China Beach take flat ending

Making his very first NSA look after 25 tries out the flat, St Rita Racing’s China Beach provided jockey Bernie Dalton his riding double with a facile rating in the Camden Plate, a 1 1/2-mile training race over Springdale’s flat grass course.

Trained by Tennessee-based Ted Thompson, the six-year-old Florida-reproduced child of Treasure Beach was among 4 competitors prepping for future chances. The field stayed relatively close together for much of the running. After some jockeying for position, Atlantic Friends Racing’s Our Boy Wes, who was 2nd in his U.S. launching in the Gladstone three-year-old stakes at Far Hills in October, and Jacqueline Ohrstom’s Blue Nile connected on the lead with China Beach and Greg Hawkins’ Camcha in close pursuit.

Dalton made his relocation aboard China Beach with about three-eighths of a mile to go, diving to the lead and stepping clear quickly by about 4 lengths. Our Boy Wes was 2nd under Teddy Davies.

And at Blue Ridge and Cheshire

Also on Saturday, about 450 miles north of Camden in Berryville, Va., the 75th running of the Blue Ridge Hounds Point to Point included a set of NSA approved $15,000 races limited to amateur or apprentice riders and available to horses who hadn’t won a stakes race in 2023. In the very first race at 2 miles over obstacles, jockey Dan Nevin had his very first install because piloting Vintage Vinnie to a third-place surface in the 2023 Maryland Hunt Cup, and was triumphant aboard Daniel Baker’s Decisive Triumph for fitness instructor Mark Beecher. Decisive Triumph stalked Hickory Made Stables and Celtic Venture Stable’s Eye of Gunfighter (Virginia Korrell), circled around the pacesetter on the last bend and drew clear by 4 lengths. Armata Stable’s Imperial Assassin was a half length back in 3rd.

In the 2nd occasion, at 3 miles over lumber, Andy Burke Ott piloted Upland Partners’ Bob’s Bar to an 11 ½-length tally over Fat Chance Farm’s Salamanca School (Freddie Procter) for fitness instructor Todd McKenna. The eight-year-old Irish-reproduced, who broke his maiden over lumber at Winterthur last May following a European project, settled in 3rd for the very first circuit, took the lead with a half-mile to go, and drained conveniently. Salamanca School, the pacesetter, took the location area, a number of lengths clear of Chaser Dream Stables’ Eryx under Evan Dwan.

On Sunday, 3 approved 3-mile lumber occasions were on tap in Unionville, Pa., for the 77th Cheshire Races at Plantation Field.

In the $20,000 open lumber race at 3 miles, Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ 10-year-old veteran Court Ruler, ridden by Freddie Procter, made it 4 triumphes in his last 6 starts going back to 2022, with a 22-length, wire-to-wire romp over Charlie Fenwick’s 10-year-old Royal Ruse (Parker Hendriks). The latter was coming off of a triumph in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup last November. Armata Stable’s Fashion Line (Gerard Galligan) was 3rd. Leslie Young trained the winner.

In the $15,000 contest for non-stakes winners in 2023 and limited to apprentice riders, Riverdee Stable’s Include It, a Maryland-reproduced nine-year-old, made it 4 straight triumphes going back to 2021. Under a well-timed trip by Elizabeth Scully, Include It born down the far turn and closed well to surpass and draw clear of Nancy Reed’s Awesome Adrian (Conor Tierney) by 4 lengths. Armata Stable’s Chosen Mate was a far-off 3rd. Todd Wyatt trained the winner.

Keystone Thoroughbreds’ Hard Strike liquidated the day with a win in a $15,000 maiden lumber occasion for owner-trainer Todd McKenna and jockey Harry Beswick – both of Noah and the Ark popularity.  For the six-year-old Kentucky-reproduced child of Hard Spun it was his very first journey to the NSA winner’s circle. Beswick settled his install in the early going, moved into contention throughout the 2nd mile, then released his quote in the stretch before retreating by about 5 lengths. A familiar face over obstacles, William Russell’s Animal Kingston, who nabbed the lead at the 2 ½-mile mark, was 2nd under Parker Hendriks; Daniel T. Doane’s Theda’s Boy (Brett Owings) was 3rd.



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