Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park will defend his 2014 victory in the $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup when he meets a top-caliber field on Sunday in the final timber stakes race of the National Steeplechase Association season. First post time is 1:30 p.m. at the Unionville course.
Delta Park, making his second start of the year, finished fifth in the New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 17 and will meet several opponents from that race in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Jack Fisher, who has all but clinched his fourth straight title as champion trainer, named Sean McDermott to ride Delta Park, who finished second in the four-mile Pennsylvania timber classic in 2013 after winning that year’s Radnor Hunt Cup.
Other contenders coming out of the New Jersey Hunt Cup are Kinross Farm’s Schoolhouse Woods (third), Renaissance Stable’s Aero (fourth), and Armata Stables’ Cornhusker (sixth).
Trainer Chris Read will give a leg up to Darren Nagle aboard Schoolhouse Woods. Kieran Norris rides Aero for trainer Doug Fout, and Mark Beecher will be aboard Cornhusker for trainer Alicia Murphy.
Leading owner Irv Naylor will be represented by Chess Board, trained by Billy Meister, and Kathy Neilson-trained Almarmooq. Fritz Boniface will be aboard Chess Board, and Gerard Galligan rides Almarmooq.
Completing the field is Upland Partners’ Sovereign Fund, most recently second to Schoolhouse Woods in the Willowdale Steeplechase on May 10. Annie Yeager rides Sovereign Fund for trainer Todd McKenna.
Here is the field for the $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Aero. 2005 b. g., Northern Spur (Ire)–Best Victory (Fr), by Cadoudal. Owner: Alfred C. Griffin Jr. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Eldon Farm Racing Stable (Va.) 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2014 record: No starts. In first start since fifth in 2013 International Gold Cup, finished fourth in New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2012 International Gold Cup after fourth in National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup. Won 2011 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup before second in International Gold Cup.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeders: Earl Silver and Michael Eiserman (Ky.). 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,000. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $24,800. Finished fifth in New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 17 and Willowdale Steeplechase on May 10. Won the 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Almarmooq. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer–Tuscoga, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeder: Stone Farm (Ky.). 2015 record: 3-0-0-0, $2,250. 2014 record: 6-1-3-0, $23,400. Finished sixth in Willowdale Steeplechase on May 10 after late fall in Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished distant fourth in Grand National. 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.
Schoolhouse Woods. 2007 b. g., Sky Classic—Mabelino, by Trempolino. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Christopher Read. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Kinross Corp. (Ky.). 2015 record: 5-2-1-1, $46,700. 2014 record: 4-2-0-0, $21,000. Finished third in New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 17, a week after refusing at start of Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Won Willowdale Steeplechase by 14 lengths on May 10, eight days after victory in Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon. Also second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase.
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: 3-1-1-0, $16,500. 2014 record: 5-0-0-1, $5,000. Finished second in Willowdale Steeplechase after losing rider in Maryland Hunt Cup. Opened 2015 season with win in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray timber allowance race. Finished fourth in 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Chess Board (GB). 2003 b. g., Vettori–Cruinn a Bhord, by Inchinor (GB). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Fritz Boniface. Breeder: Stanley Estate and Stud Co. (GB). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 3-0-0-1, $5,200. Finished seventh in 2015 debut, Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Finished sixth in 2014 Radnor Hunt Cup. Had third in the 2014 Middleburg Hunt Cup, then lost rider in the Virginia Gold Cup. Won 2013 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2015 record: 4-2-0-0, $66,250. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $50,300. Finished sixth in New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 17. Won Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial for the second straight year on May 9. Won 2015 Middleburg Hunt Cup after sixth-place finish in My Lady’s Manor. Ended 2014 season with second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.