- Katie Bo Williams
If you have been out with any number of Virginia’s hunt clubs this season, you may have recognized the black horse that was the winner of Virginia steeplechasing’s richest purse on May 3. Although he flew under the radar at 10-1 odds, Hot Rize flew under the wire in the Virginia Gold Cup ¾ lengths to the good. He snared the win for a partnership made up entirely of fox hunters -- appropriate for a horse who might never have had a career if it hadn’t been for the hunt field.
Owned by Holston Hall, a partnership managed by The Plains resident Russell Haynes, Hot Rize struggled early in his career to settle. Always a talented horse, the son of Sultry Song would work like a stakes horse at the farm and then let his nerves get the better of him on race day. Despite showing ability, he couldn’t seem to win a race. Until Haynes, who also trains the horse, decided to send him to Tennessee-based Karen Gray.