Irvin L. “Skip” Crawford’s Senior Senator, who soared from a Grand National victory last year to win his second Maryland Hunt Cup, heads 15 nominees to the 117th running of the $50,000 Grand National on Saturday, April 20.
The Grand National is the middle jewel of the Maryland Timber Triple Crown, between the My Lady’s Manor on Saturday and the Maryland Hunt Cup on Saturday, April 27. First post time will be 3:15 p.m. at the Butler course.
Trained by Joe Davies, the nine-year-old Domestic Dispute gelding will be shooting to retire the Grand National Challenge Cup for Crawford with his third straight victory. He was disqualified from a runaway win in a Grand National timber allowance race in 2016.
Senior Senator rebounded from that race to win the Hunt Cup for the first time. He won the Grand National in 2017 but fell at the Hunt Cup’s third fence and sustained a serious neck injury that required surgery. He returned to win last year’s Grand National before his second Hunt Cup score.
Crawford said he and trainer Davies considered the Grand National a crucial stepping stone to the Hunt Cup a week later.
Davies, who swept the Grand National card last year, also nominated Sportsmans Hall’s Hill Tie and Armata Stables’ Vintage Vinnie. Hill Tie won the Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial allowance timber race in course-record time at the 3¼-mile distance of the Grand National. Vintage Vinnie would be making his second start over timber fences.
Among the Grand National nominees are the second through sixth finishers behind Senior Senator in last year’s Grand National. Raven’s Choice, owned by Ann Jackson, won the 2015 Hunt Cup on a disqualification and was second in last year’s Grand National for trainer Todd Wyatt, beaten 1¼ lengths.
Black and Blue Stable’s Monstaleur finished third, beaten four lengths by Senior Senator, and close behind him as Kinross Farm’s Old Timer. Armata’s Joshua G., trained by Kathy Neilson, went from a fifth-place Grand National finish to second in the Hunt Cup.
Also nominated out of the 2018 race was Upland Partners’ Sovereign Fund, the sixth finisher, and Mrs. William D. Class Jr.’s Gas Can Eddie, who lost his rider in mid-race.
Neilson also nominated two members of Irv Naylor’s stable: recent import Jack Slade, who had been a handicap steeplechase competitor in Ireland, and maiden timber winner Ardrahan.
Billy Meister, who trains Gas Can Eddie, also nominated Armata’s front-running Grand Manan, the third finisher in last fall’s New Jersey Hunt Cup. Armata also is represented in the nominations by Wildcatter, the winner by disqualification of the 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup.
Champion timber trainer Jack Fisher nominated Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society, who finished third in the 2018 Maryland Hunt Cup after a second in the previous year. Completing the nominations is Jeremy Batoff’s Class Indian, who most recently finished sixth in the 2018 Winterthur Bowl.
Here are the 15 nominees to the 117th running of the $50,000 Grand National.
Ardrahan (GB). 2012 ch. g., Apple Tree—Issaflo, by Alflora. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Swanbridge Bloodstock (GB). 2018 record: 2-1-0-0, $9,000. Won a Genesee Valley Hunt Cup maiden timber after losing his rider at Shawan Downs in a similar race, his first career start.
Class Indian. 2007 gr. or ro. g., Waquoit—Class Story, by Class Secret. Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Breeder: Mede Cahaba Stable and Stud (Va.). 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,650. 2017 record: 5-1-1-0, $13,650. 2016 record: 3-1-0-1, $14,000. 2015 record: 4-1-0-2, $14,000. Finished sixth in 2018 Winterthur Bowl and John D. Schapiro Memorial amateur apprentice timber at My Lady’s Manor. Fell while leading in 2017 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Won 2017 Schapiro, then was fourth in Grand National’s Western Run Plate and second in Winterthur amateur apprentice timber allowance. Won 2016 Queen’s Cup timber allowance.
Drift Society (Ire). 2008 b. g., Jackson’s Drift—Tansey Yearwood (Ire), by Moscow Society. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Eleanor Bennett (Ire). 2018 record: 2-0-0-1, $11,500. 2017 record: 2-0-3-0, $23,400. 2016 record: 3-1-1-1, $23,500. Finished distant third in 2018 Maryland Hunt Cup after second by three-quarters of a length in 2017 Hunt Cup. Finished fourth in 2018 My Lady’s Manor. Won 2016 John D. Schapiro amateur apprentice allowance at My Lady’s Manor, then finished good third in Maryland Hunt Cup.
Gas Can Eddie. 2007 ch. g., Maria’s Mon—Donnan’s Holly, by Dixieland Band. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Breeder: Bohemia Stable (Md.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $450. Fell late in 2018 Grand National and lost rider at 12th fence of Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished distant sixth in 2017 Willowdale maiden after bolting in division of John Rush Streett Memorial maiden timber race at 2017 My Lady’s Manor.
