A full field of talented timber-racing veterans will line up Saturday for the $20,000 Legacy Chase, the featured contest of the 14th annual Races at Shawan Downs in Hunt Valley, Md.
The six-race program kicks off the National Steeplechase Association’s fall championship season and includes two crowded training flat races. First post time is 1 p.m.
Two veteran stakes winners and a promising newcomer are among the contenders in the Legacy Chase, a three-mile race over timber fences. Michael Wharton’s Grinding Speed won last year’s Virginia Gold Cup and the 2012 International Gold Cup, both at The Plains, Va.
He finished fourth in this year’s Virginia Gold Cup on May 3 after a third in the My Lady’s Manor on April 12. Mark Beecher, a top timber jockey, will ride for trainer Alicia Murphy.
Caves Farm’s Nat Grew showed promise when he drew away to a 42-length win in the My Lady’s Manor and will be making his second start of the year in the Legacy Chase. Jody Petty will ride Nat Grew for trainer Edward Graham, who notched a victory in last month’s Arlington Million (Gr. 1) with Andrew Bentley Stables’ Hardest Core.
Jack Fisher, currently leading the NSA’s trainer standings, will saddle three contenders for the Legacy Chase. Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park won the 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and finished third in this year’s Grand National on April 19. Sean McDermott will ride.
Seer, owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster, finished second in this year’s Radnor Hunt Cup and again will be ridden by Sam Jones. Fisher also will send out Bruton Street-US’s City Press, most recently third in the Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 11. Connor Hankin will ride.
Also in the Legacy Chase field is Jeremy Batoff’s Major Malibu, who finished second in the Willowdale Steeplechase. Justin Batoff will ride for trainer William Dowling.
Irv Naylor, last year’s leading timber owner, will be represented by the durable veteran Saluda Sam, who won the Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon on May 3. Trainer Billy Meister named current leading jockey Willie McCarthy to ride.
Here is the field for the $20,000 Legacy Chase:
Nat Grew. 2004 b. g., Broken Vow–Ascot Starre, by Ascot Knight. Owner: Caves Farm. Trainer: Edward Graham. Jockey: Jody Petty. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2013 record: 2-1-1-0, $7,800. 9-2 odds. Scored an impressive 10 1/2-length victory in the My Lady’s Manor, his only 2014 start. Won maiden timber race at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in a timber maiden at Shawan Downs.
City Press (Ire). 2006 b. g., Presenting—Phargara, by Phardante. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Connor Hankin. 2014 record: 2-1-0-1, $11,500. 2013 NSA record: No starts. 10-1 odds. Finished third in Willowdale Steeplechase on May 11 after winning second division of John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor on April 12. Veteran over steeplechase fences in England, where he won four races last year.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 2014 record: 2-0-0-1, $6,750. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $46,200. 2012 record: 6-3-3-0, $55,350. 2011 record: 6-3-3-0, $55,350. 4-1 odds. Finished fourth in Virginia Gold Cup on May 3 after third in My Lady’s Manor on April 12. Won the 2013 Virginia Gold Cup and 2012 International Gold Cup.
Brother Sy. 2005 b. g., Syncline—Cozzy Rhythm, by Cozzene. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Diana Gillam. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,150. 10-1 odds. Won Grand National’s Western Run Plate amateur apprentice timber race by 42 lengths on April 19 after fifth in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor a week earlier.
Seer. 2004 b. g., Pulpit–Potrinner (Arg), by Potrillazo. Owner: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 4-0-1-0, $8,800. 2013 record: 5-1-1-1, $15,000. 8-1 odds. Finished second in Radnor Hunt Cup on May 17 after fourth in Winterthur Bowl timber allowance race on May 4. Distanced in Middleburg Hunt Cup after falling at last fence of Carolina Cup timber allowance.
Saluda Sam. 2005 ch. g., Adcat—Super Skirt, by Proud Truth. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Billy Meister. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: 2-1-1-0, $17,700. 2013 record: 5-2-2-0, $31,950. 10-1 odds. Veteran started 2014 with second in Middleburg Spring’s Alfred M. Hunt and then won Virginia Gold Cup’s Steeplethon on May 3. Won the 2013 Hunt. Finished second in 2013 Steeplethon at Virginia Gold Cup and awarded win in International Gold Cup’s Steeplethon.
Major Malibu. 2004 b. g., Malibu Moon–Major Barbara, by Salutely. Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Justin Batoff. 2014 record: 2-0-2-0, $6,300. 2013 record: 1-0-0-0, $750. 2012 record: 3-0-0-1, $2,500. 10-1 odds. Finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in Willowdale Steeplechase on May 11. Finished distant second in Western Run Plate at Grand National on April 19. In only 2013 start, finished fourth in the Alfred M. Hunt timber race at the Middleburg Spring Races.
Snow Blizzard (Ire). 2007 b. g., Sadler’s Wells–Pescia (Ire), by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Equinox Farm. Trainer: Nancy G. Knox. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $800. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $4,500. 20-1 odds. Finished fifth in Winterthur Bowl on May 4. In only 2013 start, won the John D. Schapiro Memorial timber allowance race at My Lady’s Manor.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. 2014 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,000. 2013 record: 3-0-2-0, $10,800. 6-1 odds. Finished third in the Grand National on April 19 before fall in Maryland Hunt Cup two weeks later. Ended 2013 season with 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.