The 24th edition of the Willowdale Steeplechase on Sunday will feature crowded fields for its varied menu of races, including an oversubscribed field for the featured $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase.
First post time for the six-race program is 1:30 p.m. at the Willowdale Steeplechase course in Kennett Square, Pa.
Entries poured in for the popular eastern Pennsylvania race meet, and three races feature also-eligible lists. The $15,000 Marshall Jenney Memorial Foxhunter’s Chase for amateur apprentice jockeys drew 16 entries.
Baltimore-based Bruton Street-US has been building a strong stable of hurdle and timber horses, and it will seek the Willowdale Steeplechase’s $15,000 first-place purse with Ballylifen, an Irish-bred who finished fourth in the My Lady’s Manor on April 16. Connor Hankin will ride for trainer Jack Fisher.
Looking to roar at the Kennett Square course is owner-trainer-breeder Elizabeth Korrell’s Leffingwell Lion, who was placed first in the Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber on April 23. James Slater has the mount.
Trainer Ivan Dowling will be aboard Phoebe D. Fisher’s Organisateur, a recent convert to timber racing who fell in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 7.
Merriefield Farm’s Foyle, the 2013 timber champion, will be looking for his first victory of the season in the 3 1/2-mile Willowdale Steeplechase. Trained by Bruce Fenwick, he most recently fell in the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Here is the field for the $25,000 Willowdale Steeplechase with also-eligibles.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Martha Hopkins (Md.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. Finished 10th in 2016 My Lady’s Manor, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup. Fell while leading the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup. In only other 2014 start, finished second by a nose in the Grand National. Won the 2013 timber championship with late-season victories in the International Gold Cup (as 11.60-1 longshot) and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Prime Prospector. 2008 b. g., Seeking the Gold—Remember Love, by A.P. Indy. Owner: Peter A. Jay. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeder: Woodford Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,000. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $7,500. Finished fifth and placed fourth in the Grand National’s Benjamin H. Rush Memorial on April 23. Won maiden victory over timber at 2015 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Terko Service. 2007 b. g., Service Stripe—Terko Bates, by Bates Motel. Owner: Frank A. Bonsal Jr. Trainer: Ann D. Stewart. Jockey: Casey Pinkard. Breeder: Campbell Stable (Mich.) 2016 record: 1-0-0-1, $1,500. 2015 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,000. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $500. Finished third in 2016 Winterthur timber allowance race for second straight year.
Tax Ruling. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer–Fantastic Find, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: James Slater. Breeder: Phipps Stable (Ky.) 2015 record: 4-0-2-1, $21,000. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $9,900. Set pace in New Jersey Hunt Cup and fought back to finish second. Eighth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase after third straight second-place finish in Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial. Opened 2015 season with third in My Lady’s Manor. Two-time Iroquois (Gr. 1) winner.
Montsaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner; Black and Blue Stable. Trainer-jockey: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis. 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2015 record: 7-1-2-0, $23,800. Had rough start to 2016 season when pushed off course in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial. Won maiden timber victory at 2015 Steeplechase at Callaway by nine lengths.
Leffingwell Lion. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Spruce Head, by Val de’Orne (Fr). Owner-trainer: Elizabeth C. Korrell. Jockey: James Slater. Breeder: Elizabeth Cousins-Korrell (Pa.) 2016 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2015 record: 3-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: No starts. Won 2016 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber at Grand National. Pulled up in Virginia Fall maiden timber race on Oct. 10, after seventh-place finish in Shawan Downs maiden timber.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Donald Reuwer Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Fritz Boniface. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,200. 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $31,050. 2014 record: No starts. Finished fifth in 2016 My Lady’s Manor. Closed 2015 campaign with runaway victory in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance. In first start in more than two years, won Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber by seven lengths, then was sixth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup.
Ballylifen (Ire). 2007 b. g., Brian Boru—Line Jade, by Luchiroverte. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Connor Hankin. Breeder: J. Mangan (Ire). 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,500. 2015 record: 5-2-0-1, $35,750. 2014 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. Finished fourth in 2016 My Lady’s Manor. Won Steeplechase at Callaway timber allowance race after fourth in International Gold Cup. Finished third in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Finished fourth in 2015 Virginia Gold Cup after winning division of John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor.
Organisateur (Ire). 2005 b. g., Highest Honor (Fr)—Willamina (Ire), by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Phoebe D. Fisher. Trainer-jockey: Ivan Dowling. Breeder: Wertheimer et Frere (Ire). 2016 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-1-1-0, $22,500. Began 2016 with second in My Lady’s Manor, then fell in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in 2014 Virginia Gold Cup after impressive win in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor.
Triton Light. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Vicar—Angela, by Private Terms. Owner-trainer: Nicki Valvo. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Coleswood Farm (W.Va.) 2016 record: 1-0-0-0, $750. 2015 record: 5-0-0-1, $5,200. Finished fourth in Middleburg Spring steeplechase to open 2016 campaign. Placed third in Virginia Gold Cup’s 2015 Steeplethon.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: K. Walsh. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2015 record: 4-0-0-0, $5,750. 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,400. Finished fourth in 2016 Grand National, then fell in Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in 2015 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance race after fall in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Finished fifth and placed fourth in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Puller. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Elberton Hill Farm (Md.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-1, $1,500. 2015 record: 4-1-1-1, $14,150. Finished ninth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate to open 2016 campaign. Scored maiden victory over timber at 2015 Virginia Fall meet.
Mecklenburg. 2004 b. g., Mecke—Northwest Key, by Northrop. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. Jockey: Annie Yeager. Breeder: Anne Haynes (Va.) 2016 record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $18,000. Finished second in 2016 Western Run Plate amateur allowance timber at Grand National. Won 2012 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup after good second in Mason Houghland Memorial Timber Stakes at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase. Collected first career victory in Benjamin H. Murray Memorial allowance timber race at Grand National in Butler, Md., that year.
Super Saturday. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Any Given Saturday—Lady Aloma, by Cozzene. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Walton Breeders (Ky.) 2016 record: 2-0-1-0, $3,950. 2015 record: 4-1-1-0, $19,800. 2014 record: 5-1-0-1, $13,000. Began 2016 campaign with second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt steeplechase, then was fourth in Winterthur Bowl. Finished fifth in 2015 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup. Started 2015 with 2 1/4-length victory in Carolina Cup’s allowance timber race, then was second in Middleburg Hunt Cup and fifth in Winterthur Bowl.