`Boss', `Tipalarm' keep it in family

Owned, trained, ridden jointly, geldings capture stakes at Shawan Downs

Horse Racing

September 26, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

As an estimated crowd of 14,000 watched from festive tents and a sun-washed hillside, horses ridden, trained and owned by the same connections swept the two stakes yesterday at Shawan Downs.

Paradise's Boss, a 4-year-old gelding, captured the $25,000 Legacy Chase Stakes by 12 1/4 lengths, and Darn Tipalarm, an 11-year-old gelding, claimed the $25,000 Ski Roundtop Timber Stakes by 9 1/4 lengths.

Both winners were trained by Jack Fisher of Maryland, ridden by Tom Foley of North Carolina and owned by Ann and Henry Stern of Virginia. And both winners deserved -- and earned -- their accolades on Shawan Downs' arduous, undulating, picturesque grass course.

Paradise's Boss had to run 2 1/2 miles, much of it uphill, and jump 14 hurdles. Darn Tipalarm had to run 3 3/4 miles over the same up-and-down course and jump 18 fences.

All seven non-betting races offered similar grueling tasks for the horses, but provided an early fall spectacle for the jovial attendees.

Shawan Downs is a giant party on a hillside, with 43 white tents and a deep-green course. This was the fourth year of the one-day racing and equine festival that benefits the Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

For the second straight year, Fisher, who trains on his farm in Butler about two miles from Shawan Downs, saddled the winners of both stakes. What's more, Darn Tipalarm, winner of the timber stakes, won the inaugural Legacy Cup in 2001 at Shawan Downs.

"He's a bold jumper, and he's got a great heart," said Foley, his Irish jockey, who lives in North Carolina.

Fisher described Darn Tipalarm's jumping prowess this way: "He's like a deer."

The gray gelding completed the 3 3/4 -mile course in 7 minutes, 17 1/5 seconds. He dueled most of the race with Joe At Six and then repelled a late challenge by Bubble Economy. Fisher said he was surprised Darn Tipalarm held on after such an extended front-end battle.

"On his best days, he's run some big races I didn't expect out of him," Fisher said.

A son of Darn That Alarm and Tiptina, Darn Tipalarm has raced 86 times -- 36 on the flat and 50 over jumps. He's won twice on the flat and now has won eight over jumps, including three of his past five.

"Not bad for an old horse," Foley said.

Two races earlier, Foley guided Paradise's Boss to a runaway victory in the Legacy Chase, formerly known as the Legacy Cup. The bay gelding led every step, relishing the challenge.

"He loves to jump," Foley said. "He attacks the fences. That's what you want in a front-running horse. He just ran them into the ground today."

Paradise's Boss competed 10 times on the flat, winning three, before starting a second career as a steeplechaser.

The Sterns, who live in Richmond, Va., campaigned Saluter, the most accomplished timber horse in the world.

NOTE: The dream of area landowners who bought this property in the late 1990s -- and the approximately 160 people who contributed at least $10,000 each to wrap up the deal -- is 90 percent complete, said Charles Fenwick Jr., race chairman. He said what's left to do is construct a show ring and conduct a first-class horse show.

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