Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, rebounding from his only loss of the season, overtook pacesetter Drift Society after the last fence of Sunday’s $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup and drove clear to a 3 3/4-length victory in the year’s final timber stakes race.
Naylor’s Super Saturday finished third, 38 lengths behind Drift Society, and 2015 timber champion Grinding Speed was fourth, another 9 1/4 lengths back.
Trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Darren Nagle, Ebanour ran the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s four miles in 9:33.40 on firm turf.
The victory was Ebanour’s third in four starts this year. He won the My Lady’s Manor and Virginia Gold Cup in the spring but lost his rider when he stumbled late in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup on Oct. 8.
Michael Wharton’s Grinding Speed set the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s early pace on a breezy but pleasant autumn afternoon, and he gave way to Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society on the second circuit of the Unionville course.
Last early, Ebanour began to advance after three miles and jumped the last fence a head behind Drift Society before drawing clear in the run to the finish line.
The Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s $21,000 first-place purse raised the Irish-bred’s 2016 earnings to $99,000 but left him short of Two’s Company, who won the National Sporting Library & Museum Cup on Oct. 8 before finishing second in the International Gold Cup.
Bruton Street’s Irish-bred earned $103,200, with four wins and two seconds in six starts. With no timber races scheduled for the one remaining meet of the season, the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., on Nov. 19, Two’s Company will be the year’s timber champion.
Naylor, assured of being the year’s champion owner, entered uncharted waters when his 2016 purses surged past $900,000 on a busy weekend of racing. Naylor set the National Steeplechase Association’s owner earnings record of $778,650 last year.