Off

THREE PAST WINNERS AMONG HUNT CUP NOMINEES

From the National Steeplechase Association: NEWS
by: Don Clippinger

The three immediate past winners of the $100,000 Maryland Hunt Cup—Senior Senator, Raven’s Choice, and Guts for Garters—have been nominated to the 121st running of America’s best-known timber race on Saturday, April 29.

One of the most sought-after prizes in American racing, the Maryland Hunt Cup is the culmination of the Free State’s timber triple crown, following My Lady’s Manor and the Grand National on preceding Saturdays. This year’s Hunt Cup, a four-mile classic, will again be the only race on the program at Glyndon, with a 4 p.m. post time.

Irvin L. Crawford II’s Senior Senator soared to a Hunt Cup victory last year by setting all the pace and then turning back a determined challenge by Stewart Strawbridge’s Guts For Garters, the 2014 winner, to prevail by a half-length.

Raven’s Choice, owned by Ann Jackson, finished a close second in the 2015 renewal but was advanced to the winner’s stand when Imperial Way lost weights from his saddlepad late in the race and was disqualified for not carrying the assigned weight for the entire race. Trained by Todd Wyatt, Raven’s Choice fell in last year’s Hunt Cup.

Merriefield Farm’s Imperial Way also was nominated to the 2017 Hunt Cup. The 12-year-old finished fifth last year for trainer Elizabeth Voss, and he was only a nose behind Guts For Garters in the 2014 Hunt Cup.

Merriefield also nominated Foyle, the 2013 timber champion who is trained by H. Bruce Fenwick.

Senior Senator, the defending winner, is trained by Joseph G. Davies, who has five of the 20 early nominees. Also from his barn are Kinross Farm’s Schoolhouse Woods; Gerry L. Brewster’s Derwins Prospector; Our Town, owned by Brewster, Richard F. Blue Jr., and George Tydings; and Sumo Power, who is owned by the trainer’s wife, Blythe Miller Davies, and Merriefield owner Charles Noell.

Jack Fisher, America’s champion steeplechase trainer, nominated Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society, an Irish-bred who finished a good third last year, 2 1/4 lengths behind Senior Senator.

Here are the 20 early nominees to the $100,000 Maryland Hunt Cup.

And the Eagle Flys. 2002 ch. g., Double Honor—Slick Mountain, by Peaks and Valleys. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Philip and Karen Matthews (Fla.). 2016 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. Finished second in 2016 Grand National, then fell at 11th fence of Maryland Hunt Cup. Pulled up in the 2014 Grand National and Maryland Hunt Cup. Pulled up in the 2013 Grand National, his only start of the year. Won the 2012 Grand National but fell at the 17th fence of the Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished second in the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup.

Any Key. 2003 b. g., Polish Numbers—Acapella Chick, by Capote. Owner: Straylight Racing. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: A. Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck (Fla.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: No starts. Fell in 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after being distanced in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor. In only 2012 start, finished seventh in the Marshall Jenney Memorial maiden timber race at the Willowdale Steeplechase.

Battle Aray. 2008 b. g., Johar—Stormy Monday, by Storm Cat. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: William S. Meister. Breeder: Two Hearts Farm (Ky.) 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,800. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 3-0-0-1, $1,000. In return to the races after missing 2015 season, won Genesee Valley maiden timber race, then was fifth in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance.

De Chera. 2006 ch. g., Deputy Commander—Torchera, by Pirate’s Bounty. Owner-Trainer: H. Bruce Fenwick. Breeder: Hidden Point Farm (Fla.). 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. Finished fourth in a Virginia Fall maiden timber race and then fell in a Pennsylvania Hunt Cup maiden timber.

Derwins Prospector. 2008 ch. g., Van Nistelrooy—Stringtown Sally, by Crafty Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeders: Patricia Lagden and Devi Hall (Ky.). 2016 record: 4-0-1-1, $5,100. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $2,200. Finished sixth in 2016 Grand National, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished second in Genesee Valley’s maiden timber before third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup maiden timber.

Drift Society (Ire). 2008 b. g., Jackson’s Drift—Tansey Yearwood (Ire), by Moscow Society. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Eleanor Bennett (Ire). 2016 record: 3-1-1-1, $23,500. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 5-1-1-0, $14,000. Finished second in 2016 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2016 John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice allowance at My Lady’s Manor, then finished good third in Maryland Hunt Cup.

Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: H. Bruce Fenwick. Breeder: Martha Hopkins (Md.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. Finished 10th in 2016 My Lady’s Manor, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup. Fell while leading the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup. In only other 2014 start, finished second by a nose in the Grand National. Won the 2013 timber championship with late-season victories in the International Gold Cup (as 11.60-1 longshot) and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.

Great Halo. 2007 b. g., Great Notion—Noddy’s Halo, by Halo. Owner: Keystone Thoroughbreds. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Roland Farm (Md.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-1, $2,450. Finished fourth and was placed third in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial allowance timber after sixth in division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.

Guts For Garters (Ire). 2003 br. g., Presenting—Askynn, by Beau Sher. Owner: Stewart Strawbridge. Trainer: Sanna Neilson. Breeder: Keith Douglas (Ire). 2016 record: 1-0-1-0, $18,000. 2015 record: 2-0-2-0, $17,100. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $45,000. Finished close second in 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished third and placed second in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after second in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber amateur allowance race. Won the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup by a nose with a determined late drive.

Imperial Way. 2005 ch. g., Point Given–Lasha, by Rahy. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeders: McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Craig and Cathy Beam, et al. (N.Y.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $4,000. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $14,300. Finished fifth in 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after seventh in Grand National. Disqualified from win in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after losing saddle weights late in race. Just missed by a nose in thrilling 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup finish.

Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2016 record: 5-0-0-3, $8,000. 2015 record: 4-0-0-0, $5,750. 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,400. Finished fourth in 2016 Grand National, then fell in Maryland Hunt Cup and finished third in Willowdale amateur allowance timber. Finished third in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance timber race. Finished fifth and placed fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup.

Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2016 record: 4-0-1-2, $17,400. 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-1, $12,900. Finished third in 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup after second in Radnor Hunt Cup. Finished third in My Lady’s Manor and was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup. Fell in the 2015 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, his only start that year. Finished second in 2014 My Lady’s Manor before third in Virginia Gold Cup.

Our Town. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Purim—Eurosceptic, by Cozzene. Owners: Gerry Brewster, George Tydings, and Richard F. Blue Jr. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeder: F. Bruce Miller (Pa.) 2016 record: 3-0-1-0, $4,050. 2015 record: 2-0-1-0, $2,550. Pulled up in 2016 Virginia Gold Cup after finishing third and placed second in 2016 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber at Grand National. Finished sixth in first division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.

Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $48,000. 2014 record: 3-2-1-0, $29,700. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Began that season with third in Grand National. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.

Schoolhouse Woods. 2007 b. g., Sky Classic—Mabelino, by Trempolino. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Kinross Corp. (Ky.). 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 6-2-1-1, $46,700. 2014 record: 4-2-0-0, $21,000. Finished good third in 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup, a week after refusing at start of Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won Willowdale Steeplechase eight days after victory in Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. Also second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase.

Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeder: Charles C. D. McGill (Pa.) 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $60,000. 2015 record: 2-0-2-0, $10,800. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,000. Won 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after setting most of the pace. Finished first and disqualified to last for interference in 2016 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber at Grand National. Had second-place finishes in 2015 My Lady’s Manor and Grand National.

Serene Harbor. 2003 b. g., Valley Crossing—We Wak Harbor, by Waquoit. Owner: Welcome Here Farm. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Nina Gardner (Pa.). 2016 record: 2-0-0-1, $8,000. 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2014 record: 3-2-0-0, $21,000. Finished third in 2016 Grand National, then fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup. Won Grand National in only 2015 start. Closed 2014 season with a runaway victory in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Returned to the races after a nearly two-year break and won a Winterthur timber allowance race that year.

Sumo Power. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Connie’s Spirit, by Theatrical (Ire). Owners: Blythe Miller Davies and Charles Noell. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Mercedes Stable (Ky.). 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2014 record: 6-0-0-2, $4,700. Finished fourth in 2016 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber, then ninth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. Closed ground to finish second in Grand National timber allowance race. Had two wins over hurdles and is looking for first win over timber fences.

Wildcatter. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Tale of the Cat—Cita My Dear, by Kris S. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Ramona S. Bass (Ky.) 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $18,000. 2014 record: 3-1-0-1, $12,000. Finished eighth in 2015 International Gold Cup. Finished second and placed first in 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup after being pulled up in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Won maiden timber victory at 2014 Foxfield Spring.

Wingo Star. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Siphon (Brz)—Conowingo, by Valley Crossing. Owner: Holbrook Hollow Farm. Trainer: William Meister. Breeder: Bonita Farm (Md.) 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 6-1-0-0, $9,400. Won Genesee Valley maiden timber in 2015 before bolting at first fence in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance timber.