Merriefield Farm’s Foyle, the reigning timber champion, will make his 2014 debut against a crowded field of competitors in Maryland’s historic Grand National, the second jewel of the Free State’s timber triple crown, on Saturday, April 19. The $30,000 Grand National kicks off a three-race program at 3:15 p.m. at the Butler course.
Trained by Bruce Fenwick, Foyle took the 2013 timber title with a late-season surge that included victories in the International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. In the spring, he was placed first in the Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance after the first two finishers went off-course. James Slater again will ride the nine-year-old gelding.
The Grand National also attracted several of the timber competitors who finished behind Foyle in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park battled Foyle through the stretch and finished second by a half-length. Trainer Jack Fisher named Conner Hankin to ride.
Finishing third, another 1 1/4 length back, was Holston Hall’s Hot Rize, who will be ridden by trainer Russell Haynes in the 3 1/4-mile Grand National. Also in the Grand National field is Rosbrian Farm’s More Fascination, who finished a distant fourth in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup on Nov. 3. Mark Beecher has a return call on More Fascination for trainer Tara Elmore.
Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do, a two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner, will be looking for his first success in the Grand National. He finished fourth in the 2012 Grand National before winning his second Hunt Cup. Last year, Twill Do finished seventh in the Grand National before a fourth in the Hunt Cup.
He is trained by Billy Meister, who also trains And the Eagle Flys, the 2012 Grand National winner who was entered for a shot at a second victory. And the Eagle Flys was pulled up in last year’s Grand National. Meister will ride And the Eagle Flys, and James Stierhoff will be aboard Twill Do. Meister also entered Irv Naylor’s Gorgeous Charger, who will be ridden by K. Fritz Boniface.
Who do you like in the Grand National?
And the Eagle Flys. 2002 ch. g., Double Honor–Slick Mountain, by Peaks and Valleys. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer-Jockey: William Meister. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2012 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2011 record: 2-0-1-0, $14,250. 10-1 odds. Pulled up in the 2013 Grand National, his only start of the year. Won the 2012 Grand National but fell at the 17th fence of the Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished second in the 2011 Maryland Hunt Cup after a fourth in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National meet.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. Jockey: James Slater. 2013 record: 5-3-0-0, $63,750. 2012 record: 3-1-1-1, $10,300. 2011 record: No starts. 5-1 odds. Won the 2013 timber championship with late-season victories in the International Gold Cup (as 11.60-1 longshot) and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in Virginia Gold Cup. Declared winner of Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial after first two finishers went off course. Started his timber career in 2012 and won maiden victory at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Twill Do. 2000 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–A Little Wild, by Wild Again. Owner: Lucy A. Goelet. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: James Stierhoff. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,750. 2012 record: 2-1-0-0, $46,500. 2011 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished fourth in 2013 Maryland Hunt Cup after seventh in Grand National. 10-1 odds. Became a two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner in 2012 after fourth-place finish in the Grand National. Winner of 2010 Maryland Hunt Cup lost rider in 2011 Grand National, his only start that year.
Embarrassed. 2005 b. g., Flatter—Stormy Blast, by Kayrawan. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Cormac Farrell. 2013 record: 6-1-1-1, $17,100. 2012 record: 7-1-0-2, $10,700. 2011 record: 10-1-1-2, $10,850. 10-1 odds. Pulled up at 19th fence of the 2013 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished distant third in National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup after fourth in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase. Within a week, finished second in 2013 Winterthur Bowl and then won $15,000 Willowdale Steeplechase over timber.
Hold Your Fire. 2004 c. g., Waquoit–Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: David Byrne. 2013 record: No starts. 2012 record: 1-1-0-0, $10,500. 2011 record: No starts. 20-1 odds. Won 2012 Winterthur Bowl in his previous start. Won maiden timber race at 2010 Virginia Fall Races. Bred by Mimi Voss; Maryland-bred is a half brother to two steeplechase champions, Guelph (filly and mare, 2005 and 2008) and Wanganui (three-year-old, 2011).
Courella (Ire). 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Corrouge—Vollobollea, by Baragoi. Owner: Kiplin Hall. Trainer: Nancy Knox. Jockey: Nick Carter. 2013 record: No starts. 2012 record: 1-0-1-0, $1,350. 15-1 odds. In first U.S. start, finished second in 2012 Willowdale Steeplechase. Raced in selling steeplechase races in England in 2011. Seeking first win in more than 2 1/2 years.
Hot Rize. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Sultry Song—Donesia, by Desert Wine. Owner: Holston Hall. Trainer-Jockey: Russell Haynes. 2013 record: 6-1-1-1, $27,500. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,050. 2011 record: 7-2-1-2, $23,100. 8-1 odds. Ended 2013 season with third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fourth in the National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup. Finished second by a nose in Radnor Hunt Cup after sixth in the Virginia Gold Cup as the 3.10-1 favorite. Won Middleburg Hunt Cup.
More Fascination. 2003 b. g., Dynaformer–Desiray, by Deputy Minister. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2012 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,000. 2011 record: 2-0-1-0, $6,300. 15-1 odds. Finished fourth in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after sixth in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Fell at the sixth fence of the 2012 Maryland Hunt Cup after third-place finish in the Grand National.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Conner Hankin. 2013 record: 3-0-2-0, $10,800. 2012 record: 2-1-0-1, $29,000. 2011 record: 6-2-0-2, $51,250. 6-1 odds. Finished game second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. In first start since winning the 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup, finished ninth in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase. Won the 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills.
Guts For Garters (Ire). 2003 br. g., Presenting—Askynn, by Beau Sher. Owner: FOXY Stable. Trainer: Sanna Neilson. Jockey: Jody Petty. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2012 record: 3-0-1-1, $10,700. 10-1 odds. Finished first in 2013 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Grand National but disqualified for going off course. In only other start, finished third in Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished third in 2012 Virginia Gold Cup after close second in the Murray.
Spencer Road. 2006 b. h., Slew City Slew—Snars Good Fortune, by Snars. Owner: Gerry Brewster, Eleanor T. Russell, and Joseph Tydings. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. 2013 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,000. 15-1 odds. Finished third in 2013 John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor before being disqualified from second to last for going off course in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Grand National.
Gorgeous Charger. 2003 b. g., Awad–Gorgeous Gerty, by Darn That Alarm. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: K. Fritz Boniface. 2011 record: 8-0-0-2, $6,450. Made no starts in 2012 and 2013. 20-1 odds. Finished seventh in the 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup after being pulled up in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished distant third Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs in Maryland and was well-beaten third in Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Grand National meet.