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Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Keri Brion wins two, including the 4-year-old Stakes, at Aiken

AIKEN, S.C.--Keri Brion started her year off with a bang, winning two races, including the Four-Year-Old Hurdle Stakes, at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday, March 25.

The insider right outduels Clara Belle over last in Imperial Cup 3The insider, right, outduels Clara Belle over last in the Imperial Cup (Photo by Tod Marks)Parker Hendriks also began his defense of his Leading Jockey title with two wins.

Brion saddled The Insider, owned by Hudson Rver Farms, Madaket Stables and R and K Racing and ridden by Hendriks, to win the $35,000 Four-Year-Old Stakes in which she had the only three runners.

The 2 1/16 mile race was run in 3:41 1/5, 7 seconds faster than either of the other races of equal distance.

The Insider won by 3 lengths over Jordan Wycoff's Clara Belle with Topic Changer, owned by Wycoff, Frank Mullins and Upland Flats Racing, third.

"I don't know why no one else entered that race," said Brion. "Maybe no one had anything ready yet. National Steeplechasing is carding those races. because we need a place to develop young steeplechase horses. But that race had seven different owners."

Brion said that she was afraid that The Insider would carry too much weight in future 4-year-old races and that she was aiming The Insider towards the novice race at Nashville where he gets a break in the weights as a 4-year-old.


BRION SADDLED Three Diamond Stable's Cross Border to win the $15,000 Maiden Starter Hurdle by 4 3/4  lengths over Be Yourself, trained by Neil Morris,

"Cross Border was a stakes winner of over $1million on the flat," said Brion of the 9-year-old Ridgling. "I got him at the end of last summer. He's a very high profile horse."

Cross Border was third in the John Forbes Memorial Stakes at Far Hills last fall and was pulled up at Charleston.

"We took our time with him after that, and he wintered well," said Brion. "The main goal is Saratoga, but we'll probably run him one more time before that.""

"That was Three Diamonds first hurdle win," said Brion of the stable that has had multiple flat winners.

Another Brion entry, Girl Dad, was leading when he fell over the last fence in the Maiden Hurdle,, won by Seismic Wave, trained by Neil Morris, by 1 1/4 lengths over Finding Freedom, trained by Kate Dalton.

"Girl Dad is immature and green," said Brion. "He wasn't paying attention, with all the tents and things to look at. Parker tried to get his attention, but he just didn't pay attention."

That last fence was taken out of subsequent races.

"There were three falls over that fence in the first three races," said Brion. "It just wasn't in a good place."

Arch Kingsley also had two winners, but one was in the Training Flat race.

Richard C.Colton Jr.'s High Mounte (Ire) won the $20,000 RatingsHandicap by 10 3/4 lengths over Anticipating, trained by Morris.

"What a lovely horse, but he's very fragile," sad Kingsley. "We've had quite a few problems with soundness. He's a fun horse to train, so that makes it all the more gratifying when he wins."

"We'll have to see how they rate him after this," said Kingsley. "He was 110 rated. We're hoping to run him in the 115s and down at the Queens Cup."

Kingsley saddle his own  Cainudothetwist, ridden by daughter Taylor, to win the Training Flat by 3 lengths over Family Tree (GB), trained by Morris.

"Taylor's won four of her last six races," said Kingsley. "That race was the highlight. Taylor sat still on a horse that wanted to go. She was able to give him a couple of breathers so he had something left to hold off the second placed horse."

"Cainudothetwist will probably also run in the 115s at the Queens Cup," he said.

Ricky Hendriks saddled Upland Flats Racing's West Newton (GB), ridden by Harry Beswick, to win the $30,000 Ratings Handicap.

"West Newton was bred the the late Queen Elizabeth," said Hendriks. "I got him from Gordon Elliot when he brought him over here for a race. Harry gave him a beautiful ride. I'm not sure where he'll run next. I hadn't gotten farther than Aiken."



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