Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park closed out his 2014 campaign with a game victory in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, and he will make his 2015 debut in the $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase, the signature race of the 23rd annual Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on Sunday.
First post time for the six-race, Mother’s Day program is 1:30 p.m.
Under the care of reigning champion trainer Jack Fisher, Delta Park also has won the 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and the 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup. He and jockey Connor Hankin will find plenty of competition over the Willowdale Steeplechase’s 3 1/2 miles on the steeplechase course.
Kinross Farm’s homebred Schoolhouse Woods put in a strong performance in winning the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon on May 2, and he is coming back on six days’ rest for a shot at the Willowdale Steeplechase’s $15,000 first-place purse.
Trainer Todd McKenna will saddle Upland Partners’ Sovereign Fund, winner of the Benjamin H. Murray timber allowance race at the Grand National on April 18 before losing rider Annie Yeager at the 11th fence of the Maryland Hunt Cup a week later. Yeager will be in the saddle.
Irv Naylor, the reigning champion owner, will be represented by Almarmooq and Personal Brew. Almarmooq finished fourth in the Grand National on April 18 but fell in the latter stages of the Maryland Hunt Cup a week later. Personal Brew became a timber winner at the Foxfield Spring meet in Charlottesville, Va., on April 25. Trained by Kathy Neilson, Almarmooq will be ridden by James Slater, and Billy Meister-trained Personal Brew will have Fritz Boniface in the saddle.
The first two finishers in the Western Run Plate amateur allowance timber at the Grand National meet will contest the Willowdale Steeplechase. Jeremy Batoff’s Major Malibu won by 1 1/2 lengths over Sumo Power, owned by trainer Blythe Miller Davies and Charles Noell. Justin Batoff rides Major Malibu, and Erika Taylor will be aboard Sumo Power.
Here is the field for the $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase:
Almarmooq. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer–Tuscoga, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: James Slater. Breeder: Stone Farm (Ky.). 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2014 record: 6-1-3-0, $23,400. Finished fourth in the Grand National on April 18 before falling a week later at Maryland Hunt Cup’s 19th fence. Capped busy 2014 fall season with victory in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s Arthur O. Choate Jr. timber allowance after second in timber allowance at International Gold Cup. Also had second-place finishes in Willowdale timber allowance race and Benjamin H. Murray amateur timber allowance race at Grand National.
Sovereign Fund. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Giant’s Causeway—Colonial Play, by Pleasant Colony. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeder: Robert S. Evans (Ky.). 2015 record: 2-1-0-0, $12,000. 2014 record: 5-0-0-1, $5,000. Won 2015 Benjamin H. Murray timber allowance race at Grand National before losing rider at 11th fence of Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after third in Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial at Genesee Valley Hunt Races in upstate New York.
Dont Tell Sailor (Ire). 2006 b. g., Saddlers’ Hall (Ire)—Pharlen’s Dream, by Phardante (Fr). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Paddy Neilson. Jockey: Martin Rohan. Breeder: Edmond Coleman (Ire). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,200. 2014 record: 3-1-0-1, $12,500. Finished fifth in 2015 Grand National. Won a maiden timber race at Willowdale last May, finished fourth in the International Gold Cup’s timber allowance race, and was third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s timber allowance.
Schoolhouse Woods. 2007 b. g., Sky Classic—Mabelino, by Trempolino. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Martin Rohan. Breeder: Kinross Corp. (Ky.). 2015 record: 2-1-1-0, $26,700. 2014 record: 4-2-0-0, $21,000. Won 2015 Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon after second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase. Finished fourth in 2014 International Gold Cup after win in Virginia Fall optional allowance hurdle.
Personal Brew. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Milwaukee Brew—Sergeant Mimi, by Personal Flag. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Fritz Boniface. Breeder: Tammy Barnes and John Ubelhor (Ky.) 2015 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. 2014 record: No starts. Finished 10th in second division of John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor and then won timber maiden at Foxfield Spring in Virginia.
Major Malibu. 2004 b. g., Malibu Moon–Major Barbara, by Salutely. Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Justin Batoff. 2-1-0-0, $6,000. 2014 record: 4-0-2-0, $7,350. Won Grand National timber allowance race after being pulled up in amateur allowance timber race at My Lady’s Manor. Finished sixth in 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after being pulled up in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase. Finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in Willowdale Steeplechase.
Classy Rascal. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Kalki’s Pride, by Regal Classic. Owner: Ken Garcia. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Martin Rohan. Breeder: Ken Garcia (N.J.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,500. 2014 record: 3-0-0-1, $2,400. Finished third in 2015 Winterthur maiden timber race after eighth in Grand National timber allowance.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Connor Hankin. Breeders: Earl Silver and Michael Eiserman (Ky.). 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $24,800. Won the 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Finished third in the Grand National before fall in Maryland Hunt Cup. Ended 2013 season with game second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Sumo Power. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Connie’s Spirit, by Theatrical (Ire). Owners: Blythe Miller Davies and Charles Noell. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. Jockey: Erika Taylor. Breeder: Mercedes Stable (Ky.). 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,800. 2014 record: 6-0-0-2, $4,700. Closed ground to finish second in Grand National timber allowance race. Had two wins over hurdles and is looking for first win over timber fences.
Leffingwell Lion. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Spruce Head, by Val de l’Orne (Fr). Owner-Trainer: Elizabeth C. Korrell. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeder: Elizabeth Cousins-Korrell (Pa.). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: No starts. In first start since November 2013, finished ninth in first division of John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor on April 11.
Illustration. 2007 ch. g., Pleasant Tap–Sabratical, by Wavering Monarch. Owner-Trainer-Jockey: Conrad Somers. Breeder: Jim Plemmons (Ky.) 2014 record: 3-0-1-0, $2,800. Finished ninth in 2014 Virginia Gold Cup, his most recent race. Finished second, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber race at My Lady’s Manor.