Because of COVID-19, cancellations and postponements have pretty much cleared the spring calendar. After Rappahannock and Warrenton races, the Virginia Point-to-point season came to a halt

Piedmont Fox Hounds cancelled their races and Hunter Pace on March 21; ditto, Orange County Hounds’ Hunter Pace Event and their races on March 28 and March 29. Old Dominion Hounds cancelled their races on April 4, but stay tuned because ODH might run September 12. Loudoun Hunt cancelled their races on April 12. 

Cancelled Hunter Pace Events include Old Dominion, April 5; Rappahannock, April 11; Blue Ridge Hunt, April 18; Warrenton, April 19, and Loudoun Fairfax Hunt, April 25.

Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-point on April 19 has rescheduled to September 19. Middleburg Hunt races at Glenwood Park on April 26 have been moved to Sunday, June 7.

On the National Steeplechase Association’s calendar, great thought has been given to new dates for sanctioned meets such as Foxfield Spring Races moving from April 25 to June 13. Middleburg Spring Races are now Saturday, May 30. The Virginia Gold Cup Races are set to run on Saturday, June 20. Check NSA’s calendar for other cancellations on the spring circuit.

The Upperville Colt & Horse Show, June 1-7, and Loudoun Benefit Horse Show, June 10-14, are looking for alternative dates this fall for both shows. Middleburg Classic and Piedmont Jumper Classic have offered their September 14-20 dates to Upperville. However, UCHA and Loudoun Benefit share expenses, so they’re interested in rescheduling when they can run consecutively for two weeks. 

As for 3-day Eventing, the USEA suspended all sanctioned events from March 16-30, and US Equestrian has recommended that all events be suspended through mid-April. Virginia events that have been cancelled include Morven Park Spring Horse Trials (March 28-29), CDCTA Spring Horse Trials (April 5 in Berryville), Fair Hill International (April 110-12 in Elkton, Md.), and the Land Rover Kentucky 3-Day Event April 26-30 in Lexington, KY, to name a few.

Visit EventingNation.com and look for Rolling Updates, top of home page under Top Stories. Rolling Updates include Eventing, and several other sports and disciplines. Plus cancellations from other nations, including British Eventing’s Badminton Horse Trials, May 6-10.

For more information about cancellations, etc:

CentralEntryOffice.com

NationalSteeplechase.org

EventingNation.com

Temple Gwathney Steeplechase Foundation: TGSteeplechasefoundation.org

As for Great Meadow, the Virginia Gold Cup Races have been postponed to June 20. That evening, Twilight Polo is cancelled and will be made up on September 19. Great Meadow also expressed hope to kick off Twilight Polo as scheduled on May 23.

Visit greatmeadow,org for COVID-19 updates and information about Great Meadow’s incredible schedule of events, such as their Fourth of July Celebration, Twilight Jumpers, American Rocketry Challenge, and Mars Great Meadow International, etc. It’s a great place to walk your dog or get fresh air, and the views will lift your spirits. See COVID-19 update for information about visiting.

Good News for the finish:

March 7 saw a great start to the 2020 steeplechasing season with the revival of the Rappahannock Hunt Point-to-point at their brand new course just north of Culpeper at The Hill Farm, a spectacular Rappahannock fixture, owned by Larry Levy. Entries were good for being the season opener as well as the debit of the new racing venue. A bright, breezy day welcomed a good turnout of spectators who enjoyed great views of the action.

It was a great family day at Rappahannock for two sisters, both trainers from Pennsylvania, who won all three timber races.  First off, Katherine S. Neilson saddled Armata Stables’ Highway Prince to win the Maiden Timber, Next, she sent out a winner for Irvin Naylor when Skyler McKenna piloted Withoutmoreado in the Ladies Timber. Then, Sanna P. Neilson wrapped up the hat trick when her son Parker Hendriks piloted Sanna’s own Lawn Ranger to a decisive five-length victory in the Amateur and Novice Rider Timber, her sister Kathy’s runner finishing second.   

The following Saturday, blessed with good weather for racing, the verdict about the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-point’s 76th running of their historic races: one of the best days of racing at the Airlie course that enthusiasts have seen in years. The eleven races were pretty much full and even the ones with fewer entries provided plenty of excitement.

The Nielsons were back with different runners and, again, did well in their contingent of horsepeople from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Hall of Fame Trainer Jonathan Sheppard owns two of the hurdle horses in his string: both won. He saddled a number of hurdle and flat horses, who seemed enjoy a good pipe opener. Sheppard’s a legend in the making, with a lifetime of success, races won and money won, prepping Thoroughbreds for the stakes races at flat tracks as well as NSA hurdles.

Locals harvested two wins. In the second race, the Amateur/Novice Hurdle, Doug Fout trained Be Somebody, ridden by Sophie Henelius to her first win, a 3-length victory in a competitive field of eight from trainers such as Sheppard, both Neilsons, etc.

There’s got to be a story behind Jazz Napravnik scoring her own version of a hat trick: trainer, owner/Flying Horse Farm, jockey for the Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle on Jesse O, who finished last with kudos for getting the job done. 

In the Open Timber, Richard Valentine trained Kinross Farm’s Just Wait and See, ridden by Chris Gracie and the duo put on the gas at the end of the 3 miles to finish on top by a comfortable lead of eight lengths.

There’s plenty online to keep enthusiasts happy. Check out racing recaps and other news in Temple Gwathney’s newsletters. Central Entry Office is always a treasure trove of information and statistics, results, records, standings, calendar, photos. Explore the NSA site, another great source of news, stories, and more than 500 archived race videos — bet you can’t watch just one…

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