Mr. Lickety wins for the fourth time in Aiken Spring Steeplechase
Elizabeth “Biz” Carey enjoyed an afternoon she described as “almost too good to be true” during the 51st Aiken Spring Steeplechase on Saturday.
The Aiken resident’s Mr. Lickety won for the fourth straight year during a Spring Steeplechase when he captured the $20,000 Ford D. Conger over jumps by two lengths at the Aiken Horse Park Foundation’s Bruce’s Field.
Ridden by Jack Doyle, the 7-year-old bay gelding covered two miles in 3:44 2/5.
Longing to Travel finished second, and Devil’s Wrangler, trained in Aiken by Julie Gomena, was third.
Devil’s Wrangler carried the top weight of 158 pounds in the handicap event while Mr. Lickety carried 157.
“He was happy, and he jumped just about every fence as beautifully as you would want,” said Carey, who races Mr. Lickety in the name of Check Mark Stables.
Mr. Lickety began his Spring Steeplechase win streak in 2014 when he cruised by 7½ lengths in the James W. Maloney while carrying the colors of Westerly Farm.
After Carey purchased Mr. Lickety privately, he rolled to a 9¼-length victory in the Ford. D. Conger during the 2015 Spring Steeplechase.
Last year, Mr. Lickety notched yet another Spring Steeplechase win in the Ford D. Conger when he defeated another horse owned by Carey, Complete Dyno, by 6¾ lengths.
Also in 2016, Mr. Lickety finished third in the Budweiser Holiday Cup during the Aiken Fall Steeplechase.
“There was some pressure this year,” Carey said. “My friends were all watching and asking me, ‘Do you think Mr. Lickety can do it again?’ I told them, ‘I don’t know.’ But then, when I was watching the race, I could see how comfortably he was traveling, and I knew at the next-to-the-last-fence that he was going to win.”
The four Spring Steeplechase wins are the only victories Mr. Lickety has during his racing career.
Carey is thinking about running Mr. Lickety in April in the Steeplechase of Charleston or the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase in North Carolina.
“Then we just might just let him play around at home in Aiken for the rest of the year and bring him back (for the 2018 Aiken Spring Steeplechase),” Carey said.
Trainer Ricky Hendriks teamed up with jockey Ross Geraghty to win the two divisions of the Budweiser Imperial Cup over jumps with Any Given Royal and Surprising Soul.
Any Given Royal went to the lead early in the $25,000 first division and then pulled away from the field after clearing the last fence for 3½-length victory.
The 8-year-old gelding covered two miles in 3:47 3/5.
Surprising Soul turned in more dominating and much faster performance in the $25,000 second division, which also was two miles in length. The 5-year-old gelding triumphed by 23¼ lengths while turning in a time of 3:42 4/5.
Hendriks’ mother, Wendy Hendriks, owns both Any Given Royal and Surprising Soul.
Ricky Hendriks and Geraghty also picked up another Spring Steeplchase win with Rosbrian Farm’s Winter House in a flat race, the James W. Maloney. The 5-year-old gelding completed 1¼ miles in 2:22 2/5 and finished only a half-length in front of Burning Approval.
In the other flat race on the Spring Steeplechase card, the W.C. Jackson, Christopher Elser’s Full of Joy won while being ridden by Keith Dalton. Trained by Janet Elliot, the 3-year-old filly covered a mile in 1:35 and was only three-quarters of a length ahead of Rockin’ Ben at the wire.
Thistledown Farm’s Indy’s Legacy captured the $15,000 G.H. Bostwick over jumps by 9½ lengths.
Ridden by Willie McCarthy and trained by Desmond Fogarty, the 6-year-old gelding completed two miles in 3:43 4/5.