Fulfilling the promise he had shown as a three-year-old, Irv Naylor’s Top Man Michael took the lead in the early stretch and pulled away to an 8 1/4-length victory in the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial at the Foxfield Spring meet in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, April 26.
With Carol-Ann Sloan riding for trainer Cyril Murphy, Top Man Michael followed the pace of Daybreak Stables’ Manacor and struck nearing the final two fences. On the lead at the second to last, Top Man Michael came home with a clear-cut victory.
Manacor finished second, 6 1/4 lengths clear of Tempt Me Alex. Top Man Michael ran the Van Clief’s 2 1/8 miles in 4:02.80 on turf rated as good.
Top Man Michael’s victory in the Van Clief Memorial, an optional allowance hurdle, followed a winless 2013 season. He had scored a sparkling victory in the 2012 Gladstone Stakes for three-year-olds at Fair Hill, N.J., but fell while bidding for the lead in the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C.