EMO Stable's Orison saved ground on the final turn and passed three horses in the stretch to win a contentious Carolina First Carolina Cup Saturday at Springdale Race Course.
The Steeplechase Triple Crown opener turned into a sprint over the final furlong as Orison (Matt McCarron) dug in to catch Rare Bush (Xavier Aizpuru) and win the $75,000 steeplechase stakes by a neck for trainer Doug Fout. Rare Bush stayed for second with Gliding and Sovereign Duty in a dead heat for third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Final time for the 2 1/8 miles over 10 fences was 4:03 4/5.
Fout has been trying to win the Carolina Cup as a jockey or trainer since 1977, when he rode his first horse at the cup.
"I had a couple of other horses who just missed," Fout said. "We finally came into this race with a horse who would take to this ground and be really consistent."
"Patience had gone out the window," said McCarron of his late-race tactics. "I was very worried when we were going around the turn, but he stayed in there. It just opened up enough that my horse got a great look at the last and met it just right and wore down Rare Bush. It was just grit and determination at the end."
At the top of the stretch, the race could have gone to any of the six Thoroughbreds in the race, which was run for the 75h time in front of another sellout crowd of 50,000 or more at Springdale. Quem Se Atreve set a quick pace, and still led as the field sped out of the final turn. Sovereign Duty stalked throughout. Rare Bush challenged on the outside and pulled Gliding along with him. Orison held his spot in behind the leaders and pounced when daylight opened. Quem Se Atreve fell there, as Rare Bush took command before Orison joined the fight and prevailed in a stiff drive from McCarron.
Purchased from Jayeff B Stable and New Jersey-based trainer Alan Goldberg before the 2006 season, Orison won twice and placed in all seven steeplechase starts in his rookie year. The 5-year-old son of Pulpitbanked $45,000 Saturday to increase his career steeplechase earnings to $100,840 in just eight starts.
Orison keyed a jump double for Fout and McCarron, who picked up a maiden hurdle victory with Eldon Farm's Pukka earlier on the card.
Owner Augustin Stable also doubled on the day, with wins by Irish Prince in a $20,000 allowance timber and Imagina in a $20,000 filly/mare maiden hurdle. Jody Petty rode both winners. Cary Jackson's Big Is Best (Paddy Young) prevailed in a $20,000 starter allowance hurdle for trainer Paul Rowland. The Fout stable added a training flat score with Dark Equation (Isaac Lupton).
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