The $75,000 Georgia Cup (NSA-II) promises to be an uphill battle Saturday. The two-mile stakes is one of the shorter events on the National Steeplechase Association schedule, but the stretch is a rising slope that will provide a steeper test than the distance itself. Preemptive Strike, fifth on the 2004 money list, is ready to rise to the challenge.
Preemptive Strike figures to be the favorite in a race that includes graded stakes performers Barzulu and Snowball Flannagan as well as talented jumpers Understood, Raise A Storm, Najjm and Man O'Mystery.
Polaris Stable's Preemptive Strike brought home $130,688 last year. The 7-year-old was second in the top-tier Royal Chase (NSA-I) and Colonial Cup, and took three stakes in 2004. Since none of his wins came in NSA grade I events he avoids any serious weight penalty under the race's allowance conditions.
Preemptive Strike and Snowball Flannagan carry the high weight of 146 pounds, while the rest of the field will bear only four pounds less.
Preemptive Strike began his 2005 campaign with a third behind Sur La Tete and Hirapour in the Carolina Cup (NSA-III).