Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Professor Maxwell took control from the start of the 117th running of the $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup and scored a three-length victory in the concluding race of the Free State’s timber triple crown on Saturday, April 27. Trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Mark Beecher, Professor Maxwell ran the testing four miles and 22 fences of the Hunt Cup in 8:57.60 on firm ground.
Kinross Farm’s Sand Box Rules finished second, and FOXY Stable’s Guts for Garters took third money. Lucy Goelet’s 13-year-old Twill Do, bidding for his third Hunt Cup victory in four years, finished fourth, and 2011 timber champion Bon Caddo was fifth. Kinross also owned the sixth and final finisher, Woodmont. Twelve timber specialists went to the start.
Bred by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot, 14-year-old Professor Maxwell was making his first start since a fourth-place finish in last year’s Hunt Cup. His previous victory was in the 2011 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup in New York.
At the Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va., Magalen O. Bryant’s Sulwaan prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths over Final Straw in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance. Trained by Jimmy Day and ridden by Xavier Aizpuru, the Irish-bred import ran the Van Clief’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:01.80 on turf rated as firm. Day also trained the third finisher, Orchestra Leader, who was ridden by Danielle Hodsdon.
Taking three of the afternoon’s five races was Virginia-based trainer Neil Morris. He struck early with a victory in a $15,000 maiden hurdle by Arrow’s Contest, owned by Michael A. Smith, and then took the second race, the Grover Vandevender Memorial maiden timber contest with Ed’s Big Bet for Kinross Farm. He also won the finale, a $10,000 conditioned claiming hurdle, with Noble Stables’ Saint Nicholas. Jeff Murphy rode Arrow’s Contest and Saint Nicholas, while Chris Read was aboard Ed’s Big Bet.