The 2021 Maryland Steeplechase Association Governor’s Cup Series kicked off on Saturday, March 27 with the Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point. This first point-to-point, held at Shawan Downs each year, is often run under cold, damp conditions, but this year the weather was perfect and it felt like spring. Even better was the presence of spectators who made the day feel more normal.
A full card of junior, timber, and flat races were held, starting with the pony flat races. Junior rider William Slater rode two winners, starting with Hoof Hearted in the Small Pony Flat Race. He also won on another small pony, Chewy, this time in the Stuart S. Janney, Jr. Memorial Junior Field Masters Chase. Cassidy Cessna won the Medium Pony Flat Race on Betty McCue’s Charleston and Thomas Houghton won the Large Pony Flat Race on WMT Stables’ Charmed. In the Junior Field Masters Chase, Carly Kern won the medium pony division on Jigsaw and Delaney O’Neil won the large pony division on Balls to the Walls. Both of these ponies are owned and trained by Mimi Schmitz.
The junior horse division of the Junior Field Masters Chase was won by Jaidyn Shore and Grandiflora. Grandiflora, a Maryland-bred, is owned by Ann W. Merryman and trained by Suzanne Stettinius. Prior to becoming a Junior Field Masters Chase winner, Grandiflora ran more than 50 times at the racetrack and earned over $350,000. His last start was in 2019 and he was trained by Ann Merryman. Carly Kern was second in the horse division on All the Way Jose, a former hurdle horse. He is also trained by Suzanne Stettinius and owned by Erica Gaertner. All the Way Jose won over $450,000 during his successful career for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard topped by a victory in the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park in 2017. Patrick Gallagher was third on I Am Not Here, another former hurdle racer.
The timber races started off with the Worthington Bowl Heavyweight Timber which was won by Armata Stables’ Goodoldtimes. The seven year old gelding was ridden by Eddie Keating and trained by Alicia Murphy. Goodoldtimes raced at the back of the pack for most of the race, made up ground around the final turn, and dueled Rocket Star Red and Brett Owings in the stretch to prevail by a neck.
The Daniel Baugh Brewster Memorial Novice Timber was split into two divisions. The first was won by Jeremy A. Batoff’s Lucky Soul, ridden by brother Justin Batoff, and trained by William Dowling. Lucky Soul took the lead not long after the drop of the flag and held on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Upland Partners’ Shootist and jockey Gerard Galligan.
The second division scratched down to a three horse race which was won by Holwood Stable’s Road to Oz. The gray gelding was ridden by Graham Watters and trained by Mark Beecher. Renegade River and Eddie Keating set the pace, landed over the last fence in front, but Road to Oz made a late run to get up in time for the win.
Graham Watters picked up his second win of the day in the Green Spring Valley Hunt Cup on Sheila J. Williams & Northwoods Stables’ Storm Team. Trained by Jack Fisher, Storm Team led from the drop of the flag and won easily. This was the Frank A. Bonsal Memorial Open Timber and consisted of five runners including two time Pennsylvania Hunt Cup winner and My Lady’s Manor winner Mystic Strike.
The last timber race of the day was the Kiplin Farm Bowl Amateur Apprentice Race. The three horse race was led by Katnap and Theo Sushko. McLane Hendriks and Pincer Movement followed closely behind for most of the race and Alex Leventhal raced at the back on Worzel Gummidge. With a few fences remaining Worzel Gummidge made a big move and won going away. Mark Beecher trains the seven year old gelding for Straylight Racing, LLC.
The day concluded with two flat races, starting with the two mile Amateur Flat. Trainer Mark Beecher scored his third win of the day when The Hundred Acre Field’s Cracker Factory won under Daisy Fenwick. Cracker Factory took the lead at about the half way point and held off another Mark Beecher trainee, My Afleet, who was ridden by Brett Owings. The Stoneworth Farm Training Flat was won by Perfect Tapatino and James Slater. Perfect Tapatino is owned by Leipers Fork Steeplechasers LLC and trained by Leslie F. Young, who also had the second place horse, Bodes Well.
To see all of Robert Keller’s photos from the day, click here.
To see full results, click here.
Next up on the schedule is the Elkridge Harford Point-to-Point on Saturday, April, 4. Similar to Green Spring, the day will offer a full card of junior, timber, and flat races. Entries can be found here.