Irv Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, a three-time stakes winner in 2013, has been nominated for a chance to defend last year’s victory in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), but four Grade 1 winners, including 2012 Eclipse Award winner Pierrot Lunaire, also are among the 11 nominations to the featured 2 1/2-mile race of the 93rd annual Middleburg Spring Races on Saturday, April 19. First post time will be 1 p.m. at Glenwood Park Course.
Decoy Daddy kicked off his season with the Gwathmey victory and then won the Radnor Hunt Races’ $50,000 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). In the fall, he won the Montpelier Hunt Races’ Noel Laing for a third year before finishing unplaced in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
Naylor also nominated For Non Stop, the runaway winner of the Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup allowance hurdle on April 5. Both Decoy Daddy and For Non Stop are trained by Cyril Murphy, who nominated Inti, Meritage Racing’s winner of the 2013 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs.
Mary Ann Houghland’s Pierrot Lunaire will be attempting to regain the form that carried him to the 2012 National Steeplechase Association earnings title and the Eclipse Award. He had two starts in 2013, a third when shooting for his second straight win the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) and a sixth in the Colonial Cup. Blythe Miller Davies nominated Pierrot Lunaire and the owner’s Molotov, third in last year’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1).
Gregory Hawkins’ Alajmal, who capped an extraordinarily competitive 2013 racing season with a victory in the Colonial Cup, was nominated by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot. The 2012 novice champion, Alajmal also won the 2013 Carolina Cup.
Finishing third in the Colonial Cup was Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Italian Wedding, who came back from an extended period on the sidelines to win the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course.
The fourth Grade 1 winner among the Gwathmey nominees is Magalen O. Bryant’s Gustavian, who won the Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park and then ran second in the Grand National. He is trained by Leslie Young.
Trainer Doug Fout nominated front-running Pleasant Woodman, owned by Virginia B. Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. Based in Middleburg, the six-year-old Woodman gelding kicked off his 2014 season with a front-end win in the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at the Aiken Spring Steeplechase on March 22.
Here are the 11 nominees to the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey:
Alajmal. 2008 b. g., First Samurai—Alattrah, by Shadeed. Owner: Gregory D. Hawkins. Trainer: Janet Elliot. 2013 record: 5-2-0-0, $93,750. 2012 NSA record: 6-2-1-1, $64,000. Began and ended the season with victories at Camden, S.C., in the Carolina Cup for novices and the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Novice champion of 2012 closed that season with a strong third in the Colonial Cup.
Albany Road. 2007 ch. g., Mr. Greeley—Jane’s the Name, by Trempolino. Owner: The Elkstone Group. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2013 NSA record: 6-1-1-1, $31,618. Won maiden hurdle at Fair Hill Races in late May before good second to All Together in Saratoga optional allowance on Aug. 1. Finished sixth in Colonial Cup’s allowance hurdle after third in Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle.
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 2013 record: 7-3-0-1, $89,500. 2012 record: 6-1-1-0, $34,300. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. Collected his third victory in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap, then was seventh in the season-ending Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Finished seventh in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8. Came back after being headed to win Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 18. Drew away to an 8 1/2-length win in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring Races on April 20.
Fog Island. 2006 b. g., Rossini—Orchid Island, by Broad Brush. Owner: Anne Pape. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2013 record: 3-0-1-0, $12,750. 2012 record: 5-1-0-0, $47,400. 2011 record: 8-1-1-0, $24,680. Abbreviated 2013 season began with second in Carolina Cup. Subsequently pulled up in Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase and ran fourth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Stakes. Won the 2012 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J.
For Non Stop (Ire). 2005 b. g., Alderbrook–Lost Link, by Shernazar (Ire): Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. In first U.S. start, roared to a runaway victory in the $25,000 Sandhills Cup at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 5. Had extensive racing career in England, where he earned more than $230,000, including $52,826 last year. Started in 2013 Grand National meet at Aintree, where he finished fifth in the John Smiths Melling Steeplechase. Finished second in the Ryanair Festival Trophy Steeplechase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
Gustavian. 2006 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Mossflower, by Affirmed. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Leslie Young. 2013 record: 5-1-2-1, $149,000. 2012 record: 5-1-4-0, $70,500. 2011 record: 5-2-2-0, $33,800. Finished second to Divine Fortune in the Grand National (Gr. 1), beaten 5 1/2 lengths, then unseated his rider in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Scored biggest victory of his career when he bested All Together by a nose in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at 3.85-1 on Sept. 19. Game second in Radnor Hunt Races’ National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) on May 18 after third in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) on April 20.
Inti (Uru). 2005 gr. or ro. g., Dubai Dust-Rigolina (Uru), by Ritz (Arg). Owner: Meritage Racing. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $33,500. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $20,400. Pulled 23.90-1 upset in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 1) on June 8. Finished fifth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Stakes for novices. Finished fourth in his first 2013 start, $25,000 Sandhills Cup at Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 6.
Italian Wedding. (150) 2005 b. g., Alphabet Soup–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 2013 record: 5-1-1-2, $133,000. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2011 record: 6-1-0-0, $55,200. Finished eighth in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 19, then was third in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Rallied for third in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 19. Notched a one-length score in Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Aug. 22. Finished a good second in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1 in his first start since fourth-place finish in the 2012 Carolina Cup.
Molotof (Fr). 2007 gr. g., Smadoun—Memorial, by Homme de Loi. Owner: Mary Ann Houghland. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-1, $15,000. In U.S. debut, finished third in $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 11. Won 32red Casino Steeplechase Handicap at Warwick in February 2013 and was third in an Ascot steeplechase allowance before U.S. debut.
Pierrot Lunaire. 2004 b. g., War Chant–Playact (Ire), by Hernando (Fr). Owner: Mary Ann Houghland. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $13,000. 2012 record: 5-2-0-1, $253,000. 2011 record: 3-0-0-1, $20,000. Finished fourth in the Grand National (Gr. 1) in his 2013 debut, then was sixth in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Locked up 2012 Eclipse Award with victory in Grand National at Far Hills, N.J., after stunning 48.75-1 win by a nose in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1).
Pleasant Woodman. 2008 ch. g., Woodman—Pleasant Sands, by Sandpit (Brz). Owner: Virginia Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. Trainer: Doug Fout. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. 2013 record: 9-2-1-1, $36,550. 2012 record: 6-0-1-1, $6,210. Used his front-end speed to wire the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at the Aiken Spring meet on March 22. Won maiden hurdle at 2013 Aiken Spring and then wired the Budweiser Holiday Cup at Aiken Fall. Finished second in a Virginia Fall optional allowance hurdle.