CAMDEN, S.C. (AP) -- Black Jack Blues led from start to finish in the Carolina Cup Steeplechase on Saturday.
With Ross Geraghty aboard, the 9-year-old gelding finished the 13-fence, 2¼-mile course in 4:06.80 on firm turf. Two-time stakes winner Country Cousin was more than six lengths back in second and All Together finished third.
"It couldn't have gone any better," Black Jack Blues trainer J.W. Delozier said. "It looked like he jumped great. It was his first race of the season and this is his typical running style. I haven't had a chance to talk to Ross yet, but I couldn't have been any happier. It looked like everything went very smoothly. I wasn't sure if he was going to handle this ground, but he seemed to get across it just fine. He got the job done."
Country Cousin stayed closed to Black Jack Blues for the first half of the race, and All Together pulled up alongside the leader with less than five jumps to go, but the winner never faltered.
"When that other horse came to him it was just the thing he needs to set the fire under him," Delozier said.
Black Jack Blues won his first two starts in the National Steeplechase Association without trailing as well.
The $50,000 Carolina Cup was one of five steeplechase races on a card which included one flat race.
Willie McCarthy was in the saddle when High Hope Stables' Baltic Shore won the day's co-feature, the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover. Baltic Shore is trained in Camden by Arch Kingsley.
Jeff Murphy rode a pair of winners on the day, teaming with Randleston Farm's Duc De Savoie for a victory in the $25,000 Camden Plate before piloting Magalen O. Bryant's Quiet Flaine to the front of the $15,000 Sport of Queens Hurdle.
River Bend Stables' Dance Faster won the day's lone race over timber fences, the $20,000 C.P. and Edith Wills DuBoseCup. Darren Nagle was in the saddle for the victory.
The afternoon kicked off with Jubilee Stables' Wantan winning the 1½-mile Kershaw Plate flat race. Camden resident Bernie Dalton was aboard the winner.