The $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup, the storied conclusion to the Free State’s timber-racing spring season, attracted a packed field of 14 for its four miles over post-and-rail fences in Glyndon on Saturday, April 30. Among the entrants are the front-running winners of the timber series’ first two races, the My Lady’s Manor on April 16 and the Grand National a week later.
Also on a busy day of National Steeplechase Association racing, Georgia Cup winner Complete Zen heads a highly competitive field for the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase in the Charlotte, N.C., area, and two champions will clash in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, featured contest of the Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va.
Merriefield Farm’s Bon Caddo, the My Lady’s Manor winner, again will be ridden by Blair Wyatt, who put the ten-year-old veteran on the lead and turned back a late challenge to win by three-quarters of a length.
Grand National winner Private Attack, who held on to defeat Hunt Cup entrant Incomplete by a neck, loses the services of retired champion jockey Blythe Miller Davies, who trains Fort Henry, an entrant for the 115th running of the Hunt Cup.
Robert A. Kinsey’s Incomplete will again be ridden by Charles Fenwick III, son of trainer Ann Stewart. Davies named Joe Delozier III to ride husband Joe Davies’ Fort Henry, an Irish-bred who finished second in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National meet in Butler.
The Murray may well prove to be a key race for the Hunt Cup, which also attracted Pink Ribbon Racing’s Won Wild Bird, who won the 3 1/4-mile Murray by 7 1/2 lengths in a time seven seconds faster than the Grand National at the same distance. Trainer Regina Welsh will again put Kristin Fischer in the saddle.
Also coming into the Hunt Cup from the Murray are third finisher Gorgeous Charger and And the Eagle Flys, who was fourth. Professor Maxwell, who fell in the Murray, also was entered for the Hunt Cup.
Northwoods Stable’s Volle Nolle, also trained by Welsh, finished third in the Grand National. Also entered were Armata Stables’ Haddix and Jeremy Batoff’s Prospectors Strike, both of whom lost their riders in the Grand National.
Mede Cahaba Stable’s Complete Zen, front-running winner of the $50,000 Priority Payment Systems Georgia Cup on April 16, will seek to carry his good karma into the $50,000 Queen’s Cup at the 16th annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase at Brooklandwood in Mineral Springs, N.C.
The Sport of Kings stakes contest for novices–horses in their first years of steeplechase competition–drew a field of six for the 2 1/4-mile race over SafeTfence fences.
Also on the seven-race program, reigning Eclipse Award winner Slip Away was entered for the Trugreen, a training flat race.
Complete Zen went right to the lead in the Georgia Cup and never looked back, winning by a head over All Together, the reigning novice champion. Trained by Lilith Boucher, the five-year-old Cozzene gelding will again be ridden by Richard Boucher, the trainer’s husband.
Roger O’Byrne’s Tizsilk also kicked off his 2011 season with a front-running victory, a 4 3/4-length score in the Sandhills Cup, an allowance race at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C., on April 9. Trainer Tom Voss named Matt McCarron to ride the six-year-old Tiznow gelding.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered a pair of contenders for the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, which is sponsored by Sonitrol Security Systems. Magalen O. Bryant’s Triplekin will be making his first start in nearly a year. In his final 2010 start, he defeated a solid field in an allowance race at the Tanglewood Cup Steeplechase in Clemmons, N.C. Brian Crowley has the mount.
Port Morsbey, bred and owned by all-time National Steeplechase Association leading owner Augustin Stables, won a Sport of Kings maiden hurdle race at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25 but was unplaced against seasoned competitors in an optional allowance at the International Gold Cup races in The Plains, Va., on Oct. 16. Sheppard named Danielle Hodsdon to ride.
Trainer Kathy McKenna will send out Move Up Stable’s Quiet Approval, an easy winner at the Saratoga Open House in July and then fourth in the $100,000 Helen Haskell Sampson (Gr. 1) at Monmouth on Sept. 25. Completing the field is Stephen Price’s Fealing Real, an Irish-bred import who led early in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at the Far Hills Races on Oct. 23 but then was eased. Willie McCarthy will ride Fealing Real for trainer Nick Carter.
Two reigning champions, Ptarmigan and Demonstrative, and three high-quality mares from the stable of trainer Jazz Napravnik highlight the ten-horse field for the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, the featured race of the 34th annual Foxfield Spring Races.
Ptarmigan, owned by Magalen O. Bryant and trained by Doug Fout, will be making her first 2011 start and shooting for a second straight Van Clief victory. She won last year’s race by 14 1/2 lengths and locked up the Life’s Illusion filly and mare championship with a narrow score in the Guelph Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 25. Jeff Murphy will ride.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative will be making his second start of the year. He finished second in a tough allowance race at the Aiken Spring Races in Aiken, S.C., on March 26. The Elusive Quality gelding took the three-year-old championship with a score in the Raymond G. Woofe Memorial at the Colonial Cup Steeplechase in Camden, S.C., on Nov. 13. Trainer Richard Valentine named Robbie Walsh to ride.
Napravnik’s three-mare entry includes Flying Horse Farm’s Farah T Salute won and Jennifer Pitts’ Green Velvet, who had significant victories against each other last fall. Green Velvet won the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills on Oct. 23, with Farah T Salute checking in third. In the Crown Royal Hurdle at Callaway Gardens in Georgia two weeks later, Farah T Salute won and Green Velvet was fourth. Xavier Aizpuru rides Farah T Salute, and Ross Geraghty will be aboard Green Velvet.
Napravnik’s third mare, Merriefield Farm’s Pensy, won her maiden start over fences at the Carolina Cup meet in Camden on April 2.
Trainer Jack Fisher entered Straight to It, who started out the year with a third-place finish in the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover optional allowance at the Carolina Cup. Willie Dowling has the mount on the Giant’s Causeway gelding, who is owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster.