Dogwood Stable's Street Fight may have found his hole card.
The 4-year-old son of Street Sense looked like a natural on Saturday, making an impressive debut over national fences, in winning the Calico Creek by 3¾-lengths at Ford Conger Field at the 22nd Annual Aiken Fall Steeplechase. The gelding conditioned by Arch Kingsley Jr. broke alertly, rated throughout the race and kept something in reserve in the late stages of the contest. Street Fight was ridden to victory by jockey Willie McCarthy.
“That's quite an accomplishment for a horse to run for the first time in his life over jumps,” said W. Cothran Campbell, Dogwood Stable president. “He wasn't just a maiden. He had never run over jumps. That's exciting. This may be his home. He rated kindly and was just content to gallop along. He may have found his hole card today.”
Street Fight will get the winter off, make his next start in the spring, said Kinglsey. The two-time winner on the flat possesses potential and had been training well coming into the race.
“His works have been a little better each time,” said Kinglsey. “I felt like we had something coming in to today. He was a genuine enough horse, that if he found himself on the lead, it wouldn't be a problem for him. But until you see them go out there, it's always a question.”
However, it was the victory in Aiken with a Dogwood Stable horse that took on added meaning for the Camden-based horseman, who was a successful jockey before making the transition to training.
“It's one of those moments where everything falls into place,” said Kingsley. “He's a nice horse. We'll try to plot our way carefully.”
There are definitely some horses for courses, and Virginia Lazenby's and Farm D'Allie Racing Stable's Pleasant Woodman, would appear to be one of those that has a real affinity for Ford Conger Field at the Aiken Horse Park. The Louisiana-bred gelding broke alertly, and never looked back, dominating the field in the 2 1/4-mile Holiday Cup with an impressive 5-length win. The son of Woodman was fitted with cheater blinkers, to keep him focused and straight forward, and the equipment seemed to do its job. The winner is trained by Doug Fout, and jockey Willie McCarthy was in the irons.
“He's a horse that likes to go to the front,” said McCarthy. “He's very quick and has a very big stride. Doug's team has done a great job with him. He was fresh and fit.”
Three horses fell, one each in the day's first three races, over the final jump. Jockey Brian Walsh was transported to the hospital after falling in the second race. The horses and other jockeys appeared to be fine, with the other two riders returning for their remaining mounts.