Keri Brion rode S. Bruce Smart’s Orchestra Leader, trained by Jimmy Day, to win the $30,000 Allowance Optional Claiming Hurdle at High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., on May 21.
“They let me get an easy lead, until about three fences from home” said Brion. “I had never ridden at High Hope and I made a mistake. I let Ross Geraghty up my inside at the second from last, but Orchestra Leader took off when he saw the other horse. He out jumped him.”
“I had a claim of foul against me,” said Brion. “But when they looked at the film, it was Ross, who was hitting his horse left handed, who drifted into my horse.”
Orchestra Leader won by ½ length over Irvin Naylor’s Jack Frost (GB), trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Jack Doyle, with Swansea Mile, owned by Rosbrian Farm, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Geraghty, third.
This was Brion’s third win on Orchestra Leader following wins at Foxfield Fall last year and Foxfield Spring this year, but Hendriks and George Mahoney claimed the horse at High Hope.
Hendriks saddled Rosbrian Farm’s Winter House (GB), ridden by Geraghty, to win the $25,000 Maiden Hurdle by 3 ½ lengths over Price-Richardson Stable’s Indigo Heart, trained by Arch Kingsley and ridden by Willie McCarthy.
“I bought him at Doncaster Sales for George Mahoney,” said Hendriks. “This was his third start over fences. He’d run on the flat in England. He won a nice flat race at Aiken earlier this spring, then at Charleston he finished mid-pack and was fourth at Foxfield.”
Hendriks also saddled Morning Star Farm’s Needle in the Hay to finish second by ½ length under Geraghty to Thistledown Farm’s Indy’s Legacy, trained by Desmond Fogarty and ridden by Willie McCarthy, in the $20,000 Ratings Handicap Hurdle.
“Needle ran very well,” said Hendriks. “I was delighted with him.”
Check Mark Stable’s Mr. Lickety, trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Doyle, won the $15,000 Jay Trump Timber by 13 ¾ lengths over Mrs. S.K. Johnston’s Dye Fore, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Sean McDermott.