Frank A. Bonsal Jr.’s Stand Down, decisive winner of last year’s Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, has been nominated to defend his victory in the year’s final timber classic on Sunday, Nov. 3.
The 85th renewal of the $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup attracted six nominees for its testing four miles over the Unionville countryside.
Stand Down, trained by Joseph G. Davies, would be seeking his first victory since last year’s Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. The Irish-bred began his sanctioned racing career last year at age six, and he capped that season with a 7¾-length score in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
He began this season with a second-place finish in the John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor and then was a distant fifth in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4. He opened the autumn timber-racing season with a fourth-place finish in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup on Oct. 12.
Two other Pennsylvania Hunt Cup nominees, It’s Nothing and Mystic Strike, also competed in the Upstate New York timber race.
It’s Nothing, owned by Move-Up Stables and Sally Reed, finished fifth in the Genesee Valley for trainer Kathy Neilson. In his prior start, It’s Nothing had defeated a strong field in Shawan Downs’ timber allowance on Sept. 28.
Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike was pulled up in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Virginia Gold Cup. Trained by Todd McKenna, the Smart Strike 10-year-old had opened the season with a victory in the My Lady’s Manor.
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday was nominated to the Pennsylvania classic after finishing second last year. Trained by Neilson, the Any Given Saturday 10-year-old has been chasing division leader Andi’amu all year. He finished third in the Virginia Gold Cup and second in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup on Oct. 12.
Also nominated from of the three-horse National Sporting Library was Blair Wyatt’s Witor, who finished seven lengths behind Andi’amu in third place. The German-bred is trained by the owner’s husband, Todd Wyatt, and finished second in the My Lady’s Manor and fourth in the Willowdale Steeplechase.
Trainer Richard Valentine nominated Kinross Farm’s Just Wait And See, who won a very soggy edition of the Willowdale Steeplechase by six lengths on May 12 after third-place finishes in steeplethons at the Middleburg Spring Races and the Virginia Gold Cup.
Here are the nominees to the $40,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in alphabetical order.
It’s Nothing. 2013 b. g., Congrats—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner-trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2019 record: 4-1-0-0, $7,500. 2018 record: 6-1-1-1, $20,800. Finished fifth in 2019 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won amateur apprentice timber allowance at 2019 Shawan Downs after sixth in Fair Hill allowance timber and seventh in Virginia Gold Cup. Won maiden timber victory at Fair Hill Races in May 2018. Completed 2018 season with fourth in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance race. Year-younger half-brother to timber allowance winner Aquies.
Just Wait and See (Ire). 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Acambaro—Connollys Glory, by Kadeed. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Andrew Connolly (Ire). 2019 record: 3-1-0-2, $27,000. 2018 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $4,800. Won 2019 Willowdale Steeplechase after third-place finishes in steeplethons at Middleburg Spring and Virginia Gold Cup. Finished third in International Gold Cup’s 2018 steeplethon.
Mystic Strike. 2009 b. g., Smart Strike—Mystic Rhythms, by Citidancer. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Peter Vegso Racing (Fla.). 2019 record: 3-1-0-0, $33,000. 2018 record: 4-0-2-1, $17,600. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $27,000. Pulled up in 2019 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won the 2019 My Lady’s Manor, then was sixth in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished fifth in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup and Winterthur Bowl after third in My Lady’s Manor. Barely beaten and then placed first in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup.
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: 3-0-1-0, $7,300. 2018 record: 5-3-0-1, $45,000. Finished fourth in 2019 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in 2019 Virginia Gold Cup after second in 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.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2019 record: 4-0-1-1, $18,400. 2018 record: 6-1-2-1, $51,800. 2017 record: 6-0-1-1, $13,400. Finished second in Virginia Fall’s 2019 National Sporting Library and Museum Cup. Finished third in 2019 Virginia Gold Cup, then fell in Radnor Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was third in the Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspeil, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Blair Wyatt. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Gestut Farhof (Ger). 2019 record: 3-0-1-1, $14,750. 2018 record: 2-1-0-1, $13,000. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,250. Finished third in 2019 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Finished game second in 2019 My Lady’s Manor, then was fourth in soggy Willowdale Steeplechase. 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.