Owner Irv Naylor, trainer Cyril Murphy, and jockey Carol-Ann Sloan collected their second stakes victory in a week when American Ladie prevailed in the $30,000 Valentine Memorial, the featured race at the 46th annual Fair Hill Spring Races in Fair Hill, Md., on Saturday, May 24.
American Ladie, a British-bred mare, pulled something of an upset when she defeated eight males in the starter handicap for horses who had started for a claiming price of $30,000 or less in 2013 or 2014. She scored by a half-length over Rosbrian Farm’s Wantan. Ricky Hendriks, who trains Wantan, also accounted for the third spot with Dale Thiel’s Call Me Sonny, the 2013 Valentine Memorial winner. Why Not Racing’s Class Bopper, who led for most of the race, finished third.
Sloan placed American Ladie back in the pack for the first 1 1/2 miles, made her move approaching the second to last fence, and overtook a game Wantan and jockey Paddy Young after the final fence. Call Me Sonny, ridden by Willie McCarthy, finished 8 1/4 lengths farther back. The mare ran the Valentine’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:13.80 on firm turf to cap a beautiful, sun-splashed afternoon in northern Maryland.
The owner-trainer-jockey combination had won the $50,000 National Hunt Cup a week earlier with Decoy Daddy at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa.
Absent from the race course last year, American Ladie made her 2014 debut with a one-length victory in the Rose Tree Cup, a claiming hurdle at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 11. The $18,000 first-place purse raised her earnings for the current season to $27,000.
Naylor and trainer Murphy also combined forces to win the $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle with Address Unknown, another British-bred. In the saddle was 2012 champion jockey Ross Geraghty, who collected three wins on the afternoon.