Slip Away Gives 'Em the Slip in Colonial Cup

Son of Skip Away wins final steeplechase event of year by remarkable 25 3/4 lengths.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away swept to the lead approaching the Springdale Course’s final turn and powered away to a remarkable 25 3/4-length victory in the Colonial Cup Steeplechase at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 13.

Trained by Tom Voss and ridden by 2010 champion jockey Paddy Young, 7-year-old Slip Away was never far off the pace and ran the Colonial Cup’s 2 3/4 miles in 5:14.80 on firm ground.

Polaris Stables’ Preemptive Strike set the pace and held on for second; Irvin Naylor’s Tax Ruling held his position and finished third. Last year’s Colonial Cup winner, Bill Pape’s Mixed Up, finished fourth in a field of nine.

The runaway victory gave the Skip Away gelding the National Steeplechase Association 2010 championship based on earnings, moving him past Grand National (NSA-I) winner Percussionist, who finished sixth in Naylor’s silks.

With his Colonial Cup score, Slip Away became a leading candidate for the 2010 Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse.

Even before he called Ken Ramsey, who was unable to attend the race, Voss had no doubt about the Eclipse. “If they don’t give it to this horse, there’s something wrong,” he said after watching the replay of Slip Away’s overpowering victory.

Slip Away has shown the toughness of his sire, the 1998 Horse of the Year. Slip Away made seven starts this year from April to November, handily won the Temple Gwathmey (NSA-III) and the Colonial Cup, and had three second-place finishes, including Monmouth Park’s Helen Haskell Sampson (NSA-I) Sept. 25 and the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills Oct. 23.

Preemptive Strike went straight to the lead, and Young moved Slip Away to a stalking position through the first circuit of the Springdale course. Voss watched approvingly as Young kept Slip Away under a snug hold.

“He doesn’t have great speed, but he makes up for it with a high galloping speed.”

Over the second-to-last fence, Slip Away glided to the lead and gradually increased his advantage to the final fence. Slip Away jumped the last of the natural Colonial Cup fences and quickly expanded his advantage to the finish line.