Irvin L. “Skip” Crawford’s Senior Senator, making his first sanctioned start since an early exit in last year’s Maryland Hunt Cup, set the early pace in Saturday’s $50,000 Grand National, surrendered the lead, and then surged late to win Saturday’s $50,000 Grand National for a second straight year, again by a 1 1/2-length margin. Senior
Lonesome Glory Award winner Mr. Hot Stuff and the rival who finished two noses behind him in last year’s Grand National (Gr. 1), All the Way Jose, will clash again Saturday in the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), the featured race of the 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park.
The Temple Gwathmey, elevated to Grade 2 status this year, will anchor a seven-race program that also includes the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup over timber. First post time at the Northern Virginia course is 1 p.m.
Gillian Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, trained by Jack Fisher, claimed the Lonesome Glory Award as 2017’s leading steeplechase earner when he surged to a nose victory in the $400,000 Grand National at the Far Hills Races in October. The 12-year-old veteran will carry the Temple Gwathmey’s 158-pound highweight.
Third in the 2009 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) and unplaced in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1), Mr. Hot Stuff made a successful transition to jump racing and won the 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and the 2015 Temple Gwathmey. He was third last year at Glenwood. Hadden Frost will be in the saddle.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way ran gamely in the Grand National and finished third, less than a foot behind Mr. Hot Stuff. In his preceding start, All the Way Jose had won Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).
He carries 156 pounds in the handicap, and his regular jockey, Darren Nagle, will ride.
Also at 156 pounds is Irv Naylor’s Sempre Medici, a promising hurdler in Ireland and England before being imported after his 2016 season. He missed last season, and trainer Cyril Murphy named Barry Foley to ride the French-bred in his U.S. debut.
Naylor, the National Steeplechase Association’s champion owner in six of the last eight years, also will be represented by Jamarjo, trained by Leslie Young. The consistent Irish-bred won last year’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the Radnor Hunt Races and was fourth in the Grand National. Kieran Norris has the riding assignment on Jamarjo, who carries 148 pounds.
Zanjabeel, a five-year-old who is one of the sport’s emerging stars, will go after his first graded stakes win in the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey. He was purchased by Rosbrian Farm and Wendy and Ben Griswold after winning Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Two weeks later, he won the Aflac Supreme Hurdle, also for novices, at the Steeplechase at Callaway.
He started the year with a second in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) at the Carolina Cup on March 31. Trainer Ricky Hendriks named Ross Geraghty to ride Zanjabeel, who carries 150 pounds.
Fisher, the sport’s leading trainer for the last six years, also will saddle Edith Dixon’s Schoodic and Sonny Via’s Hinterland, who finished third and fourth, respectively, in the Colonial Cup. Willie McCarthy will be aboard Schoodic, and Sean McDermott rides Hinterland.
DASH Stable’s Ice It, winner of last year’s $75,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, has been nominated for a chance at back-to-back wins in the featured hurdle of the 23rd annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase on Saturday, April 28. The annual extravaganza at Brooklandwood Race Course near Charlotte, N.C.—the Queen City—offers a varied program of hurdle, timber,
The three most recent Maryland Hunt Cup winners and the two-time winner of the Virginia Gold Cup will meet Saturday in the $50,000 Grand National, the second jewel of Maryland’s timber triple crown. In all, 10 horses were entered to contest the Grand National’s 3 1/4 miles. First post for the three-race program in Butler
Two timber champions, both from the stable of top trainer Jack Fisher, will face off Saturday in the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup, the featured timber contest of Saturday’s 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park. The seven-race program also features the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), which attracted many of the sport’s top
Riverdee Stable’s Gibralfaro, making his first U.S. start, turned back a surging Lord Justice to win Saturday’s $35,000 Block House, the featured contest of the 72nd annual Tryon Block House in Columbus, N.C.
Ridden by Sean McDermott, Gibralfaro battled with Rosbrian Farm’s Sixty Five to the last fence of the allowance hurdle before putting away the French-bred ridden by Ross Geraghty.
Bruton Street-US’s Lord Justice found another gear in the stretch of Green Creek Race Course and closed stoutly under Jack Doyle to challenge Gibralfaro, but his bid fell a neck short at the line. Sixty Five finished third, five lengths farther back.
Gibralfaro and Lord Justice, both Irish-breds, are trained by Jack Fisher, the reigning champion trainer by wins and purses. Gilbralfaro, making his first Stateside start after a career in England, ran the Block House’s 2 1/8 miles in 3:55 2/5 on firm turf.
Trainer Richard Valentine and jockey Shane Crimin combined for a double at Tryon Block House. They won the afternoon’s first race, a maiden hurdle, with Magalen O. Bryant’s Bob’n for Silver. Riding the trainer’s Life Said, Crimin went to the winner’s circle in the afternoon’s ratings handicap hurdle.