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Today’s Warrenton point-to-point attracts stellar field

Saturday, Mar. 16 | By Betsy Burke Parker
A powerful field will be on display Saturday at Airlie for the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point, including Spy in the Sky, above, winner of last year's $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial at Saratoga Springs. Photo by Betsy Burke Parker
The stars will be out, and they're champing at the bit for today's Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point at Airlie. The event comes after last week's racing was canceled due to heavy snow that blanketed the region.

According to steeplechase professionals, it's not a moment too soon.

With the rich National Steeplechase Association season cranking up next week, trainers and jockeys look to the point-to-points as perfect fitness measures for horse and rider alike.

Warrenton's rolling Airlie course is popular with horsemen at any rate, but this year's entry box overflows across nine races, with more than 100 horses entered for what might turn into 12 races, allowing for splits over hurdles and on the flat.

Virginia Gold Cup winner in 2011, Bon Caddo heads the list for the featured open timber to anchor the card, with local talent Triple Dip from Jimmy Day's barn in Clarke and Four Schools from Richard Valentine just up the road from Airlie at Whitewood. Nine were entered at press time.

Other races over timber include an overfull novice timber, foxhunters and Seven Corners amateurs.

Over hurdles, big groups are expected in the open division and amateur race as well as up to three splits of the maiden.

The novice rider turf – with 22 in as many as three splits – attracted a scrum of hurdlers looking for an easy tightener, including an astonishing nine from the powerful Irv Naylor string in Maryland. Multiple stakes winner Decoy Daddy heads the Naylor group, while Day has Grade 1 powerhouse Spy In The Sky.

A Virginia-bred turf race rounds out the card.

Post time is 12:30 p.m.

Airlie is located between Warrenton and Marshall just off of U.S. Route 17.

The Warrenton Hunt will host a hunter pace event Sunday, March 17, at 1 p.m. at Clovercroft west of town. Divisions are planned for fast time, optimum time and juniors. There will also be a hilltoppers course, as well as “open” divisions – which can be post-entered, in all heats.

Complete entries online at www.CentralEntryOffice.com.

More info at (540) 219-1400.
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