Irvin L. “Skip” Crawford’s Senior Senator will face a crowded lineup of opponents on Saturday as he attempts to win the $50,000 Grand National for a third straight year and retire the historic race’s Challenge Cup.
The 117th running of the 3¼-mile Grand National will launch the three-race program in Butler, Md., with a 3:15 p.m. post time. The race is the middle jewel of the Maryland Timber Triple Crown, preceded by the My Lady’s Manor last Saturday and the Maryland Hunt Cup on April 27.
Like the other two meets, the Grand National limits all of its races to amateur jockeys. The Grand National attracted a field of 13, as did the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial timber allowance. The Western Run Plate, another timber allowance, drew a field of eight.
Senior Senator, trained by Joe Davies, used last year’s Grand National as his springboard to a second victory in the Hunt Cup.
The nine-year-old Domestic Dispute gelding will have his regular jockey, Eric Poretz, in the saddle, and he will face many of the same opponents from last year’s Grand National victory.
Raven’s Choice finished second by 1¼ lengths and will start from the inside position with Paul O’Neill. Winner of the 2015 Hunt Cup by disqualification, Ann Jackson’s 12-year-old is trained by Todd Wyatt.
Trainer Forrest Kelly will be aboard Black and Blue Stable’s Monstaleur, who finished third last year. He finished the season with a sixth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup.
Kinross Farm’s Old Timer finished fourth, a neck behind Monstaleur, in last year’s Grand National. Trainer Richard Valentine named Mark Beecher to ride Old Timer, who fell early in last year’s Maryland Hunt Cup.
Eddie Keating will again ride Armata Stables’ Joshua G., who finished fifth in the Grand National before a game second-place finish in the Hunt Cup. Also coming out of last year’s Grand National are Upland Partners’ Sovereign Fund, the sixth finisher, and Mrs. William D. Class Jr.’s Gas Can Eddie, who fell in the race’s late stages.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher will saddle Bruton Street-US’s Drift Society, who finished third in last year’s Hunt Cup after a second-place finish the previous year. Hadden Frost will ride.
Here is the field for the 117th running of the $50,000 Grand National.
Raven’s Choice. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dance With Ravens—Millashand, by Regal Intention. Owner: Ann Jackson. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Paul O’Neill. 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.
Class Indian. 2007 gr. or ro. g., Waquoit—Class Story, by Class Secret. Owner: Jeremy A. Batoff. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Justin Batoff. 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.
Wildcatter. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Tale of the Cat—Cita My Dear, by Kris S. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Maj. Harry Wallace. 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.
Senior Senator. 2010 b. g., Domestic Dispute—Queen Kennelot, by Awesome Again. Owner: Irvin L. Crawford II. Trainer: Joseph Davies. Jockey: Eric Poretz. 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. Jockey: Bethany Baumgardner. 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.
Joshua G. 2006 ch. g., Run Softly—Search for Reality, by Regal Search. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Eddie Keating. 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.
Old Timer. 2006 b. g., Orientate—Chatham Hall, by Green Dancer. Owner: Kinross Farm. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Jockey: Mark Beecher. 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.
Drift Society (Ire). 2008 b. g., Jackson’s Drift—Tansey Yearwood (Ire), by Moscow Society. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Hadden Frost. 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.
Hill Tie. 2010 b. g., Dance With Ravens—Ready for Love, by Not For Love. Owner: Sportsmans Hall. Trainer: Joseph G. Davies. Jockey: Brett Owings. 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.
Monstaleur. 2007 ch. g., Meadow Monster—Taleur, by Stalwars. Owner: Black and Blue Stable. Trainer: Forrest Kelly. Jockey: 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.
Gas Can Eddie. 2007 ch. g., Maria’s Mon—Donnan’s Holly, by Dixieland Band. Owner: Mrs. William D. Class Jr. Trainer: William Meister. Jockey: Open. 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.
Ardrahan (GB). 2012 ch. g., Apple Tree—Issaflo, by Alflora. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Martin McIntyre. 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.
Out Playing. 2010 b. g., Outlanker—Dancing Ballade, by Devil’s Bag. Owner: Donald Cochran. Trainer: Todd McKenna. Jockey: Archie Macauley. Breeder: Daybreak Stables (W.Va.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $600. 2017 record: 2-0-0-0, $450. Finished fifth in 2018 John D. Schapiro Memorial at My Lady’s Manor and then was pulled up in Grand National’s Benjamin Murray Memorial. Finished sixth in the 2017 John Rush Streett Memorial at the Manor and was eighth in the Murray. Looking for career maiden win.