Three Maryland Hunt Cup winners, the reigning timber champion, and the two-time Virginia Gold Cup victor are among 11 powerhouse nominees to the 116th running of the $50,000 Grand National, the middle jewel of Maryland’s timber triple crown, on Saturday, April 21.
The 3 1/4-mile Grand National will kick off the traditional three-race program at 3:30 p.m. at the Butler course.
Maryland horseman Joseph G. Davies nominated the past two Hunt Cup winners, Gerry L. Brewster’s 2017 winner, Derwins Prospector, and 2016 victor Senior Senator, owned by Irvin L. “Skip” Crawford. Both would be making their first sanctioned starts since the 2017 Hunt Cup.
In 2015, Ann Jackson’s Raven’s Choice finished a close second and was placed first after first finisher Imperial Way lost saddle weights while jumping a fence. The Maryland-bred is trained by Todd Wyatt.
Senior Senator won last year’s Grand National, and Raven’s Choice took the 2016 renewal.
Jack Fisher, the reigning champion trainer and champion timber trainer, nominated Charles C. Fenwick Jr.’s Doc Cebu, who cruised through the fall timber season and won the International Gold Cup by 11 lengths to clinch the year’s timber championship.
Irv Naylor’s Ebanour, two-time winner of the Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, was nominated to shot at the $30,000 first-place money of the Grand National, whose purse was increased by two-thirds this year. Irish-bred Ebanour is trained in Butler by Cyril Murphy.
Richard Valentine, a two-time winning Hunt Cup trainer, nominated Kinross Farm’s Old Timer, who finished second in last year’s Grand National. He was leading the 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup at the top of the stretch but lost his rider at the 21st of 22 fences.
Here are the 11 nominees to the $50,000 Grand National in alphabetical order.
Class Indian. 2007 gr. or ro. g., Waquoit—Class Story, by Class Secret. Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va.). 2017 record: 5-1-1-0, $13,650. 2016 record: 3-1-0-1, $14,000. 2015 record: 4-1-0-2, $14,000. Fell while leading in Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2017 John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice timber race at My Lady’s Manor, then was fourth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate and second in Winterthur amateur apprentice timber allowance. Finished seventh in Shawan’s Legacy Chase. Won 2016 Queen’s Cup timber allowance.
Daddy in the Dark. 2010 b. g., Bernardini—Appealing Zophie, by Successful Appeal. Owner-trainer: H. Bruce Fenwick. Breeder: My Meadowview (Ky.). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. 2016 record: No NSA starts. Won a Pennsylvania Hunt Cup maiden timber by more than 32 lengths after beginning his career with a fourth over timber at the Virginia Fall Races. Raced on the flat in Maryland and specialized in off tracks.
De Chera. 2006 ch. g., Deputy Commander—Torchera, by Pirate’s Bounty. Owner-Trainer: H. Bruce Fenwick. Breeder: Hidden Point Farm (Fla.). 2017 record: 7-1-2-0, $19,650. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $750. Awarded win in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup timber allowance on medication disqualification after finishing second by a neck. Fell at last in New Jersey Hunt Cup. Finished fifth in 2017 Shawan Downs maiden timber after sixth in Fair Hill timber allowance and second in Willowdale maiden timber. Finished second in the Grand National’s 2017 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance race, beaten a neck before early fall in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Derwins Prospector. 2008 ch. g., Van Nistelrooy—Stringtown Sally, by Crafty Prospector. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeders: Patricia Lagden and Devi Hall (Ky.). 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $61,200. 2016 record: 4-0-1-1, $5,100. Won the 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup by three-quarters of a length in a stirring stretch battle. Finished fourth in the 2017 Grand National. Finished sixth in 2016 Grand National, then lost rider in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Doc Cebu. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Berga, by Jade Hunter. Owner: Charles C. Fenwick Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Graceville Breeding (Ky.) 2017 record: 5-4-1-0, $96,600. 2016 record: 2-2-0-0, $21,000. Clinched 2017 timber championship with 11-length victory in International Gold Cup. Won 2017 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup by 11 1/4 lengths and Willowdale Steeplechase by nine lengths. Opened his timber career with a maiden victory at 2017 My Lady’s Manor and was second in Queen’s Cup timber allowance. Won his two starts over hurdles in 2016.
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). 2017 record: 5-2-1-0-, $89,150. 2016 record: 4-3-0-0, $78,000. Won Virginia Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in 2016 and 2017. His 18-length win at Unionville followed fifth in 2017 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Was disqualified to second from win in 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup. Won 2015 New Jersey Hunt Cup.
Gas Can Eddie. 2007 ch. g., Maria’s Mon—Donnan’s Holly, by Dixieland Band. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeder: Bohemia Stable (Md.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $450. 2016 record: No starts. Finished distant sixth in 2017 Willowdale maiden after bolting in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at 2017 My Lady’s Manor.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis (Va.). 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,750. Pulled up in 2017 Willowdale Steeplechase, his only start that year. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase after being pushed off course in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial. Won maiden timber victory at 2015 Steeplechase at Callaway by nine lengths.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. 2016 record: 4-0-1-2, $17,400. Was leading in 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup when he unseated his rider at second-to-last fence. Finished second in 2017 Grand National, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Finished third in 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup after second in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,300. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. Finished third in 2017 Grand National, then was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup and Willowdale Steeplechase. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.
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.) 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. 2016 record: 2-1-0-0, $60,000. 2015 record: 2-0-2-0, $10,800. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $12,000. Fell at third fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup after winning Grand National by 1 1/2 lengths. Won 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after setting most of the pace. Finished first and disqualified to last for interference in 2016 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance timber at Grand National.