Robert A. Kinsley’s Lyonell, one of the lightest-weighted horses in Saturday’s $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), made a powerful run to take the lead at the last fence and prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths in the featured race of the 98th annual Middleburg Spring Races.
Zanjabeel, second in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) three weeks earlier, collected his second straight runner-up purse for owners Rosbrian Farm and Wendy and Ben Griswold. Another lightly weighted starter, Michael A. Smith’s Mercoeur, took third, 6 1/2 lengths farther back. Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, a 2017 Grade 1 winner, finished fourth in a field of 10.
German-bred Lyonell, trained by Elizabeth Voss, won the Far Hills Races’ Appleton ratings handicap on Oct. 21 and was third in Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap two weeks later. But against a high-powered cast that included 2017 leading earner Mr. Hot Stuff and All the Way Jose, the seven-year-old Montjeu gelding was rated at 140 pounds, 18 fewer than Mr. Hot Stuff.
Jack Doyle, Voss’ tall stable jockey, could only tack 146 pounds, but the extra weight proved no handicap. Doyle allowed Lyonell to find his own pace early while All the Way Jose set the initial pace in the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey. Lyonell began picking off horses past the midway point of the race at Glenwood Park Race Course in northern Virginia.
Placed on the outside for the run to the wire, Lyonell jumped to the lead over the last hurdle and maintained his momentum to the finish line. Zanjabeel, ridden by Ross Geraghty, made a late move, as he had in the Colonial Cup, but still came up second best.
Mr. Hot Stuff, making his first start since winning Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1), finished fifth.
Lyonell ran the Temple Gwathmey distance in 5:34.40.
Super in the Middleburg Hunt Cup
Irv Naylor’s Super Saturday proved super in Saturday’s $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup when the supplemental entry charged to a 2 1/2-length victory under Gerard Galligan.
Trained by Kathy Neilson, the nine-year-old Any Given Saturday gelding stalked the pace of Naylor’s Top Man Michael through the race’s early stages.
Galligan followed Charles C. Fenwick Jr.’s Doc Cebu, the 2017 timber champion as he made his move, and Super Saturday assumed command two fences out. Michael A. Smith’s Le Chevalier, the early trailer, unleashed a strong move in the stretch under Doyle and finished second, 18 1/2 lengths clear of Doc Cebu, who was ridden by Hadden Frost.
Armata Stables’ Cornhusker finished fourth, and Top Man Michael was fifth. Two’s Company, the 2016 timber champion, was pulled up. Second in last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup, Super Saturday ran the Middleburg Hunt Cup’s 3 1/4 miles in 6:31.20.
Doyle’s triple, and doubles by Nagle and Sheppard
Doyle extended his lead in the jockey standings with three wins at Middleburg Spring. In addition to the Temple Gwathmey, he won the Sonabank Cup maiden claiming hurdle on Ronald Sapp’s Really Ready for Jonathan Sheppard and the Alfred M. Hunt Steeplechase steeplethon aboard Ballybristol Famr’s Andi’amu for trainer Leslie Young.
Darren Nagle, the reigning champion jockey, had two wins, aboard Hudson River Farms’ Iranistan for Sheppard in the Glenwood Hurdle and Irv Naylor’s Ocean Ready in the Virginia Equine Alliance maiden hurdle. With his two wins, Sheppard extended his lead in the standings by wins and earnings.