Two names out of the past, Allen B.J. and Portobello II, appear on the Warrenton Hunt point-to-be entry list for Saturday and if the two jumpers are indeed making comebacks the entire spring steepchasing a climate could suddenly change.
At this junction, going into Warrenton's Dell Cup, Randy Rouse, with two victories and a second, looks unbeatable for another Seven Corners championships. He has entered Free Movement in this three-mile timber feature of Warrenton's six-race program. The First Colony opens the affair at 2 p.m.
Also entered is Allen B. J., while Porotbella II is corss-entered in the Dell and the Warrenton Hunt Steeplechase, also at three miles over timber.
Allen B. J., the Blenlea chestnut gelding, carried owner Earnie Oare to the Seven Corners championship in 1973, the last time that Rouse failed to win the title. Allen B. J. scored four victories that year and was in contention the following year until he came up with a "blown leg" before the Piedmont meeting.
At that time, trainer J. Arthur Reynolds said, "We don't know what it is or how bad, but we definitely know that he is out at least until the Gold Cup." The injury was more severe than realized and the now 15-year-old has not raced since.
Portobello 11 could pay an important part in either the Seven Corners competition or the open timber battle, depending on where Gil Flaut decides to race him.
The Chilean bred chestnut's finest moment came on this same Warrenton course (it is modified for point-to-point racing) in 1973 when Flaut rode the then 8-year-old gelaing to a 4 1/2 length victory over Vocalist in the Virginia Gold Cup.
Later that year he also won the Foxcatcher Hounds and the Cecil County steeplechases, both at Fair Hill, and placed second to Chapel Street in the Fairfax Steeplechase. That was his last outing.
The Warrenton course is on the Warrenton bypass at the junction of routes 29, 15, 211. Admission is $3.