Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, a two-time Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup winner, heads a talented group of 11 nominees to the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor, the kickoff race for the Maryland timber triple crown on Saturday, April 14.
Run in Monkton, the historic My Lady’s Manor will have its 108th sanctioned running. It will be the afternoon’s first race with a 1:30 p.m. post time.
Trained in Butler, Md., by Cyril Murphy, the 11-year-old Irish-bred Ebanour won the 2016 edition of the three-mile My Lady’s Manor before his victories in that year’s Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. He repeated victories in those timber classics last year.
Jack Fisher, the National Steeplechase Association’s champion trainer the last six years, nominated two contenders, Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society and Straight to It, owned by Sheila Williams and Northwoods Stable.
Drift Society, second in last year’s My Lady’s Manor, ran a courageous second in the Maryland Hunt Cup, the finale of the Maryland timber triple on April 28. The middle jewel is the Grand National in Butler on April 21.
Straight to It, a battle-tested veteran of the timber division, won the 2016 Radnor Hunt Cup after finishing second in the Hunt Cup and fourth to Ebanour in the Virginia Gold Cup. The 12-year-old by Giant’s Causeway most recently finished fourth in last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup, a race he won in 2012.
Maryland-based trainer Todd Wyatt nominated Raven’s Choice, the 2015 Hunt Cup winner owned by Ann Jackson, and wife Blair Wyatt’s Witor. Raven’s Choice finished third in last year’s Grand National and was pulled up in the Virginia Gold Cup and Willowdale Steeplechase. German-bred Witor won a timber maiden race at Willowdale last spring.
Armata Stables nominated two contenders to the My Lady’s Manor. Grand Manan, who reliably sets the pace of his timber races, finished second last fall in the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup and the International Gold Cup, a race he won in 2016. He is trained by Billy Meister.
Wildcatter, trained by Elizabeth Voss, finished third in last May’s Radnor Hunt Cup, his most recent start. He won the 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup on the disqualification of Straight to It.
Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike, placed first in last May’s Radnor Hunt Cup on the disqualification of Ebanour, is undefeated in his three starts over timber. The nine-year-old is now trained by Mark Beecher.
Where’s the Beef, owned by Welcome Here Farm and now trained by Stephanie Dowling, won last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup and was third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Sara E. Collette’s homebred Zanclus, trained by Neil Morris, never has finished worse than second in five timber starts. Trainer Richard Valentine nominated Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew, winner of the 2014 National Sporting Library. He was pulled up in his only 2016 start and did not start last year.
Here are the 11 nominees to the 108th running of the My Lady’s Manor.
Dakota Slew. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Slew City Slew—Klearlee Kiera, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeder: Larry Curtis (Ky.) 2017 record: No starts. 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2015 record: 3-0-2-0, $31,200. 2014 record: 4-1-1-0, $32,600. Pulled up in 2016 Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in 2015 Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup after fourth in My Lady’s Manor. Won 2014 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at Virginia Fall before second in International Gold Cup and fifth in Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber race.
Drift Society (Ire). 2008 b. g., Jackson’s Drift—Tansey Yearwood (Ire), by Moscow Society. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Eleanor Bennett (Ire). 2017 record: 2-0-3-0, $23,400. 2016 record: 3-1-1-1, $23,500. Finished second by three-quarters of a length in 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup after stirring stretch fight. Finished second in 2017 My Lady’s Manor. Finished second in 2016 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2016 John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice allowance at My Lady’s Manor, then finished good third in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2017 record: 5-2-1-0-, $89,150. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $78,000. Won Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in 2016 and 2017. His 18-length win at Unionville followed fifth in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Was disqualified to second from win in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $82,950. Began 2017 fall season with second in Shawan’s Legacy Chase, followed by seconds in National Sporting Library and Museum Cup and International Gold Cup. Finished fourth in 2017 My Lady’s Manor, then was 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.
Mystic Strike. 2009 b. h., Smart Strike—Mystic Rhythms, by Citidancer. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Peter Vegso Racing (Fla.). 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $27,000. 2016 record: 1-1-0-0, $9,000. Barely beaten and then placed first in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2017 debut in Grand National’s Western Run Plate. In only 2016 start and first run over fences, won a Winterthur allowance timber race.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,300. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. Finished third in 2017 Grand National, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup and Willowdale Steeplechase. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Thierry Grandsir (Ky.). 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $7,250. 2016 record: 4-1-1-1, $30,900. 2015 record: 4-1-1-1, $36,600. Began 2017 campaign with fourth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase, then was third in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library and Museum Cup and fourth in New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won 2016 Radnor Hunt Cup after fourth in Virginia Gold Cup, then was third in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won Virginia Fall’s 2015 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup by seven lengths. Disqualified from victory in 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills.
Where’s the Beef. 2008 gr. or ro. g., Rockport Harbor—Clair de Lune, by Regal Classic. Owner: Welcome Here Farm. Trainer: Stephanie Dowling. Breeder: Broodmares Anonymous Partners (Ky.). 2017 record: 5-2-1-1, $45,950. Won 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup after maiden win at Shawan Downs, then finished third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in the 2015 Carolina Cup and missed the 2016 season.
Wildcatter. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Tale of the Cat—Cita My Dear, by Kris S. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Ramona S. Bass (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,000. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $18,000. Finished third in the 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup after falling in Grand National. Finished second and placed first in 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspeil, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Blair Wyatt. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Gestut Farhof (Ger). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,250. 2016 record: No starts. Scored maiden timber victory at 2017 Willowdale meet and then was fourth in a Fair Hill timber novice.
Zanclus. 2010 ch.g., Xenodon—Jordani, by Two Smart. Owner: Sara E. Collette. Trainer: Neil Morris. Breeder: Sara E. Collette (Va.). 2017 record: No starts. 2016 record: 5-2-3-0, $56,500. Won a 2016 International Gold Cup timber allowance by 15 lengths and then was second in a similar race at the Steeplechase at Callaway. Scored maiden win at Foxfield Spring by more than 35 lengths that year. Never worse than second over timber before missing 2017 season.