Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed, currently atop the year’s timber standings, returns to action on Saturday in the $25,000 Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs.
The seven-race program in Hunt Valley, Md., also features a $25,000 Ratings Hurdle in which Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu carries the 158-pound highweight. First post time is 1 p.m.
Grinding Speed took the summer off after winning the Virginia Gold Cup for the second time on May 2. Trained by Alicia Murphy, Grinding Speed set a slow pace under Mark Beecher and turned back all challenges for a one-length victory in the Virginia timber classic. Three weeks earlier, Grinding Speed won the My Lady’s Manor, the first race of the Maryland Timber Triple.
Murphy also entered Ivy Hill Stable’s On the Corner, who won his maiden timber victory at Shawan Downs in 2013 and had two third-place finishes last year.
Leading owner Irv Naylor will be represented by his venerable Tax Ruling, a two-time winner of the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) who has transitioned successfully to timber race. He finished second in this year’s Mason Houghland Memorial for trainer Billy Meister, who named James Slater to ride the 12-year-old.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher entered three contenders for the 3 1/8-mile Legacy Chase. Arcadia Stable’s Delta Park won the 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup and opened the current season with a fifth-place finish in the Willowdale Steeplechase in Pennsylvania on May 10.
Northwoods Stable’s Peace Fire finished third in the Mason Houghland Memorial Timber Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 9. Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect finished third in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber Stakes after winning a Winterthur maiden timber race earlier in May.
Jeremy Batoff’s Certain Swagger will be making his first start for trainer William Dowling after three starts this year from the Fisher barn. Certain Swagger easily won a timber allowance at the Queen’s Cup before finishing sixth in the Mason Houghland Memorial. Paddy Young, currently the leading jockey by wins, has the mount.
Here is the field for the $25,000 Legacy Chase in post-position order.
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.). 2015 record: 1-1-0-0, $18,000. 2014 record: No starts. In first start in more than two years, won Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber by seven lengths after setting all the pace. By top sire but failed on the flat, managing a third in an $8,000 maiden claimer at Delaware Park, his most recent start in 2012.
Ed’s Big Bet. 2007 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Ed’s Holy Cow, by Bet Big. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Open. Breeders: Liberation Farm & Oratis (Ky.) 2015 record: 1-0-0-1, $1,000. In first start in 19 months, finished third in Willowdale timber allowance.
Peace Fire. 2007 b. g., Peace Rules–Miss Evans, by Nijinsky II. Owner: Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Briggs-Cromartie (Fla.) 2015 record: 2-0-1-0, $4,500. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $800. Finished third in Iroquois Steeplechase’s 2015 Mason Houghland Memorial after good second in Winterthur Bowl. Pulled up in My Lady’s Manor. Won 2013 Winterthur Bowl.
Lea Von. 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Purim—Magic Lea, by Fabuleux Dancer. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Sally Feola & M.T. Racing Stable (Ky.) 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $10,500. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Won Willowdale maiden timber after third at My Lady’s Manor. Lost rider in 2014 Virginia Fall maiden timber.
Certain Swagger. 2009 b. g., Arch—Comedy, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeders: Claiborne Farm and Arlene Dilschneider. (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $14,500. 2014 record: 5-0-0-2, $27,200. Change of stable after distant sixth in Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial. Scored 45-length victory in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Made successful transition to timber racing in 2014 and won timber allowance at International Gold Cup meet.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Mark Beecher. Breeders: Alan S., Mark T., Mitchell A., and Madeline R. Kline, et al. (Md.) 2015 record: 2-2-0-0, $72,000. 2014 record: 5-1-1-2, $46,350. Set all the pace and won the 2015 Virginia Gold Cup by a length. Won 2015 My Lady’s Manor by 1 1/2 lengths. Won 2014 International Gold Cup after victory in 2012. Also finished fourth in the 2014 Virginia Gold Cup after a victory the preceding year.
Brave Prospect. 2007 b. g., Purge—Issaqueena, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Stonerside Stable (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,500. 2014 record: No starts. Finished third in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Novice Timber after win in Winterthur maiden timber. Fell at the first fence of the 2013 New Jersey Hunt Cup, his inaugural run over timber.
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: 2-0-1-1, $12,000. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $9,900. Rallied for second in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial. Opened 2015 season with third in My Lady’s Manor. Two-time Iroquois (Gr. 1) winner finished second in 2014 Mason Houghland Memorial. Made a successful transition to timber in 2013, finishing second in the Mason Houghland Memorial and then winning a Fair Hill timber allowance two weeks later.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeders: Earl Silver and Michael Eiserman (Ky.). 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,000. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $24,800. Finished fifth in his 2015 debut, the Willowdale Steeplechase. Won the 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after fifth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Finished third in the Grand National before fall in Maryland Hunt Cup. Ended 2013 season with game second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup and 2011 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Ez Mac. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Bianconi—Easy Weekend, by Red Ransom. Owner: Move Up Stable. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Elizabeth Heger (Ky.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $450. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $18,600. Finished third and was disqualified to fifth in a Virginia Gold Cup timber allowance. Lost rider in his first 2015 start at Middleburg Spring.
On the Corner. 2006 b. g., Smart Strike—Miss Otis, by One for All. Owner: Ivy Hill Stable. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Henry T. Rathbun (Md.). 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-0-2, $4,000. In brief 2014 season, had two third-place finishes at Middleburg Spring and Virginia Gold Cup meets. Scored maiden victory over timber at Shawan Downs in 2013.
Sol a Pino. 2005 b. g., Dynaformer—Kuda, by Strawberry Road (Aus). Owner-trainer: Nicki Valvo. Jockey: Tom Foley. Breeder: Haras Santa Maria de Araras (Ky.) 2015 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $3,750. 2014 record: No starts. Finished third in Middleburg Hunt Cup and then was fourth in a Willowdale maiden timber on May 10.