10/21/2010 2:09PM

Mixed Up heads field of 12 in Grand National


Mixed Up, the winner of the 2009 Eclipse Award for top steeplechase horse, headlines a field of 12 in the Grade 1, $250,000 Grand National on Saturday at Far Hills in New Jersey.

Though Mixed Up brings the most name recognition into the 2 5/8-mile race over national fences, the 11-year-old gelding will be challenged by a number of horses who have posted better records this year. Mixed Up has two fifth-place finishes in stakes races this year, along with a recent second-place finish in a training race on Oct. 9 in Virginia.

Among the challengers will be Slip Away, the winner of the Grade 3 Temple Gwathmey on April 17, a race in which Mixed Up finished fifth, and the second-place finisher in the Grade 1 $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson on Sept. 25. Slip Away is likely to set the pace.

Tax Ruling, the winner of the Grade 1 Iroquois on May 8, is also expected to mount a strong challenge in the race. Tax Ruling finished third in last year’s Grand National.

The Grand National is the richest race on a six-race card with total purses of $500,000 on Saturday. Also on the card is the $100,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for newcomers to jump racing and the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup over timber fences. Proceeds from the event benefit the Somerset Medical Center.

Filling out the field for the Grand National are Lead Us Not, who, like Mixed Up, is trained by Jonathan Sheppard; Dictina’s Boy, who is trained by Tom Voss, also the trainer of Slip Away; Red Letter Day, who finished fourth in last year’s Grand National; plus Decoy Daddy, General Ledger, Seer, Class Bopper, Preemptive Strike, and Chivite.