In an unprecedented disqualification, Raven’s Choice was declared the winner of the 119th Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday when Imperial Way finished first by a half-length but was disqualified because a 20-pound weight slipped from his saddle pad during the course of the challenging four-mile race.
Owned by Mrs. Cary W. Jackson and trained by Todd Wyatt, Raven’s Choice finished six lengths clear of Stewart Strawbridge’s Guts For Garters, who was bidding for his second straight Hunt Cup victory, after finishing a nose ahead of hard-luck Imperial Way last year.Under the rules of racing, the jockey must weigh in following the race with the same weight as when going to the saddling area.
Spencer Road was placed third, and early pacesetter Joshua G. finished fourth in a field of 11. Mark Beecher continued his leading position in the timber jockey ranks and rode his second Hunt Cup winner in three years. The race over 22 fences was run in 9:25 on turf raced as good.
Bred in Maryland by the late Cary W. Jackson, the eight-year-old Dance With Ravens gelding began the season with a third-place finish in the Grand National on April 18. Last year, he won the Willowdale Steeplechase.