The flat tracks have their teen-age sensation in Steve Cauthen, and now steeplechasing has come up with its own.
Nineteen-year-old Doug Fout wrapped up the most successful week in his young riding career today by bringing in Don Panta 1 1/2 lengths in front of Manchu Prince to win the 23d running of the Daniel Sands Cup at Glenwood Park.
Last Saturday the pair teamed to win the Rolling Rock Hunt Cup at Ligonier, Pa., and on Friday Fout had booted home Bel Iman in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey at Belmont Park, the second leg of steeplechasing's tripple crown.
A Virginia fall race meeting crowd of almost 6,000 watched Fout hold Don Panta slightly off the blistering pace set by Bruce Christison on Winigo as the field of nine began the tour of the 14-jump, 2 1/2-mile course.
"I let him go early," said Fout, who lives in Middleburg. "I was awful close in there and I wanted to get him out of trouble."
The trouble was coming as Winigo Afilidor. Anthropologist, Don Panta, Sunsign and Manchu Prince cleared the ninth fence closely bunched.
By the 10th jump, Fout had his Chilean-bred 5-year-old on top, with the infighting left to the followers.
"He was going easy," Fout said. "He was going on his own."
The week also was successful for Fout's father, Paul, one of the top trainers in steeplechasing.He had saddled Don Panta in its two victories and had set out Bel Iman yesterday. Biggest winner of the week was, of course, Beverley Steinman, who owns both horses.
It was the fourth victory of the season for Don Panta, having won earlier at Delaware Park and Saratoga. It also was the eighth time in 11 starts this year that the gray gelding has been in the money.
Manchu Prince, second by 2 1/2 lengths over Sunsign, had been held in check by Joey Rubsam for 13 of the 14 fences. They made their bid going into the last hurdle and challenged all the way down Glenwood's short curving stretch.
Winigo faded to fourth after a brilliant early run that saw the 9-year-old Mongo gelding lead over the first nine fences and run second and in contention down to the final obstacle.