Grand Manan. 2009 b. g., Giant’s Causeway—Manoa, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: William Meister. Breeders: Stuart S. Janney III and Phipps Stable (Ky.). 2018: 5-0-0-1, $6,200. 2017 record: 5-0-3-0, $28,500. Finished third in 2018 New Jersey Hunt Cup after fifth in Radnor Hunt Cup on very soft ground. Pulled up in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Finished second in 2017 International Gold Cup and National Sporting Library and Museum Cup. Closed 2016 season with back-to-back front-running victories in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup and International Gold Cup.
Hill Tie. 2010 b. g., Dance With Ravens—Ready for Love, by Not For Love. Owner: Sportsmans Hall. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeders: Corbett Farm and John B. Secor (Md.) 2018 record: 3-1-1-0, $17,700. 2017 record: 1-0-0-1, $1,500. Finished sixth in 2018 Virginia Gold Cup. Won his maiden victory in Grand National’s 2018 Benjamin H. Murray Memorial amateur timber allowance after second in John Rush Streett maiden timber at My Lady’s Manor.
Jack Slade (Ire). 2010 ch. g., Stowaway—Sharps Express, by Presenting. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Mrs. E. Mallon (Ire). 2018 NSA record: No starts. Making his first U.S. start after moderately successful career in Irish handicap steeplechases. Finished third in a Punchestown handicap in October 2018 before being imported.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Breeder: Jason L. Cole (Pa.) 2018 record: 2-0-1-0, $20,000. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,050. Finished second, beaten five lengths, in 2018 Maryland Hunt Cup after fifth in Grand National. Fell at sixth fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup, then was last of six in Willowdale Steeplechase. Finished fourth in 2016 Grand National, then fell in Maryland Hunt Cup and finished third in Willowdale amateur allowance timber.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Breeders: Dr. James E. Bryant and Linda P. Davis (Va.). 2018 record: 5-0-1-2, $16,100. 2017 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Finished second in 2018 Genesee Valley Hunt Cup, then was sixth in Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. Was third in 2018 Grand National and Willowdale Steeplechase, then fifth in Brown Advisory Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs. Pulled up in 2017 Willowdale Steeplechase, his only start that year. Closed ground for dead-heat win in 2016 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $5,400. 2016 record: 4-0-1-2, $17,400. Finished fourth in 2018 Grand National, then fell at third fence of Maryland Hunt Cup. Was leading in 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup when he unseated his rider at second-to-last fence. Finished second in 2017 Grand National, beaten 1 1/2 lengths. Finished third in 2016 New Jersey Hunt Cup after second in Radnor Hunt Cup.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Breeder: Cary W. Jackson (Md.) 2018 record: 2-0-1-0, $10,400. 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,300. Finished second in 2018 Grand National, then was fifth in Willowdale Steeplechase. Finished third in 2017 Grand National. Won 2016 Grand National, then fell at 16th fence in Maryland Hunt Cup. Placed first in 2015 Maryland Hunt Cup after finishing close second. Won 2014 Willowdale Steeplechase.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Breeder: Charles C. D. McGill (Pa.) 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $90,000. 2017 record: 2-1-0-0, $18,000. Won his second Maryland Hunt Cup victory in 2018 after coming back from neck surgery. Won 2018 Grand National for second consecutive year. Fell at third fence of 2017 Maryland Hunt Cup. Won 2016 Maryland Hunt Cup after setting most of the pace.
Sovereign Fund. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Giant’s Causeway—Colonial Play, by Pleasant Colony. Owner: Upland Partners. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Breeder: Robert S. Evans (Ky.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2017 record: No starts. In first start since 2015, finished sixth in 2018 Grand National before fall at Maryland Hunt Cup’s 20th fence. Finished fourth in 2015 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup for second straight year. Finished second in 2015 Willowdale Steeplechase after win in Grand National’s Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance race.
Vintage Vinnie (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe (Ire)—Bobby’s Jet, by Bob’s Return. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Breeder: Carmel Hennessy (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $2,700. 2017 NSA record: No starts. In only U.S. start, finished second in division of 2018 John Rush Streett Memorial at My Lady’s Manor. Winner of an Aintree steeplechase by 22 lengths in June 2017, he subsequently was unplaced in the Galway Plate Steeplechase.
Wildcatter. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Tale of the Cat—Cita My Dear, by Kris S. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Ramona S. Bass (Ky.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2017 record: 2-0-0-1, $3,000. Pulled up in 2018 My Lady’s Manor and refused fence late in Maryland Hunt Cup. Finished third in the 2017 Radnor Hunt Cup after falling in Grand National. Finished second and placed first in 2015 Radnor Hunt Cup.