The first three finishers from the 2016 Grand National and last year’s Maryland Hunt Cup winner will line up Saturday for the 115th annual edition of the $30,000 Grand National, the middle jewel of the Maryland timber triple crown.
The Grand National will kick off a program that features large and competitive fields for its three races over timber fences. First post time at the Butler course is 3:15 p.m.
Raven’s Choice, owned by Ann Jackson and trained by Todd Wyatt, scored a three-length victory in last year’s 3 1/4-mile Grand National, and he will again be ridden by former champion timber jockey Mark Beecher.
The Dance With Ravens gelding, now 10, was declared the 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup winner after first finisher Imperial Way was disqualified for losing weights over a fence. Raven’s Choice fell in last year’s Hunt Cup.
Merriefield Farm’s Imperial Way, seventh in last year’s Grand National, was entered for this year’s running by trainer Elizabeth Voss. Bethany Baumgardner will ride.
Mrs. William D. Class Jr.’s And the Eagle Flys, still competitive at age 15, finished second in the Grand National last year before falling in the Maryland Hunt Cup a week later. Keith Dalton was named to ride.
And the Eagle Flys is one of three contenders for leading timber trainer Billy Meister. He also entered Merriefield’s Battle Aray and Holbrook Hollow Farm’s Wingo Star. Baumgardner has a second call on Battle Aray, and Dalton also was named on Wingo Star.
Welcome Here Farm’s Serene Harbor, the 2015 Grand National winner, finished third in last year’s race before a fourth-place finish in the Hunt Cup. Trainer Todd McKenna named Annie Yeager to ride.
Eric Poretz will return aboard 2016 Hunt Cup winner Senior Senator for trainer Joseph Davies. Senior Senator finished first in last year’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber race at the Grand National last year but was disqualified for interference. He came back a week later with a brilliant performance to win the Hunt Cup.
Here is the field for the $30,000 Grand National.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 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.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Jockey: McLane Hendriks. 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.
Terko Service. 2007 b. g., Service Stripe—Terko Bates, by Bates Motel. Owner: Frank A. Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Ann D. Stewart. Jockey: Casey Pinkard. Breeder: Campbell Stable (Mich.) 2017record: 1-0-0-0, $450. 2016 record: 2-1-0-1, $10,500. 2015 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,000. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $500. Tightened for 2017 Grand National with sixth in John D. Schapiro amateur allowance timber at My Lady’s Manor. Won 2016 Willowdale amateur apprentice timber after third in Winterthur timber allowance race for second straight year.
Wildcatter. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Tale of the Cat—Cita My Dear, by Kris S. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Josh Newman. 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. Coming back after missing the 2016 season. 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.
Battle Aray. 2008 b. g., Johar—Stormy Monday, by Storm Cat. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: William S. Meister. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. 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.
Serene Harbor. 2003 b. g., Valley Crossing—We Wak Harbor, by Waquoit. Owner: Welcome Here Farm. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Annie Yeager. 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.
And the Eagle Flys. 2002 ch. g., Double Honor—Slick Mountain, by Peaks and Valleys. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Keith Dalton. 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.
Derwins Prospector. 2008 ch. g., Van Nistelrooy—Stringtown Sally, by Crafty Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Gonzague Cottreau. 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.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. 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.
Imperial Way. 2005 ch. g., Point Given–Lasha, by Rahy. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. 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.
Wingo Star. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Siphon (Brz)—Conowingo, by Valley Crossing. Owner: Holbrook Hollow Farm. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Keith Dalton. 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.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Steve Clements. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2016 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,550. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $19,800. 2014 record: 5-1-0-1, $13,000. Began 2016 campaign with second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase, then was fourth in Winterthur Bowl and seventh in Willowdale Steeplechase. Finished eighth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase and fifth in Virginia Fall’s Steeplethon.