Charles (Chick) Owens' high Peak withstood a series of challenges by A1 Knowles' Mr. Jam, including a final drive down Belmont Plantation's rock - hard stretch, to win the featured owner-rider hurdle by two lengths before a Fairfax Hunt point-to-point crowd of approximately 1,200 today.
Randy Waterman's Just Idling, the only other starter in the feature on an afternoon of small fields caused by the frozen ground, was third, another 15 lengths off the pace.
"The corners were slippery, real slippery," said Waterman after the race, "and they'll sure get worse."
They did. In the final two races - both flat events - the corner coming into the stretch took the toll of D. L. Miller on Virginia. Blue in the ladies race and Larry Camel on Vision of Baghdad in the men's.Neither horses nor riders were injured.
It was a particularly pleasing victory for Owens, the Baltimore realtor who was runnerup to Kevin Palmer in last springs First Colony Challenge Series by only two points. Owens and High Peak had won the opener at Casanova only to be disqualified for "cuting off the bumping Kool Kake, causing him to fall."
Those lost points would have given Owens the campionship in his first season in this nine-race series. Palmer did not race here today.
Today, Owens maintained a cautious lead over Mr. Jam and Just Idling through the first three jumps. It was neck and neck at the fourth, then Waterman went to the top at the fifth and sixth. At the seventh, Mr. Jam made the first of several moves at High Peak. At the ninth and last, High Peak showed only a bare length lead.
Down the stretch, Owen's 7-year-old gleding showed its class by pulling out to two lengths at the ware.