Straight to It and Grinding Speed, two of timber racing’s rising stars racing in 2012, will take on 2011 champion Bon Caddo in the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor, the historic three-mile race that kicks off Maryland’s timber triple crown. First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the four-race program in Monkton, Md., on Saturday, April 13.
Owned by Merrifield Farm, Bon Caddo finished third in last year’s My Lady’s Manor before a similar finish in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the final race of the storied Free State series. In 2011, Bon Caddo won the three-mile My Lady’s Manor and then galloped to an easy victory in the Virginia Gold Cup in early May.
The 12-year-old Bon Point gelding is trained by Bruce Fenwick, who named Christopher Read to ride.
Straight to It, owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster, had a successful fall season for 2012 champion trainer Jack Fisher. After a maiden timber victory at Shawan Downs, the seven-year-old won the New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills, N.J. Willie Dowling will ride.
Fisher also entered Northwoods Stable’s Eye Said Scat Cat, winner of a timber allowance race at the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., last May. Connor Hankin has the mount.
Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed, a maiden timber winner at the Winterthur Point-to-Point in Delaware in May, scored impressively in the $50,000 International Gold Cup in Virginia on Oct. 20. Maryland-based trainer Alicia Murphy named 2012 champion apprentice jockey Mark Beecher to ride seven-year-old Grinding Speed.
Kinross Farm’s Sand Box Rules closed out the 2012 season with a second-place finish in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Trained in Virginia by Neil Morris, Sand Box Rules will be ridden by veteran amateur jockey Diana Gillam.
Billy Meister, a long-time force in timber racing, will ride Yin Yang, whom he trains for NoGo Stable. Winner of the 2011 John Rush Streett amateur maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor, Yin Yang was pulled up in his only 2012 start, the Virginia Gold Cup.
Completing the field is Moonsox, now owned by Nelson & Traveler Stable and trained by Kevin Boniface. Second in the New Jersey Hunt Cup, Moonsox fell in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. All starters carry 165 pounds.
My Lady’s Manor traditionally offers three races, but the John Rush Streett drew an overflow crowd and was split into two large divisions. The John D. Schapiro Memorial for amateur apprentice jockeys also attracted a large field.