Topic Changer romps in Charleston finale

Monday, November 14th, 2022

Topic Changer, winning here at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase, added a second victory Sunday in Charleston. Tod Marks Photo.

Topic Changer closed the book – quite literally – on the 2022 National Steeplechase Association season with an emphatic victory Sunday at the Steeplechase of Charleston in Hollywood, South Carolina.

The New York-bred Flintshire colt romped to a 13 1/2-length victory in the $27,300 Alston Cup 3-year-old hurdle stakes going 2 1/16 miles. The Alston Cup was the fifth race on the Charleston card and the final event of the 2022 NSA season.

Keri Brion, who finished the season atop the NSA list of leading trainers by earnings, conditions Topic Changer for owners Jordan Wycoff and Frank Mullins. Brion ended the season with purse earnings of $1,106,950, and she also ranked second on the NSA list of leading trainers by wins with 33.

Bred by Alan Quartucci, foaled at Berkshire Stud in Pine Plains and out of the winning Gio Ponti mare Blank Slate, Topic Changer improved to 4-for-7 in his career and 2-for-2 over jumps in the Alston Cup.

Topic Changer, a two-time winner on the flat for his breeder Alan Quartucci, is now a two-time winner over jumps. Photo courtesy of Keri Brion.

Topic Changer made his first four starts for Quartucci and trainer Christophe Clement. Unraced at 2, he won his second start in maiden special weight company going 9 furlongs on the grass in late June at Belmont Park. After a ninth in a starter allowance on the grass at Saratoga he was claimed for $35,000 by Double B Racing Stable and trainer Gregory DiPrima out of a 1 1/2-length win in a 1 1/16-mile turf event Sept. 2 at Saratoga Race Course.

Topic Changer ran once for Double B and DiPrima, finishing well back in another turf starter allowance, before transitioning to the jumps. He won his hurdle debut 22 days later, in a 2 1/8-mile $30,0000 maiden race at the Aiken Fall Steeplechase in late October for Wycoff, Mullins and Brion.

Matched up against five others, including the 1-2 finishers from the Gladstone Hurdle at Far Hills in The Insider and Hoffman, Topic Changer and jockey Barry Foley rated behind those two for the opening lap of the Alston Cup. While making a run toward the lead, Topic Changer was bumped during an incident when Clara Belle stumbled and lost jockey Jamie Bargary over the 10th fence. Clara Belle, also owned by Wycoff and trained by Brion, walked off. The Insider, who also fell at the 10th in his first start for Brion after being campaigned in Ireland with Gordon Elliott, also walked off.

Topic Changer, who earned $21,000 for the win, finished in 3:56.40 over the good ground.

Quartucci purchased Blank Slate, carrying Topic Changer in utero, for $50,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale.

Blank Slate is also the dam of the 2-year-old Blame colt Clear Consience, who finished third in a Nov. 11 maiden race at Aqueduct for Clement and co-owners and co-breeders Quartucci and Sebastian Varney. Quartucci and Varney also bred a New York-bred yearling colt by Palace Malice and a weanling colt by McKinzie born May 22.

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