Doc Cebu begins his pursuit of a third consecutive National Steeplechase Association timber championship on Saturday when he heads a field of seven for the 109th sanctioned running of the My Lady’s Manor, the first jewel in the Maryland timber triple crown.
My Lady’s Manor will have three important changes for this year. The purse for the meet’s signature race has been increased by two-thirds, to $50,000, and all four My Lady’s Manor races will be limited to amateur jockeys. In addition, the second division of the maiden timber race has been named in memory of Racing Hall of Fame trainer Tom Voss.
First post time will be 1:30 p.m. at the Monkton course.
Owned by Charles Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell, Doc Cebu locked up his second title with his second straight win in the International Gold Cup in October. After a third-place finish in the 2018 Middleburg Hunt Cup, he reeled off four consecutive wins, all by open lengths.
Fenwick and trainer Jack Fisher first tested Doc Cebu over timber in a division of the John Rush Streett Memorial maiden race at the My Lady’s Manor in 2017, and he won by 4½ lengths.
In his timber career, the nine-year-old Hard Spun gelding has eight wins, a second, and a third in 10 starts. Hadden Frost, who has ridden Doc Cebu in all but one of his timber starts, will be in the saddle.
While Doc Cebu will be a prohibitive favorite to claim the $30,000 first-place purse in the three-mile My Lady’s Manor, he will have worthy challengers. Fisher also will saddle Bruton Street-US’s Lemony Bay, winner of the 2017 My Lady’s Manor and second in that year’s Virginia Gold Cup. He is returning after missing the 2018 season and will be ridden by Brett Owings.
Also in the field is Gerry L. Brewster’s Derwins Prospector, a supplemental entry who won the 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup. He fell in last year’s running of the Hunt Cup, which completes the Maryland Timber Triple Crown series. He is trained by Joseph Davies and will be ridden by Annie Yeager.
Eric Poretz, who won last year’s Hunt Cup aboard Senior Senator, will be aboard Blair Wyatt’s Witor for the owner’s husband, trainer Todd Wyatt. German-bred Witor won last year’s John D. Schapiro Memorial, an amateur allowance timber race that concludes the My Lady’s Manor card.
Armata Stables’ front-running Grand Manan will be seeking to regain his best form in the My Lady’s Manor. Third in last year’s New Jersey Hunt Cup, he was pulled up in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Bethany Baumgardner will ride for trainer Billy Meister.
Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike returns to Monkton for a shot at improving on last year’s third-place finish in the My Lady’s Manor. Trainer Todd McKenna named Mark Beecher to ride.
Leading timber owner Irv Naylor will be represented by Aquies, who was third to Witor in last year’s Schapiro Memorial. Eddie Keating will be in the saddle for trainer Kathy Neilson.
Here is the field for the $50,000 My Lady’s Manor in post position order.
Mystic Strike. 2009 b. h., Smart Strike—Mystic Rhythms, by Citidancer. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Peter Vegso Racing (Fla.). 2018 record: 4-0-2-1, $17,600. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $27,000. Finished fifth in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2018 Radnor Hunt Cup and Winterthur Bowl after third in My Lady’s Manor. Barely beaten and then placed first in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup.
Aquies. 2012 b. g., Artie Schiller—Quies, by Quiet American. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eddie Keating. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. M. Roy Jackson (Ky.) 2018 record: 5-0-2-2, $9,300. 2017 record: 4-1-1-2, $15,700. Fell in 2018 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2018 Willowdale timber allowance after second a week earlier in similar race at Winterthur. Finished third in My Lady’s Manor’s 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial and second in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. Won 2017 Willowdale maiden timber and was third in Fair Hill novice timber.
Derwins Prospector. 2008 ch. g., Van Nistelrooy—Stringtown Sally, by Crafty Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeders: Patricia Lagden and Devi Hall (Ky.). 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $61,200. Fell late in the 2018 Grand National before fall at 18th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Won the 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup by three-quarters of a length in a stirring stretch battle. Finished fifth in the 2017 Grand National. Finished sixth in 2016 Grand National, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owners: Charles C. Fenwick Jr., Michael Hankin, and Charles Noell. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2018 record: 5-4-0-1, $57,000. 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. Timber champion, 2017, 2018. Won International Gold Cup for a second time to lock up 2018 timber title. Also won Shawan Downs’ 2018 Brown Advisory Legacy Chase by 3 1/2 lengths and scored a second victory in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup by seven lengths. Won Willowdale Steeplechase for a second straight year in 2018 after third in Middleburg Hunt Cup. Clinched 2017 timber championship with 11-length victory in International Gold Cup. Scored maiden victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2018: 5-0-0-1, $6,200. 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. Finished third in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup after fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup on very soft ground. Pulled up in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2017 International Gold Cup and National Sporting Library and Museum Cup. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspeil, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Blair Wyatt. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Gestut Farhof (Ger). 2018 record: 2-1-0-1, $13,000. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,250. Won 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor, then was third in Winterthur Bowl. Scored maiden timber victory at 2017 Willowdale meet and then was fourth in a Fair Hill timber novice.
Lemony Bay (GB). 2009 b. g., Overbury—Lemon’s Mill, by Roberto. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Brett Owings. Breeder: G. R. Waters (GB). 2017 record: 3-1-1-0, $37,500. Missed the 2018 season. Won 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was game second in Virginia Gold Cup and fourth in Radnor Hunt Cup. Won Virginia Gold Cup’s 2016 Steeplethon and Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase after second in division of John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.