In May, last year, at age ninety-nine, Randy Rouse, MFH of the Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (VA), saddled his Hishi Soar, put Gerard Galligan up, and won the featured race at Foxfield in Charlottesville—the sanctioned $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle. That feat made Rouse the oldest American ever to train a Thoroughbred winner.
Last Saturday, April 2, 2017, Rouse, brought Hishi Soar to the Orange County Point-to-Point Races at Locust Hill Farm, put Galligan up again, and won the Open Hurdle Race in a five-horse field. That feat, by our reckoning, makes Mr. Rouse the first one-hundred-year-old American ever to train a Thoroughbred winner.
Before becoming a trainer in his mature years, Randy Rouse was one of the top amateur race riders in Virginia. He and the late Dr. Joe Rogers, longtime MFH and huntsman of the Loudoun Hunt (later Loudoun Hunt West) battled each other over many race courses in their day. With the Fairfax and Loudoun Hunt West now merged, Rouse, who has served as MFH of the Fairfax Hunt since 1961, is still tied by history to his old, departed friend.
Running patiently in back, Hishi Soar allowed Fall Colors to set the early pace the first time around, let Mizyen take over the lead the second time around, and, with three furlongs to run, jumped the last fence alongside the leader, pulled away in the stretch, and won easily by a two-length margin.
With a strong card of timber races offered by Piedmont the week before, Orange County carded but one timber race for the day, Novice Timber. Trainer Neil Morris, MFH of the home team, saddled Georgetown Burning and put 2016 American Leading Rider Kieran Norris up, earning a visit to the winner’s circle for owner Lana Wright.
Two hurdle races were on the card, Maiden and Open. The Maiden race drew thirteen entries, enough horses to split the race into two divisions. Two flat races, Novice Rider and Open Flat completed the five-race card.
Kinross Farm made a strong showing, bringing the winning hurdlers in each of the two Maiden divisions. Both horses are trained by Richard Valentine. In the first division, Cuba Libre ridden by Shane Crimin took charge for most of the race, held off a rush by Matasaaway, and crossed the wire by a length’s margin.
In the second division, Valentine saddled French-bred Mutin who went wire-to-wire for a ten-length win in the hands of 2016 Leading Rider Kieran Norris. A second visit to the winner’s circle for Kinross Farm, Valentine, and Norris.
Emme Fullilove, a winner over timber the week before at Piedmont, won the first race of the day, Novice Flat, on Delawana. Fullilove was Virginia’s Leading Rider Over Fences in 2016.
Click for complete results of the day’s racing.
Posted April 7, 2017