(Edited National Steeplechase Association press release)
Always well placed, Irvin Naylor’s Tax Ruling challenged front-running Slip Away before the next to last fence of the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois Steeplechase (NSA-I) May 8, took the lead before the last, and drew clear to a 4 3/4-length victory in the 69th running of the race at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn.
Ridden by Darren Nagle, Tax Ruling refused to allow Slip Away pull away to a commanding advantage, as Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s gelding had in winning the Temple Gwathmey (NSA-I) at Middleburg, Va., April 17.
While Slip Away and jockey Paddy Young enjoyed a daylight lead for most of the Calvin Houghland Iroquois’ three miles over 18 National Fences, Tax Ruling and Nagle tracked them from the second position in a field of eight.
Nagle asked Tax Ruling to pick up the pace on the final turn, and they went after the leader in the stretch. Slip Away fought back after he was headed before the last fence, but Tax Ruling overpowered him in the race to the finish line as Nagle pressed the seven-year-oldDynaformer gelding to victory.
Slip Away held second, and Hudson River Farms’ Arcadius came on to take the third spot. Trained by Desmond Fogarty, Tax Ruling ran the three miles in 5:37 1/5 on firm turf, setting a course record.