Courtesy of BILL GAMBLE
Turner Boone and Queen Bee came from Georgia for hunting and the races.
Genesee Valley Hunt
The Hunt is racing at its finest
Not so long ago we had three local race meets leading up to the Genesee Valley Hunt (Race Meet on the second Saturday in October. Their loss, most recently with last year’s 40th and final Schoolhouse Races at Gail McGuire’s, left a void. Nevertheless, the standard of racing appears not to have suffered, and even hit new heights.
Not only have the number of racing opportunities become less in this area, such is the case farther south in the heart of steeplechasing as well, which accounts for the increased entries in the National Steeplechase Association sanctioned races last weekend.
In the past, the GVH Race Meet shared the weekend with another meet in Virginia. Since it was not held this year, our local races benefitted, with some trainers discovering the glories of our Valley for the first time, which will probably not be the last, judging by their warm words about their experience.
Racing commenced with the Small Pony a quarter mile race for mounts 13.2 hands or less and riders who have not reached their 14th birthday. In a stirring finish, One Stinky Pony got his nose out in front at the wire under the enthusiastic urging of his owner jockey Katie Hindt, beating out Heather Moriarity and Monica in an effort that took three-fifths of a second off the 26.8 record set in 1976 by Aaron Donnan, father of this year’s winner of the Large Pony race.
Writing of which, Ingrid Donnan and Spicey once again claimed top prize in the half-mile Large Pony race, as they have since Ingrid moved up from the Small Pony category. In fact, the venerable 16 year old chestnut mare by Tingle Tern out of Cinnamon, pretty much owns this race, galloping home this year by a wide margin, as she has over the years with succeeding Kenney sisters and Ingrid’s older sister Gibson.
Katie Hindt had to settle for second this time with Under The Influence, while Paul Cripps and Claddagh’s Caisc Gasur came in third.
The one-mile Leif Heen Memorial Jr. Race for riders under 16 years old saw the clear leader get tipped off onto the turf more than half way home on a downhill stretch of the course.
Fortunately, the only damage was to her ego, but that’s how horses build character. This left the way clear for a much closer finish with Pepsi Smash and Kelsey Weiser beating out Lucky Buckets and Joe Thorne, while Color Me Shasta and Logan Ellis claiming the yellow “show” ribbon.
In the one-and-three-quarters mile Adult Pace Chase over fences, the riders must stay behind the pace horse (not an easy task for one rider this year) until after the final fence when the pace horse pulls aside and the race to the finish begins in earnest.
Gail McGuire’s Wee Highland Star had an easy repeat win this year with Janey Barrett in the irons, having had a foal in the interim. (For those unaware, horses have an 11 month gestation period.)
Erica Hutton piloted Mike McGowan’s Take Charge home in second, followed by Katherine Kenney on Steve Ashley’s Lady Glenora.
The afternoon races started off with the always well-filled third-mile Stockhorse Sprint for Western riders. Woogie and Danielle DeSain scored a repeat win, leading all the way, well ahead of Skipa Yo Beat with Kim Chappell, followed by Chance and Tommy Sanderson.
The first of the two NSA sanctioned races, the Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial for a $10,000 purse, gave the crowd their money’s worth with a stirring photo finish after running three miles over 16 timber fences.
Jockey Mark Beecher guided Daniel Baker’s Sky Count around the course in the lead throughout until Bug Eyed Willy with William Meister came up to challenge in the home stretch, briefly getting a nose in front, before Sky Count dug down and won on the nod. Foyle and Christopher Read led the rest of the field home.
The two-and-a-quarter mile Cross Country Plate on the flat (no fences) saw Run Darlin and Eric Poretz galloping home easily with a lot of horse left well ahead of Kristen Tanck on Spencerport followed by Cavanobles and Jim Watrous.
The half mile Heavy Horse Race is always good fun. It can be surprising how much speed some of these horses can show.
The winner was also the horse coming the farthest for the races, although Turner and Sally Boone from Georgia essentially came up for the foxhunting, with the Race Meet as an added bonus.
Although they both have draft-cross hunters, Turner’s wife insisted she ride her horse Queen Bee, as she was the faster of their mounts. In the “small world” category, the Boones met Marion and Travis Thorne while foxhunting in Montana. Second place went to Chris Patterson on I’ve Been Spotted, with Janey Barrett claiming third on her father John’s Samantha.
The featured three mile Genesee Valley Hunt Cup over timber for a $25,000 purse was another tight race with a stirring finish.
Jockey Mike Beecher scored his second win of the day aboard Rosbrian Farm’sMecklenburg, followed by Augustin Stables Radio Flyer with Darren Nagel, then Mary Motion on her Woodmont.
The Polo Pony Race sees competitors dashing and turning around a twisting course in front of the crowd before a final sprint where riders must hit a ball through the goal posts in order to win.
Anna Campbell and Sherikan shot smoothly for the win; however, Logan Ellis and Sam had to make a quick double-back for a second swing before getting the job done. Hannah Blaih and Blu came in third of the seven horse field.
The Oxbow 1 mile turf race gave jockey Mark Beecher the hat trick for his trip to the Valley as he guided William Meister’s Just Barely home for the win, followed by Jim Banker on Joseph Bucci’s Golden Wyatt, and Erica Hutton on her Millennium Pride.
The Root’s Tavern Plate novice timber race of three miles over modified timber fences was final race of the day.
Originally there were only two entries, both from outside the area, but one of them scratched after the other was already on the way here. In order to not have their trip be in vain, Terry Warburton offered to switch his ride on Tria Dove’s Swallow Creek from the morning’s Adult Pace Chase.
Move Up Stables’ Written Approval with Roddy McKenzie had a worthy opponent for their race as the two horses ran smoothly together without holding back. In a hotly contested drive to the finish, Written Approval came out on top, and the oral approval summed up the sentiments of all for a fine day of racing.
Sunday, October 21 – Genesee Valley Hunt Fall Hunter Pace, rain or shine, 4 divisions: Fast Time, Adult Optimum Time, Junior Optimum Time, and Hilltopper. Fast Time starts between 9 – 10 a.m., others from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Park on Roots Tavern Road west of the GVH kennels. $25 pre entry; $30 post entry. For more information contact Erica Hutton at 585-354-7229 or huttendvm03@hotmail .com or Marion Thorne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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