The spring Point-to-Point season got under way March 16th at the Airlie Resort, which played host to the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point Races on a delightful spring afternoon.
Ten races were contested including a side saddle race and a Virginia-bred or sired flat event. It also marked the debut of the Virginia Equine Alliance’s “Point-to-Points Pay” starter reward bonus program.
Any horse that starts in a flat, hurdle or timber race which is owned by a Virginian or trained by a Virginian will receive $200 per start. It’s an effort to increase participation and build field size at these events.
The program appears to be off to a great start after the first weekend. A total of 30 awards totaling $6,000 were distributed to owners who had horses participating. Beverly Steinman collected six of them courtesy of her Doug Fout trained entrants. Kincross Farm bagged a trio of starter rewards and in all, 20 different owners were recipients.
“The VEA recognizes that the Point to Point circuits are a vital element of steeplechase racing and we want to do everything we can to promote and support the Point to Points in Virginia,” said VEA Executive Director Jeb Hannum. “They are an important first step for many horses and they give young riders an opportunity before going to the sanctioned meets.”
The new initiative will continue with the Piedmont Hounds Point-to-Point Races March 23rd in Upperville, and at every weekend event through April including the Orange County, Old Dominion Hounds, Loudon Hunt, Blue Ridge Hunt and Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Points.
Donna Rogers owned Dapper Dan captured the Warrenton Hunt’s $2,000 Virginia-bred or sired flat race on Saturday. The 7 year old Pleasantly Perfect gelding wired the field in a 1 1/8 miles test and crossed in 2:08 2/5 over a soft turf. The winner, who entered the race with over $95,000 in earnings, was ridden by Jacob Roberts. He is trained by Neil Morris and was bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone.
The Side Saddle Chase Cup was won by Gun Lobby and rider Julie Nafe, who battled King of Hearts and rider Devon Zebrovious.
Photos are courtesy of Douglas Lees.