Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed, whose 2015 championship season began with a victory in the My Lady’s Manor, has been nominated for a chance at a second straight victory in the kick-off race of Maryland’s timber triple crown on Saturday, April 16.
Trained in Maryland by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Mark Beecher, Grinding Speed followed up his Monkton win with a second victory in the Virginia Gold Cup. He clinched his first timber title with a stylish victory in the International Gold Cup, his third win in the fall’s richest timber race. In all, Grinding Speed earned $124,550 last year.
Maryland-based trainer Jack Fisher nominated Bruton Street-US’s Ballylifen, who finished fourth, beaten about six lengths, in the International Gold Cup at The Plains, Va., on Oct. 24. The Irish-bred, who scored his initial timber victory in a division of the John Rush Streett at My Lady’s Manor, concluded his 2015 season with a victory in a timber race at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia.
Also nominated from the International Gold Cup field was Jeremy Batoff’s Certain Swagger, who finished seventh for trainer William Dowling.
Irv Naylor, who set a record for owner purse earnings last year and also was the top timber owner, nominated Ebanour, who wrapped up his 2015 season with a hard-charging win in the New Jersey Hunt Cup. He was the third winner on the Far Hills Races card for Naylor and trainer Cyril Murphy on Oct. 17.
Also nominated from the New Jersey Hunt Cup was Al Griffin Jr.’s Aero, who finished fourth. Trained by Doug Fout, Aero subsequently finished third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Merriefield Farm was represented in the My Lady’s Manor nominations by Foyle, the 2013 timber champion who is trained by Bruce Fenwick. Bred in Maryland by Martha Hopkins, Foyle fell late in the 2014 Hunt Cup after a narrow defeat in the Grand National.
Irvin L. Crawford II’s Senior Senator, second in the 2015 My Lady’s Manor, was nominated by trainer Joe Davies.
Here are the 12 nominees to the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor. All starters carry 165 pounds for the three-mile race.
Aero. 2005 b. g., Northern Spur (Ire)–Best Victory (Fr), by Cadoudal. Owner: Alfred C. Griffin Jr. Trainer: Doug Fout. Breeder: Eldon Farm Racing Stable (Va.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-1, $6,000. 2014 record: No starts. Finished fourth in 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup and third in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in first starts since fifth in 2013 International Gold Cup. Finished second in 2012 International Gold Cup after fourth in National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup. Won 2011 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup before second in International Gold Cup.
Ballylifen (Ire). 2007 b. g., Brian Boru—Line Jade, by Luchiroverte. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: J. Mangan (Ire). 2015 record: 5-2-0-1, $35,750. 2014 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. 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.
Certain Swagger. 2009 b. g., Arch—Comedy, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeders: Claiborne Farm and Arlene Dilschneider. (Ky.) 2015 record: 6-1-0-1, $17,000. 2014 record: 5-0-0-2, $27,200. Ended 2015 season with seventh in International Gold Cup after being pulled up a week earlier in New Jersey Hunt Cup. 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.
Dont Tell Sailor (Ire). 2006 b. g., Saddlers’ Hall (Ire)—Pharlen’s Dream, by Phardante (Fr). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. Breeder: Edmond Coleman (Ire). 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,400. 2014 record: 3-1-0-1, $12,500. Finished fifth in 2015 Grand National and then was fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup. Won a 2014 maiden timber race at Willowdale, finished fourth in the International Gold Cup’s timber allowance race, and was third in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s timber allowance.
Ebanour (Ire). 2007 ch. g., Indian Ridge—Ebadilya, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Aga Khan’s Studs (Ire). 2015 record: 2-1-1-0, $31,800. 2014 record: No starts. Won New Jersey Hunt Cup with a powerful late rush. After missing the 2014 season, returned with a good second in John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. Breeder: Mrs. C. Frank Hopkins (Md.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. Fell while leading the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup, his most recent start. 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.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Donald Reuwer Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $31,050. 2014 record: No starts. 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.
Grinding Speed. 2006 gr. or ro. g., Grindstone—Cozelia, by Cozzene. Owner: Michael T. Wharton. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Breeders: Alan S., Mark T., Mitchell A., and Madeline R. Kline, et al. (Md.) 2015 record: 5-3-1-0, $124,550. 2014 record: 5-1-1-2, $46,350. Clinched 2015 timber title with stylish victory in International Gold Cup, his third win in richest fall timber race. Won My Lady’s Manor before his second score in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup after fourth in Shawan’s Legacy Chase.
Mecklenburg. 2004 b. g., Mecke—Northwest Key, by Northrop. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. Breeder: Anne Haynes (Va.) Idle since 2012, when he 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.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Christopher Read. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: 2-0-1-1, $12,900. Fell in the National Sporting Library and Museum Cup, his only 2015 start. Finished second in 2014 My Lady’s Manor before third in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in 2013 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup.
Organisateur. 2005 b. g., Highest Honor (Fr)—Willamina (Ire), by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Rose Hill. Trainer: Ivan Dowling. 2015 record: No starts. 2014 record: 2-1-1-0, $22,500. Making first start since second in 2014 Virginia Gold Cup after impressive win in John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeder: Charles C. D. McGill (Pa.) 2015 record: 2-0-2-0, $10,800. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,000. Had second-place finishes in 2015 My Lady’s Manor and Grand National. Won maiden victory at 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in Martha S. Wadsworth at Genesee Valley meet in New York.