Jumps Training Brings 'Spark' Back To Cross Border; Gelding Entered In Flat Race At Aqueduct Saturday - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Jumps Training Brings ‘Spark’ Back To Cross Border; Gelding Entered In Flat Race At Aqueduct Saturday

Cross Border with Keri Brion at the Clark Stakes Barn

Saturday's Ashley T. Cole field is bolstered by a fan-favorite New York-bred in Three Diamonds Farm's Cross Border, who makes his first start for trainer Keri Brion. The 8-year-old English Channel gelding's claim to fame is securing back-to-back wins in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Saratoga in 2020-21.

Cross Border brags field high earnings of $1,171,479 through a 44-11-8-5 record, but has been unplaced in five starts this season, three of which came against graded stakes company. He will seek his first triumph since December, when capturing the Prairie Bayou over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park.

Brion, who conditioned last year's Champion Steeplechaser The Mean Queen, said Cross Broder will make the transition over the jumps following Saturday's race.

“He came to me to make him a steeplechase horse. I took him after the Sword Dancer when I was up there with my jumpers,” Brion said. “We brought him back to Fair Hill and there was this race, so it seemed like a logical spot. He's taken to the jumping great, but horses can do both steeplechase and flat racing. His hurdle debut will be pushed back to later this fall and we're going to take a shot here with him. Any time you get a million-dollar earner in your barn, it's exciting.”

Brion said Cross Border could return to the Spa next year as a jumper.

“Hopefully, he can go back to Saratoga next year over hurdles,” Brion said. “He really loves the jumping. Even in general, he seems a lot more eager to train and do things. He's 8-years-old and has been doing the same thing his whole life, so it might just be enough to really spark him up again. He's doing great, he's a class old horse.”

Cross Border was bred in the Empire State by Berkshire Stud and B.D. Gibbs and is out of the Empire Maker mare Empress Josephine.

Jose Ortiz, aboard for two of his stakes victories, will reunite with Cross Border from post 4. Saturday's 35th running of the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole is for New York-breds 3-years-olds and upward going nine furlongs on the outer turf at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

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