Doc Cebu wins featured $35,000 Willowdale Timber race
- By SARA CAVANAGH
UNIONVILLE, Pa.-- Doc Cebu won the featured $35,000 Willowdale Steeplechase amateur timber stakes by 2 1/2 lengths over Pured It and Monstaleur on a damp and very chilly day with misty rain and occasional downpours.
Despite the cold and rain, there was a large and very enthusiastic crowd of spectators, with cars filling virtually every available parking space and kids riding stick horses and playing games.
Doc Cebu, owned by Charles C. Fenwick, Jr., Michael Hankin and Charles Noell, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Hadden Frost, also won this race last year.
Armata Stable's Grand Manon, trained by William Meister and ridden by Chris Gracie, went out to a big early lead, but he lost his rider on the second circuit of the three mile race, leaving the lead to Black and Blue Stable's Monstaleur, trained and ridden by Forrest Kelly.
Doc Cebu took command after the horses emerged from the woods at the top of the hill for the last time, and Sycamore Run Farm's Pured It, trained by Katherine Neilson and ridden by Eddie Keating, moved up through the stretch to place second.
"It was a shame Grand Manon lost his rider," said Fenwick. "Doc Cebu jumped well."
When he first started his career as a jumper, Doc Cebu was owned solely by Fenwick, who is also in partnership with Hankin and Noell in Bruton Street-US.
Fenwick said he decided last summer that, seeing as he was in the Bruton Street-US partnership, that Doc Cebu should also be owned in partnership, but that, instead of Bruton Street-US being named as owner, Doc Cebu would run in his name.
"He's a riches to rags to riches story," said Fenwick of the 8-year-old by Hard Spun out of a Jade Hunter mare. "He was very highly thought of as a 2-year-old. "But, racing on the flat, he ended up at Charlestown, exhausted."
That was when Fenwick got him and tried him over fences.
"He's won seven races for us," said Fenwick. "He's a tough customer. He has a lot of personality. I love him, but I don't trust him. He'll bite you, and he might kick you,"
"We tried to fox hunt him, but that didn't do," said Fenwick. "He seems to love this. He tries really hard."