Irvin L. “Skip” Crawford II’s Senior Senator roared to a 1 1/2-length win in yesterday’s $30,000 Grand National, the middle jewel of the Maryland timber triple crown, and set his sights on a second straight Maryland Hunt Cup victory next Saturday.
Kinross Farm’s Old Timer finished second, and last year’s Grand National winner, Raven’s Choice, finished third in a field containing several Hunt Cup hopefuls. Senior Senator ran the Grand National’s 3 1/4 miles in 6:22 on a Butler course rated as yielding on a gray, soggy afternoon.
Senior Senator was ridden by Eric Portez, a young Maryland-based jockey who has had success in several amateur flat races overseas.
“We’re very pleased,” said Senior Senator’s trainer, Joseph G. Davies. “Knock on wood, he’ll be ready for the Hunt Cup next week.”
The seven-year-old Domestic Dispute gelding prevailed in his first race since a hard-fought victory in the 2016 Hunt Cup and a year since a misadventure on the Grand National program. He finished first in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur allowance race by more than 10 lengths but was disqualified for interference and placed last.
He had no problems a week later in Glyndon, where he set all the pace over the Hunt Cup’s towering fences and won by a half-length after a spirited stretch battle.