The $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase, the signature race of the Mother’s Day jump-racing program at Kennett Square, Pa., attracted an overflow field in what promises to be a highly competitive contest.
Sunday’s race kicks off the Willowdale Steeplechase Challenge, which offers a $100,000 bonus to any horse who wins the 25th edition of the Willowdale Steeplechase and the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in early November.
The 3 1/2-mile Willowdale Steeplechase anchors a seven-race program that attracted full fields. First post time is 1:30 p.m.
The Willowdale Steeplechase field, limited to 12 starters and amateur jockeys, features last year’s dead-heat winners, Grand Manan and Monstaleur.
Donald Reuwer Jr.’s Grand Manan, a contender for last year’s timber championship after winning the International Gold Cup, will be attempting to get his 2017 season in order after a fourth in the My Lady’s Manor and a tiring effort on deep going in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 6. Bethany Baumgardner rides the front-runner for trainer Billy Meister.
Black and Blue Stable’s Monstaleur will be making his first start since reaching the line together with Grand Manan in last year’s Willowdale Steeplechase. Trainer Forrest Kelly will ride.
Raven’s Choice, Ann Jackson’s 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup winner, was jumping well in the Virginia Gold Cup but tired in the last 1 1/2 miles. Trainer Todd Wyatt named his wife, Blair, to ride.
Welcome Here Farm’s multiple stakes winner Serene Harbor fell in the Grand National on April 22. Regular jockey Annie Yeager will ride for trainer Ivan Dowling.
Rosbrian Farm’s Class Brahms won the Grand National’s Benjamin Murray Memorial in his only 2017 start. Trainer Tara Elmore named former champion timber jockey Mark Beecher to ride.
Here is the field for the $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-1-1-0, $12,600. 2016 record: 2-2-0-0, $21,000. Opened his timber career with a maiden victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor and was second in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Won his two starts over hurdles in 2016.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Blair Wyatt. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,300. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $48,000. Finished third in 2017 Grand National, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Began that season with third in Grand National. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Naturally Won. 2012 gr. or ro. g., Afleet Alex—Cateleisha, by Smoke Glacken. Owner: Northwoods Stable. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Roger Quinlan. Breeders: Anthony Mitola and Keith Leonard (N.Y.) 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,000. 2016 record: 4-1-0-0, $10,000. Won maiden timber victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor and was fourth in Queen’s Cup timber allowance.
Class Brahms. 2008 b. g., Brahms–Class Babe, by Class Secret. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va.). 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2015 record: 3-0-0-2, $4,000. 2014 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,500. Won Grand National’s 2017 Benjamin H. Murray after a fall the previous year. Finished third in Fair Hill’s 2015 Valentine Memorial novice timber race after fifth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial and third in Grand National’s Murray Memorial timber amateur allowance race.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Jockey: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. 2015 record: 7-1-2-0, $23,800. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase after being pushed off course in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial. Won maiden timber victory at 2015 Steeplechase at Callaway by nine lengths.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 5-0-0-3, $8,000. 2015 record: 4-0-0-0, $5,750. Fell at sixth fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in 2016 Grand National, then fell in Maryland Hunt Cup and finished third in Willowdale amateur allowance timber. Finished third in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance timber race. Finished fifth and placed fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Serene Harbor. 2003 b. g., Valley Crossing—We Wak Harbor, by Waquoit. Owner: Welcome Here Farm. Trainer: Ivan Dowling. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeder: Nina Gardner (Pa.). 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 2-0-0-1, $8,000. 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2014 record: 3-2-0-0, $21,000. Fell in 2017 Grand National. Finished third in 2016 Grand National, then fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup. Won Grand National in only 2015 start. Closed 2014 season with a runaway victory in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Returned to the races after a nearly two-year break and won a Winterthur timber allowance race that year.
Wingo Star. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Siphon (Brz)—Conowingo, by Valley Crossing. Owner: Holbrook Hollow Farm. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Bonita Farm (Md.) 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 6-1-0-0, $9,400. Won Genesee Valley maiden timber in 2015 before bolting at first fence in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup allowance timber.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Donald Reuwer Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $31,050. Finished fourth in 2017 My Lady’s Manor. Pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup after setting most of pace. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup. Finished in dead heat for 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase win after fifth in My Lady’s Manor.
Henry San (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Exceed and Excell (Aus)—Esclava, by Nureyev. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Mrs. M. C. Sweeney (Ire). 2017 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. Won his 2017 opener in the Queen’s Cup allowance timber race. Front-runner scored maiden timber win at Pennsylvania Hunt Cup last November.
Touchdowntony. 2009 b. g., Bluegrass Cat—Broad Queen, by Broad Brush. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Gonzague Cottreau. Breeder: Carliwoods Farm (Ky.). 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $750. Finished fourth in John Rush Streett maiden timber at 2016 My Lady’s Manor. Attempting a timber career after being pulled up in his four starts over hurdles in 2014.
Whatdidyousee. 2019 gr. or ro. h., Tapit—Seeinsbelieven, by Carson City. Owner: Grey Lake Stable. Trainer: Ivan Dowling. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.). 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $1,500. In first career start, finished third in 2017 My Lady’s Manor maiden timber race.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Roger Quinlan. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,800. 2016 record: 5-0-1-0, $4,550. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $19,800. 2014 record: 5-1-0-1, $13,000. Finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National, then fell at fourth fence of Maryland Hunt Cup. Began 2016 campaign with second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase, then was fourth in Winterthur Bowl and seventh in Willowdale Steeplechase. Finished eighth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase and fifth in Virginia Fall’s Steeplethon.