A strong pairing from Maryland trainer Alicia Murphy will take on several top-shelf opponents in the historic $30,000 My Lady’s Manor on Saturday as the 2015 edition of Maryland Timber Triple kicks off in Monkton.
First post time is 1:30 p.m. for the program’s four races, all of which attracted large, competitive fields.
Murphy’s strongest contender is Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed, who finished third in last year’s My Lady’s Manor and closed the season with a hair-raising, last-to-first victory in the International Gold Cup in The Plains, Va. Mark Beecher has the mount.
Kieran Norris will ride Armata Stables’ Cornhusker for Murphy. Winner of last year’s Mason Houghland Memorial at the Iroquois Steeplechase, the British-bred Dynaformer gelding ended his season with a second in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Last year’s champion timber owner, Armata also will be represented by Brother Sy, who was second in last year’s New Jersey Hunt Cup. Trainer Todd Wyatt named Diana Gillam to ride.
Jack Fisher, champion trainer for the last three years, entered Straight to It, the veteran owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster, and Northwoods Stable’s Peace Fire. Fourth in last year’s My Lady’s Manor, Straight to It wrapped up the season with a win in a timber allowance at the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C. He will be ridden by Sean McDermott, and Connor Hankin will be aboard Peace Fire.
Irv Naylor, 2014’s champion owner, will be represented by Tax, a two-time Grade 1 winner over hurdles who finished sixth in last year’s My Lady’s Manor. Trainer Billy Meister named James Slater to ride.
Virginia-based trainer Richard Valentine entered Magalen O. Bryant’s Dakota Slew, winner of the 2014 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg. Darren Nagle has the mount.
Here is the field for the three-mile My Lady’s Manor in post-position order.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner-trainer: Jason L. Cole. Jockey: Open. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,400. 20-1 odds. Homebred won 2014 Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial maiden timber race at the Genesee Valley Hunt Races in New York, then finished fifth in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Cornhusker (GB). 2007 b. g., Dynaformer–Nebraska Tornado, by Storm Cat. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Alicia Murphy. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Juddmonte Farms (GB). 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $50,300. 5-1 odds. Made successful transition to timber racing in 2014 and won Iroquois Steeplechase’s $50,000 Mason Houghland Memorial on May 10 after score in Middleburg Hunt Cup open timber race on April 19. Lost rider in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup on Oct. 4 and finished fifth in New Jersey Hunt Cup on Oct. 18. Ended season with second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. Breeder: Charles C. D. McGill (Pa.) 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,000. 20-1 odds. Won maiden victory at 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after second in Martha S. Wadsworth at Genesee Valley meet in New York.
Peace Fire. 2007 b. g., Peace Rules–Miss Evans, by Nijinsky II. Owner: Northwoods Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Connor Hankin. Breeder: Briggs-Cromartie (Fla.) 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $800. 20-1 odds. Began 2014 season with fifth in Middleburg Hunt Cup, then was pulled up in Iroquois’ Mason Houghland Memorial. Won 2013 Winterthur Bowl.
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.) 2014 record: 5-1-1-2, $46,350. 7-2 odds. Won 2014 International Gold Cup after victory in 2012. Also finished fourth in the 2014 Virginia Gold Cup after a victory the preceding year. Finished third in 2014 My Lady’s Manor.
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: 3-0-1-0, $6,800. 20-1odds. Finished second in a Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance on Nov. 2 and distant second in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in upstate New York on Oct. 11. Finished fourth in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase after 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.
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.). 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $9,900. 10-1 odds. Two-time Iroquois (Gr. 1) winner finished sixth in My Lady’s Manor before second in Mason Houghland Memorial, his only other start in 2014. Made a successful transition to timber in 2013, finishing second in the Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois and then winning a Fair Hill timber allowance two weeks later.
Dakota Slew. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Slew City Slew—Klearlee Kiera, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Larry Curtis (Ky.). 2014 record: 4-1-1-0, $32,600. 8-1 odds. Won 2014 National Sporting Library & Museum Cup at Virginia Fall before second in International Gold Cup and fifth in Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber race.
Straight to It. 2006 ch. g., Giant’s Causeway—Helsinka (Fr), by Pennekamp. Owners: Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Thierry Grandsir (Ky.). 2014 record: 7-1-0-3, $33,000. 9-2 odds. Won Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber for second straight year to close 2014 after third-place finishes in National Sporting Library & Museum Cup, International Gold Cup, and New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in 2014 debut in My Lady’s Manor, then was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup. Won the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup at Far Hills.
Brother Sy. 2005 b. g., Syncline—Cozy Rhythm, by Cozzene. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Diana Gillam. Mr. & Mrs. Randolph L. Rolfe (Pa.). 2014 record: 6-2-2-1, $18,900. 10-1 odds. Ended 2014 with third-place finish in Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber after seconds in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library & Museum Cup and Far Hills’ New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won Willowdale amateur allowance timber race on May 11. Won Grand National’s Western Run Plate amateur apprentice timber race by 42 lengths after fifth in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.