The $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase has attracted a strong, competitive list of 12 nominees to the featured race of the 27th annual Willowdale Steeplechase meet in Kennett Square, Pa., on Sunday, May 12.
The 3½-mile race over Willowdale’s steeplechase course will highlight the traditional Mother’s Day program. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
Monstaleur and Grand Manan, dead-heat winners of the 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase, both were nominated for a chance at a second victory. Black and Blue Stable’s Monstaleur most recently was closing in on Senior Senator in the Grand National on April 20 but stumbled at the last and unseated his jockey, trainer Forrest Kelly.
Armata Stables’ Grand Manan had led early and was pulled up in his two 2019 starts, in the My Lady’s Manor on April 13 and the Middleburg Hunt Cup a week later. The veteran is trained by Billy Meister.
Joe Davies, who trained Senior Senator to triple victories in the Grand National and Maryland Hunt Cup, nominated Frank A. Bonsal Jr.’s Stand Down, a dominant Willowdale allowance winner last year who later won the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. The Irish-bred opened 2019 with a second in the John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor.
Trainer Todd Wyatt nominated wife Blair’s Witor, who finished second in the My Lady’s Manor.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher nominated three contenders to the Willowdale Steeplechase. Bruton Street-US’s Lemony Bay finished third in the My Lady’s Manor in his first start in nearly 23 months.
Gil Johnston’s Hanno won the Queen’s Cup steeplethon over mixed obstacles on April 27, and Hyggelig Haven’s Political Theatre scored in a division of the John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor.
Kiplin Hall’s Katnap, a two-time steeplethon winner last spring for trainer Willie Dowling, finished sixth in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplethon on April 20.
Here are the 12 nominees to the $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase in alphabetical order.
Battle Aray. 2008 b. g., Johar—Stormy Monday, by Storm Cat. Owner: William Meister. Trainer: William S. Meister. Breeder: Two Hearts Farm (Ky.) 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Pulled up in Grand National’s 2019 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial and lost rider in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Won 2016 Genesee Valley maiden timber race.
Canyon Road. 2009 ch. g., Service Stripe—Observe, by Patton. Owner: Gordonsdale Farm. Trainer: Christopher Kolb. Breeder: Gordonsdale Farm (W.Va.) 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 4-0-1-1, $12,450. 2017 record: 4-0-1-0, $6,600. 2016 record: 5-2-0-1, $25,250. Finished second in 2019 Middleburg Hunt Cup. Closed 2018 with second in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup and third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Class Indian. 2007 gr. or ro. g., Waquoit—Class Story, by Class Secret. Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va.). 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $300. 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,650. 2017 record: 5-1-1-0, $13,650. Pulled up in 2019 John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor and lost jockey in Grand National. Finished sixth in 2018 Schapiro Memorial and Winterthur Bowl. Won 2017 Schapiro and 2016 Queen’s Cup timber allowance.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2018: 4-0-0-1, $6,200. 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. Led and was pulled up in 2019 My Lady’s Manor and Middleburg Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup after fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup on very soft ground. Lost rider while leading 2018 Willowdale Steeplechase. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Hanno. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Henrythenavigator—Archstone, by Arch. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: James B. Moseley (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2018 NSA record: 3-1-1-0, $20,600. Closed late to win 2019 Queen’s Cup Steeplethon. Won 2018 Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance.
Katnap (Fr). 2007 bl. g., Sleeping Car—Kitty Gale, by Strong Gale. Owner: Kiplin Hall. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeder: Susan Angela Bramall (Fr). 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $600. 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. 2017 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $12,000. Tired to finish sixth in Middleburg Spring’s 2019 Alfred M. Hunt steeplethon. Won 2018 steeplethon at International Gold Cup after score in Virginia Fall steeplethon. Found new ownership after finishing sixth in Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1) while trained by Joseph O’Brien.
Lemony Bay (GB). 2009 b. g., Overbury—Lemon’s Mill, by Roberto. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: G. R. Waters (GB). 2019 record: 1-0-0-1, $5,000. 2017 record: 2-1-1-0, $36,000. 2016 record: 5-3-2-0, $38,400. Finished third in 2019 My Lady’s Manor, his first start in almost 23 months. Won 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was game second in Virginia Gold Cup. Closed 2016 season with victory in Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance race. Won Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon and Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt after second in division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at 2016 My Lady’s Manor.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis (Va.). 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 4-0-1-2, $14,900. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Lost jockey late in 2019 Grand National. Finished second in 2018 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Was third in 2018 Grand National and Willowdale Steeplechase, then fifth in Brown Advisory Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs. Pulled up in 2017 Willowdale Steeplechase, his only start that year. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Political Theatre (Ire). 2019 b. g., Presenting—Red Square Lady, by Moscow Society. Owner: Hyggelig Haven. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Tom Egan (Ire). 2019 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2018 record: 5-0-1-2, $6,700. Won a division of 2019 John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor. Finished second in 2018 Shawan Downs timber maiden before fall at Virginia Fall.
Pured It. 2009 b. g., Purim—Judiths Humor, by Hennessy. Owner: Sycamore Run Farm and Move Up Stable. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Ashleigh Stud, Frank Ramos, and Jackie Ramos (Ky.) 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 6-0-2-1, $16,050. Lost jockey in Grand National’s 2019 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance. Closed powerfully to finish second in 2018 Willowdale Steeplechase, then finished third in Radnor Hunt Cup. Missed the 2017 season and returned with fourth in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber allowance at 2018 My Lady’s Manor. In first timber start and first jumps start in almost two years, won High Hope’s 2016 Jay Trump maiden hurdle by 10 1/4 lengths.
Stand Down (Ire). 2012 b. g., Yeats (Ire)—Quadrennial, by Un Desperado. Owner: Frank Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Mrs. E. Costelloe (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2018 record: 5-3-0-1, $45,000. Finished second in 2019 John D. Schapiro timber allowance at My Lady’s Manor. Won 2018 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Sustained first career defeat when third in 2018 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in International Gold Cup. Won first two career starts by open lengths, beginning with 2018 Grand National timber allowance and then Willowdale allowance timber.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspeil, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Blair Wyatt. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Gestut Farhof (Ger). 2019 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. 2018 record: 2-1-0-1, $13,000. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,250. Finished game second in 2019 My Lady’s Manor. Won 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor, then was third in Winterthur Bowl. Scored maiden timber victory at 2017 Willowdale meet and then was fourth in a Fair Hill timber novice.