Edited press release
The National Steeplechase Association's 2006 season begins March 5 with the sixth annual Little Everglades Steeplechase in Dade City, Fla. The meet cards six races (four over hurdles and two on the flat) including the $35,000 Little Everglades Stakes.
The feature, an open stakes at 2 1/8 miles, has seven entries including horses from South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
"It's a good sign to see seven horses ready to run in a stakes right out of the box," said Bill Gallo, the NSA director of racing. "Because it's early and trainers get held up by weather sometimes, we are happy with the entries and ready for a great start to the season."
Erin Go Bragh, a stakes winner in 2005, is the favorite. The New Zealand import won the Appleton Memorial at Far Hills in October and then ran third behind McDynamo and Hirapour in the Colonial Cup (gr. I) in November.
"Erin's going to be asked to step up a bit this year, but I think he can do it," said trainer Doug Fout. "He ran very well in the Colonial Cup last fall."
The others in the field are: Meadow, Say What You See, Orchid Princess, Desert Swing, Class Sprite, and Mulahen.
Little Everglades also cards a $20,000 allowance hurdle, two $15,000 maiden hurdle races, a $10,000 Florida-bred flat race, and a training flat race for amateur jockeys. Post time is 1 p.m.
The NSA's spring calendar includes 21 stops and purses in excess of $2.3 million with racing in 10 states through May 27.
2006 NSA SPRING SCHEDULE
March 5, Little Everglades Steeplechase; Dade City, Fla.
March 25, Aiken Steeplechase; Aiken, S.C.
April 1, Carolina Cup Steeplechase; Camden, S.C.
April 8, Stoneybrook Steeplechase; Southern Pines, N.C.
April 15, Atlanta Steeplechase; Rome, Ga.
April 15, My Lady's Manor Races; Monkton, Md.
April 15, Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs; New Kent, Va.
April 21, Keeneland; Lexington
April 22, Block House Races; Tryon, N.C.
April 22, Grand National Races; Butler, Md.
April 22, Middleburg Spring Races; Middleburg, Va.
April 29, Foxfield Races; Charlottesville, Va.
April 29, Maryland Hunt Cup; Glyndon, Md.
April 29, Queen's Cup Steeplechase; Mineral Springs, N.C.
May 6, Virginia Gold Cup Races; Warrenton, Va.
May 7, Winterthur Steeplechase; Wilmington, Del.
May 13, Iroquois Steeplechase; Nashville, Tenn.
May 14, Willowdale Steeplechase; Kennett Square, Pa.
May 20, Radnor Hunt Races; Malvern, Pa.
May 21, High Hope Races; Lexington
May 27, Fair Hill Races; Fair Hill, Md.