Maryland-based trainer Jack Fisher will saddle two contenders for a highly competitive edition of the $40,000 Valentine Memorial starter stakes at the 45th annual Fair Hill Spring Races on Saturday, May 25. First post time is 1 p.m. for the nine-race Memorial Day weekend program with pari-mutuel wagering in Maryland’s Cecil County.
Fisher, the National Steeplechase Association’s reigning champion trainer and currently third in the standings by wins, will send out Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect, and All Together, owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster.
In his most recent start, Brave Prospect scored a two-length victory in a $30,000 starter allowance at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4. Robbie Walsh has the mount.
All Together, the sport’s champion novice in 2010, is looking to regain his best form in the Valentine Memorial, which honors longtime steeplechase patrons Miles and Joy Valentine. All Together became eligible for the Valentine by starting in the James M. Moran Jr. Memorial claiming hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races on May 18. To be eligible for the Valentine, the starters must have raced for a $30,000 or lower claiming price in the past two racing seasons.
All Together finished fourth in the Moran Memorial but was disqualified when his jockey, Xavier Aizpuru, failed to weigh in after the race.
Also coming into the Valentine from the Radnor race are Irv Naylor’s Organisateur, who was second, and Why Not Racing’s Complete Zen, who was a neck farther back in third. Trainer Brianne Slater will put Bernie Dalton in the saddle aboard Organisateur for the Moran, and Richard Boucher will ride Complete Zen for his wife, trainer Lilith Boucher.
Naylor also will be represented by Final Straw, who finished second in the Foxfield Spring Races’ Daniel Van Clief Memorial on April 28. Trainer Edward Mulligan named Jeff Murphy to ride.
Three-time champion jockey Paddy Young will be astride Dale Thiel’s Call Me Sonny, who is trained by Ricky Hendriks. In his most recent start, Call Me Sonny finished third to Brave Prospect in the Virginia Gold Cup starter allowance. Completing the field is owner-trainer Michael Leaf’s Durer, the fifth finisher in the Virginia Gold Cup race. Roddy Mackenzie will ride.