Despite record setting cold weather in the eastern U.S., steeplechasing fans received a hint of spring when the National Steeplechase Association condition book for Spring 2018 arrived in the mail this week.
After meeting with the chair persons of the 20 race meetings on the fixture card, NSA Director of Racing/Racing Secretary Bill Gallo, Jr. has announced a season with $1.42 million dollars in purses on the line. $940,000 of that total will be offered in races over National Fences. $485,000 will go to the horses that race over timber fences.
As usual, the Iroquois Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tenn. heads the purse money list at $525,000 offered in four stakes and three condition races on May 12 at the 77th annual meeting that benefits the Monroe Carell,Jr. Childrens' Hospital at Vanderbilt University.
$200,000 of that purse fund is offered to the runners in the weight-for-age Calvin Houghland Iroquois at three miles over 17 National Fences, the second Grade 1 of the season.
The Houghland Iroquois became the second Grade 1 of the steeplechase year when the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup was moved from the last spot on the fall calendar and became the feature race race on the 86th annual Carolina Cup Races at Springdale Race Course in Camden, S.C. on March 31.
Here is the line up with total purses, graded stakes and feature races.
March 24 — 52nd annual Aiken Spring Steeplechase, Aiken, S.C., $90,000. $30,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Allowance).
March 31 — 86th annual Carolina Cup Races, Camden, S.C. $325,000. $40,000 Life's Illusion (Fillies and Mares), $75,000 Carolina Cup (Novice), $150,000, Grade 1 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup.
April 7 — Georgia Steeplechase, Kingston, Ga., $100,000. $30,000 Georgia Cup (Ratings Handicap).
April 14 — 72nd annual Tryon Block House Races, Columbus, N.C. $150,000, $40,000 Block House (Hurdle Handicap).
April 14 — My Lady's Manor, $75,000. $30,000 My Lady's Manor Timber Stakes.
April 21 — 116th annual Grand National Steeplechase, Butler, Md. $65,000, $30,000 Grand National Amateur Timber Stakes.
April 21 — 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races, Middleburg, Va., $200,000. $75,000, Grade 2 Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Stakes.
April 28 — 41st annual Foxfield Spring Races, Charlottesville, Va. $115,000. $30,000 Daniel van Clief Memorial (Allowance).
April 28 — 122nd Maryland Hunt Cup, Glyndon, Md. $100,000 Maryland Hunt Cup Amateur Timber Stakes.
April 28 — 23rd annual Queen's Cup Steeplechase, $150,000. $75,000 Queen's Cup (Novice).
May 5 — 93rd running Virginia Gold Cup, The Plains, Va. $425,000. $40,000 Steeplethon Timber Stakes, $75,000, Grade 2 David Semmes Memorial Hurdle Stake, $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes.
May 6 — 40th annual Winterthur Races, Winterthur Del., $70,000. $40,000 Winterthur Bowl Timber Stakes.
May 12 — 77th annual Iroquois Steeplechase, Nashville, Tenn. $525,000 plus $10,000 amateur bonus. $100,000 Marcellus Frost (Novice), $50,000 Margaret Curry Henley (Filly and Mare), $50,000 Mason Houghland (Timber), $200,000, Grade 1 Calvin Houghland Iroquois.
May 13 — 26th annual Willowdale Steeplechase, Kennett Square, Pa. $100,000. $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase Amateur Timber Stakes.
May 19 — 88th annual Radnor Hunt Races, Malvern, Pa. $190,000. $30,000 Radnor Hunt Cup (Timber), $50,000, Grade 3 National Hunt Cup.
May 26 — 49th annual Fair Hill Spring Races, Fair Hill, Md. $180,000. $50,000 Iris Coggins Memorial (Fillies and Mares).
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