Two past timber champions and the reigning winner are among 18 early nominees to the 119th running of the historic $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup. Culmination of Maryland’s timber triple crown, the Hunt Cup will be run on Saturday, April 25, at Glyndon.
Early nominations for the four-mile race over 22 fences closed March 9 for a $25 fee. Supplementary nominations for $500 can be made when entries are taken on Monday, April 20.
Hunt Cup nominees frequently prepare for the crowning race of the Maryland timber series in the preceding legs, the My Lady’s Manor on April 11 and the Grand National on April 18. The three-mile My Lady’s Manor and the Grand National at 3 1/4 miles each carry $30,000 purses.
Stewart Strawbridge’s Guts For Garters will be looking to duplicate his stunning victory in the 2014 Hunt Cup. Closing relentlessly under jockey Jody Petty, the Irish-bred won by a nose for trainer Sanna Neilson.
Finishing a hard-luck second was Merriefield Farm’s Imperial Way, who is trained by Elizabeth Voss. Imperial Way was nominated for another shot at one of timber racing’s most prized trophies.
Merriefield also nominated its two past timber champions, Bon Caddo and Foyle, both of whom are trained by Bruce Fenwick. Bon Caddo, the 2011 timber champion, finished a distant third in last year’s Hunt Cup, which was his only 2014 start.
Foyle, who took the 2013 timber title with a late-season surge that included victories in the International Gold Cup and Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, fell while on the lead in his first run over the testing Hunt Cup course last year.
The 18 early nominees to the 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup are:
Almarmooq. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer–Tuscoga, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. 2014 record: 6-1-3-0, $23,400. Capped busy 2014 fall season with victory in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup’s Arthur O. Choate Jr. timber allowance after second in timber allowance at International Gold Cup. Also had second-place finishes in Willowdale timber allowance race and Benjamin H. Murray amateur timber allowance race at Grand National.
Bon Caddo. 2001 b. g., Bon Point (GB)–Tactical Info, by Tactical Advantage. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2014 record: 1-0-0-1, $7,500. In only 2014 start, finished distant third in Maryland Hunt Cup. Timber champion of 2011 finished third in the 2013 My Lady’s Manor and fifth in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished third in the 2012 My Lady’s Manor and then was third in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Front-running winner of the My Lady’s Manor in first 2011 start, then won Virginia Gold Cup.
Catch the Echo. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Eastern Echo—Catch the Varmint, by Spicy Story. Owner: Gerry L. Brewster. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. Lost rider in 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup after seventh in Benjamin H. Murray amateur allowance timber race at Grand National. Lost rider at the 13th fence of the 2013 Maryland Hunt Cup after being placed third in the Murray.
Delta Park. 2004 b. g., Johannesburg–Excedius, by Seattle Dancer. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $24,800. 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.
Embarrassed. 2005 b. g., Flatter—Stormy Blast, by Kayrawan. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. Finished fourth in the 2014 Grand National, then fell early in the Maryland Hunt Cup. Pulled up in the 2013 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after third in National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup. Within a week, finished second in 2013 Winterthur Bowl and then won $15,000 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Fort Henry. 2001 b. g., Zaffaran–You Name It, by Le Moss. Owner: Welcome Here Farm. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $300. Finished sixth in 2014 John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber race at My Lady’s Manor, then was pulled up in Maryland Hunt Cup and Willowdale timber race. Finished fourth in 2013 Grand National, then fell at the sixth fence of the Maryland Hunt Cup.
Foyle. 2005 dk. b. or br. g., Yarrow Brae–Londonderry, by Perfecting. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Bruce Fenwick. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. Fell while leading the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup. 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. Finished fourth in Virginia Gold Cup.
Guts For Garters (Ire). 2003 br. g., Presenting—Askynn, by Beau Sher. Owner: Stewart Strawbridge. Trainer: Sanna Neilson. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $45,000. Won the 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup by a nose with a determined late drive. In only other 2014 start, finished eighth in 2014 Benjamin H. Murray amateur allowance timber race at Grand National. Finished third in 2012 Virginia Gold Cup.
Imperial Way. 2005 ch. g., Point Given–Lasha, by Rahy. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $14,300. Just missed by a nose in thrilling 2014 Maryland Hunt Cup finish after fifth in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner-trainer: Jason L. Cole. 2014 record: 3-1-0-0, $10,400. Homebred won 2014 Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial maiden timber race at the Genesee Valley Hunt Races in New York, then was fifth in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Lion’s Double. 2006 dk. B. or br. g., Lion Hearted—Think Double, by Al Nasr (Fr). Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 record: No starts. Returning to the races after more than two years on the sidelines. Last prior start was fifth in the 2012 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Won 2012 Mason Houghland Memorial as a maiden making only his third timber start.
Major Malibu. 2004 b. g., Malibu Moon–Major Barbara, by Salutely. Owner: Jeremy Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. 2014 record: 4-0-2-0, $7,350. Finished sixth in 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after being pulled up in Shawan Downs’ Legacy Chase. Finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in Willowdale Steeplechase.
More Fascination. 2003 b. g., Dynaformer–Desiray, by Deputy Minister. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Tara Elmore. 2014 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,200. Finished third in 2014 Winterthur Bowl after fifth in Grand National. Finished fourth in 2013 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after sixth in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Fell at the sixth fence of the 2012 Maryland Hunt Cup after third-place finish in the Grand National.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Mrs. Cary W. Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. 2014 record: 3-2-1-0, $29,700. Won Willowdale Steeplechase in May to close out his 2014 season. Finished second in the first division of the John Rush Streett maiden timber race at My Lady’s Manor and then won Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur timber race at the Grand National meet a week later.
Rugged Rascal. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Closing Argument–Merci, by Williamstown. Owner: Michael J. Moran. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Pulled up in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Mason Houghland Memorial, his only 2014 start. Transferred to timber division after two third-place finishes in maiden hurdles in 2013.
Sovereign Fund. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Giant’s Causeway—Colonial Play, by Pleasant Colony. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. 2014 record: 5-0-0-1, $5,000. Finished fourth in 2014 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup after third in Martha S. Wadsworth Memorial at Genesee Valley Hunt Races in upstate New York. Posted fourth-place finishes in Willowdale maiden timber race and Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur timber allowance race.
Spencer Road. 2006 b. h., Slew City Slew—Snars Good Fortune, by Snars. Owner: Gerry Brewster, Eleanor T. Russell, and Joseph Tydings. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. Won 2014 Grand National before eighth in Virginia Gold Cup. Finished third in 2013 John Rush Streett division at My Lady’s Manor before being disqualified from second for going off course in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at Grand National.
Vine Hill. 2004 ch. G., Gulch—Mossflower, by Affirmed. Owner: Whitewood Stable. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $3,700. Finished fourth in Colonial Cup’s Springdale open timber after second in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup maiden timber. Half brother to Grade 1 winner Gustavian.