If it’s April it must be timber racing season in Maryland. After being postponed in 2020 due to Covid-19, the races return to Monkton, Md., on Saturday with a four-race card anchored by the $30,000 My Lady’s Manor timber stakes to be contested over three miles.
Headlining the field are Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike, winner of the 2019 running, Dolly Fisher’s two-time timber stakes winner Schoodic, along with Bruton Street-US’ Drift Society, runnerup in the 2019 Maryland Hunt Cup, which also was cancelled last year because of the pandemic.
Intriguing as the race itself are several of the riders. Top timber jockey Hadden Frost, who last rode in an NSA sanctioned race in November 2019 and has been focusing on a show jumping career, returns to pilot Jack Fisher-trained Schoodic, with whom he teamed up to take the International Gold Cup and Genesee Valley Hunt Cup that year. Also returning is Connor Hankin, who has the mount on Drift Society, also for Fisher. Hankin was a successful up-and-coming rider until he joined the U.S. Marines after his final NSA mount aboard Eclipse-Award winning hurdler Scorpiancer in the 2016 Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga.
Other races on the day include two $15,000 timber maiden events, the John Rush Streett Memorial and $15,000 Thomas H. Voss, and the $10,000 John D. Schapiro timber allowance, restricted to apprentice riders.
The My Lady’s Manor is the first of three historic Maryland timber stakes — that date back to 1894 — to be run in successive weeks in April. The second leg is the Grand National at Butler on April 17, followed by the Maryland Hunt Cup at Glyndon on the 24th.
While spectators will be allowed to attend the My Lady’s Manor Races, all admissions have already been sold. No walk-ins are permitted. Gates open at 10 a.m. First race post time is 1:30 p.m. The good news is that the races will be streamed live via the National Steeplechase Association web site, https://www.nationalsteeplechase.com/jump-racing-usa/, as well as the NSA’s Facebook page.
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