The top two finishers from the Mason Houghland Memorial timber stakes highlight a talented, crowded field for the $20,000 Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs on Saturday, Sept. 28. The 3 1/8-mile race kicks off the National Steeplechase Association’s fall timber championship season.
The 13th annual Shawan Downs meet, staged in the hunt country north of Baltimore and benefiting the Land Preservation Trust, will offer eight races, including several filled to capacity. First post time is 1 p.m.
Highlighting the Legacy Chase open timber allowance will be the renewed rivalry of Sonny Via’s Worried Man and leading owner Irv Naylor’s Tax Ruling. When they met at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park in the Mason Houghland Memorial, Worried Man pulled a modest upset when he prevailed by 4 1/4 lengths in winning his maiden victory over timber.
Returning aboard Worried Man will be apprentice jockey Gus Dahl, who collected the biggest victory of his career at his home racecourse.
Jack Fisher, the 2012 champion trainer who handles Worried Man, also entered Sheila J. Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s Straight to It, who finished third in the Radnor Hunt Cup on May 18, and Arcadia Stables’ Delta Park, who will be making his first start since winning the 2012 Radnor Hunt Cup in Malvern, Pa. Mark Beecher rides Straight to It, and Connor Hankin will be aboard Delta Park.
Finishing second in the Mason Houghland Memorial was Tax Ruling, who made his first start over timber at Iroquois after a distinguished career over hurdles. He won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) for a second straight year in 2011 and also won that year’s Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
In his second timber start, at Fair Hill, Md., on May 25, 10-year-old Tax Ruling easily won the James Stump Memorial novice timber allowance. Now trained by timber impresario Billy Meister, Tax Ruling will be ridden by James Slater.
Upland Partners’ Golden Slammer, fourth in the Radnor Hunt Cup, returns in the Legacy Chase. Kieran Norris again will ride for trainer Todd McKenna.
Trainer Kathy Neilson named Willie McCarthy to ride Armata Stables’ Embarrassed, who won the $15,000 Willowdale Steeplechase after a second-place finish in the Winterthur Bowl a week earlier.
Three-time champion jockey Paddy Young takes over the mount on Alfred C. Griffin Jr.’s Aero, winner of the 2011 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup at Virginia Fall. In his most recent start for trainer Doug Fout, Aero finished second in the 2012 International Gold Cup.
Moonsox, owned by the Nelson and Traveller Stables of Michelle St. John, will seek to return to the winner’s circle following a seventh-place finish in the Radnor Hunt Cup. Kevin Boniface trains Moonsox, who carried Lia McGuirk to victory in the My Lady’s Manor in her first career start as a jockey.
Bruce Fenwick will saddle Merriefield Farm’s Foyle, who most recently finished fourth in the Virginia Gold Cup on May 4. Christopher Read will ride.