UNIONVILLE, PA--Armata Stables had three winners at the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point on Easter Sunday, April 1, with its Vintage Vinnie being the most impressive winner of the day.
Vintage Vinnie (Ire), trained by Joe Davies and ridden by Chris Gracie, won the Heavyweight race by about 30 lengths over Jeffrey G, owned and trained by Jason Cole and ridden by Eric Poretz, with Nancy Jane Hoyt's Handsome Hoyt, trained by Kathie Neilson and ridden by Gerard Galligan, a distanced third.
But the most impressive aspect of his win was that his was the fastest race of the day, 5:51, and he ran it 15 seconds faster than the second fastest time of the day, which was the winner of the Ladies race, while carrying 30 pounds more weight.
Grand Manon won the Henry C. Baldwin Challenge Trophy for the Open race, winning it for the third consecutive year in a row in the time of 6:06.
Grand Manon is also owned by Armata Stables, is trained by Billy Meister and was ridden by Willie McCarthy.
McCARTHY SAID he had ridden Grand Manon one time two or three years ago, when the horse was just starting out, but that he had schooled him over fences at home before this race.
McCarthy will be riding the horse throughout his spring races.
"It was an easy race for me," said McCarthy. "Riding him is like driving a Ferrari. Billy told me to just sit quiet on him."
Grand Manon went to the lead right from the start and won over Sportmans Hall's Hill Tie, trained by Davies and ridden by Poretz, with Sycamore Run Farm's Pured It, trained by Neilson and ridden by Galligan, third.
"That's his running style," said McCarthy of Grand Manon's front running win.
Armata Stables is owned by Ben Griswold and Perry Bolton.
"It was good day, scoring a triple," said Griswold.
"This is the first time Perry, Ben and I have teamed up in about 20 years," said Davies. "Vintage Vinnie has jumped around the (English) Grand National course twice, although not in the Grand National."
"It's good fun teaming up with Joe," said Griswold.
"We were in England looking for a horse to buy, and we were looking thorough a catalog at the races, when one horse fell in the race and another one just sailed over him, and we said, `Let's get that one.'" said Davies, and they pursued the horse and bought Vintage Vinnie.
"We fox hunted him a few times, and this is his second race in this country," said Davies. "Chris is our secret weapon. He has lovely, soft hands. We found him hiding in a hay mow in Maryland. I've been trying to get him to come back to riding races for a while."
Gracie had retired from racing about 10 years ago.
"I had been getting too heavy to ride races," said Gracie. "Besides, I have a real job now, Gracie Bloodstock. We foal mares and sell at auction."
"I was impressed by Vintage Vinnie's jumping," said Gracie, who also rode the horse for his first win here at Warrenton Point-to-Point. "I was just sitting on him. I wanted to save something for the end."
ROMANCING, owned by Fancy Hill Farm, trained by Nancy Knox and ridden by Anne Finney won the Ladies race in 6:05, with Big Feat, owned and trained by Alicia Murphy and ridden by Sara Knox, second and Leffingwell Lion, owned and trained by Elizabeth Korrell and ridden by Virginia Korrell, third.
"I've been riding this horse for just a few months," said Finney. "He's a lovely horse, he's strong. Bethany Baumgardner trained him. He jumped beautifully. I bribe him with banana cookies.""
"I haven't done this for 20 years," said Finney. "I've been riding at the flat tacks for the last 20 years. I''d forgotten how much fun it is to run and jump."
The Novice race was split, with Takepointsandrun, owned by Irvin Naylor, trained by Meister and ridden by Galligan winning the first section in 6:39 over Rocket Star Red, owned by Lucy Goelet, trained by Meister and ridden by Gracie, second, and Out Playing, owned by Don Cochran and trained and ridden by Forrest Kelly, placing third.
Armata Stables' Going For Broke (Ire), trained by Stephanie Moore and ridden by Peretz, won the second section in 6:22 over Kinross Farm's Pocket Talk (Ire), trained by Davies and ridden by Gracie, second and Merriebell Stable LLC's Spoiler Alert, trained by Meister and ridden by McCarthy, placing third.
"I was just cruising," said Peretz of Going For Broke. "He went really well. He chipped in at a couple of fences. He;s still green."
Going For Broke and Pocket Talk jumped the last fence side by side, with Going For Broke winning in an exciting finish.
"He really dug in at the last, and that set him up for the run in the stretch," said Poretz.
McCrady's, owned and trained by Lauren Schock and ridden by Julie Nafe, won the Foxhunter Timber race as the only finisher.
Devil's Brew, owned and trained by Elizabeth Korrell and ridden by Virginia Korrell, tripped and went to his knees between fences two and three and lost his rider.
"It was phenomenal," said Nafe, who finished in 6:40 despite being alone most of the way. "I just cruised around."
SKYLAR McKENNA rode Armata Stables' Embarrassed, trained by her mother Kathy Neilson, to win the Junior Field Masters race, Horse section over Parker Hendriks on Stewart Strawbridge's Guts For Garters (Ire), trained by his mother, Sanna Neilson.
"I led most of the way," said McKenna. "He's a very unique horse. He likes to lead. He's my best hunt horse. He hunts very well, but going downhilll he tries to get in front."
Cassidy Wilcox on Lauren Schock's Baboo won the Large Pony section of the Field Master race over two Work To Ride ponies, Pistachio, ridden by Marisol Jiminez and Hazel, ridden by Kaela Prescott.
"He broke his maiden at Cheshire," said Schock. "Cassidy was with me when we bought him at the New Holland auction two years ago. He was 4. Cassidy broke him. think he'll do well this year,"
Chase Damron won the Medium Pony section on Amanda Howe's Princess Pogo.
"I've been riding her for four years," said Damron. "This is her first win, it's very exciting. The race was good, she ran really well."
Anna Farber won the Small Pony Flat race on Schock's Chewy over max McKenna on Tony the Pony and Scarlet Davieson Hickory.
Teddy Davies won the Medium Pony Flat on Count Chocula over Nina McKenna on Fionna and Samantha English on Dolly, and Joey Dipierro won the Large Pony flat on Hot Choculate over Parker Hendriks on Mookie Monster and Teddy Davies on Bailey.