THE PLAINS, Va.--Richard Valentine saddled the winners of two races, including the G2, $75,000 David Semmes Memorial Hurdle Stakes, at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 5.
Magalen O. Bryant's Personal Start, ridden by Barry Foley, won the Hurdle Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths over Virginia Lazenby Racing's Hardrock Eleven, trained by Kate Dalton and riden by Bernie Dalton, and Check Mark Stables LLC's Willow U, ridden by Shane Crimin, won the $45,000 Allowance Hurdle by 1 length over Irvin S. Naylor's Deficit (Ire), trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Graham Watters.
Personal Start is a homebred of Mrs. Bryant's," said Valentine. "I've had him since he was a 4-year-old. He won an allowance last fall at Great Meadow, he won a stakes at the Carolina Cup this spring and now he's won his first graded stakes," said Valentine. "This was his third win in a row. He's improving with age. He's a 7-year-old now."
"He's a very nice horse," said Valentine. "He's very forward galloping. We spend a lot of time getting him to relax. He takes a strong rider."
"WE CLAIMED Willow U in Saratoga," said Valentine. "She's won two or three flat races and she's had three jump wins. "She's a lovely mare."
"She was injured in the Carolina Cup last year," said Valentine. "She damaged her right front tendon. The owners took her back to rehabilitate her, and we got her back in January. This was her first race since the Carolina Cup last year. She got in at a very good weight, so this was a good place for her to start, and it was a very good purse."
Sara E. Collette's Zanclus, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Kiernan Norris, won the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths over Michael A. Smith's Le Chevalier, trained by Julie Gomena and ridden by Jack Doyle, with Naylor's Super Saturday, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, finishing third.
Andi'ami (Fr), owned by Ballybristol Farm LLC, trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Jack Doyle, won the $40,000 Steeplethon Timber Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths over Happenstance & Harry's Boogie Biz, trained and ridden by Mark Beecher.
This is Ani'ami's second win in a Steeplethon.
Cyril Murphy saddled Naylor's Warp Factor (Ire), ridden by Darren Nagle, to win the $40,000 Maiden Hurdle by 1/2 length over Set to Music, owned by Mrs. S.K. Johnson, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan.
The $50,000 Flat Stakes was won by Merriebelle Stable LLC's Renown, trained by Elizabeth Voss and ridden by Jack Doyle, while Ricky Hendriks saddled Rosbrian Farm's Sixty Five (Fr), ridden by Michael Mitchell to win the $40,000 Allowance Flat and Morris saddled Collette's Eryx, ridden by Norris, to win the $35,000 Virginia Bred or Sired Flat race.