Jockey Jonathan Kiser piloted Pierre Manigault's Little Hurt to win the first leg of the Sport of Kings Supreme Hurdle Challenge at the 20th running of the Morven Park Races yesterday in Leesburg.
The $30,000 Arthur McCashin Supreme Hurdle had a five-horse field. Kiser kept Little Hurt just behind Darn Tipalarm (Sean Clancy) until the last circuit of the 2 1/4-mile race. About two fences from the finish, Little Hurt began outjumping Darn Tipalarm and by the last fence, Little Hurt had the speed for the uphill run to the wire.
Little Hurt won by two lengths in 2 minutes 26 4/5 seconds over Darn Tipalarm. How Goes and Gus Brown were eight lengths back in third.
Kiser, who has not ridden Little Hurt since last year, said the horse was a handful.
"He has on blinkers with very full cups and I think that makes him a bit keen," Kiser said. "He was really dragging me around the whole way, but he jumped great."
Owner Manigault isn't sure if he wants to compete in the Sport of Kings Challenge, in which a $1 million bonus is awarded to a horse that wins two supreme hurdle races in the United States and two in the United Kingdom.
"Haven't even considered it," said Manigault, who has only had the horse since the end of August. "If he wins at Far Hills in New York [Oct. 23] or Callaway in Georgia [Nov. 6] then we will think about it."
Kiser finished his day by winning the $10,000 Samuel H. Rogers Memorial Timber on Thelightfantistic for trainer Charlie Fenwick and Sotuknaga Stables. Kiser picked up the ride in the paddock after regular jockey Arch Kingsley Jr. was slightly injured from a fall in a previous race.
Not unexpectedly, Thor Thors and J.W. Delozier III took the lead early and held it until the second timber fence from the finish. As they raced up the hill, Thelightfantistic broke away to win by 14 1/2 lengths in 6:48. Clancy and Atomistic were third.
Other winners were the English-trained Father Sky (Michael Traurig) in the Dulles Motorcars Run flat race and Rambling Caveat with Clancy in the $10,000 Brinks Home Security Hurdles for maidens.