Irvin S. Naylor’s Tax Ruling, marking himself as a horse to watch in the National Steeplechase Association’s timber division, held off Straight to It to win Shawan Downs’ $20,000 Legacy Chase by three-quarters of a length on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Alfred C. Griffin Jr.’s Aero finished third in a talent-packed field of ten for the kickoff event of the NSA’s fall timber championship season.
Ridden by James Slater, Tax Ruling ran the Legacy Chase’s three miles in 6:22.80 on firm turf at Shawan Downs in the hunt country north of Baltimore. The 10-year-old Dynaformer gelding, a multiple Grade 1 winner over fences, was making his first start for trainer William Meister.
Slater sent Tax Ruling to the front at the start, and Aero challenged going into the final fence. Ridden by Paddy Young, Aero grabbed the lead briefly, but Tax Ruling fought back and regained the advantage.
Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s Straight to It made a late run under Mark Beecher to grab the place.
A two-time winner of the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) as well as the 2011 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1), Tax Ruling made his timber debut in a tough spot, the Mason Houghland Memorial at Iroquois in Nashville on May 11. He ran well to finish second to Worried Man, who finished seventh in the Legacy Chase.
Tax Ruling scored his first timber victory in his next start, the James Stump Memorial novice allowance race at the Fair Hill Races on May 25.
In a closely watched Shawan Downs training flat race, Edition Farm’s Run to Class showed his class with a 1 1/2-length victory over Naylor’s Sacred Soul. Naylor also took the third spot with his Lake Placid. Mary Ann Houghland’s Pierrot Lunaire, prepping for the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 19, finished fifth.
A homebred Read the Footnotes three-year-old, Run to Class has been running with limited success at the metropolitan New York tracks. Roddy Mackenzie, riding for trainer Janet Elliot, guided Run to Class through the 1 3/8 miles in 2:34.60.