FAIR HILL, Md.—Joshua G, owned by Armata Stables, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Jennie Brannigan, finished third in the Lady Rider Timber race at Fair Hill, but that, combined with his points from winning the Ladies race at Brandywine, made him the Lady Rider series champion and the 2017 Overall Champion.
It was a amazing day with six hours of racing, featuring 12 races and running from 10:15 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. on a beautiful very warm spring day.
Race co-chairmen Don Cochran, Jay Meister and Paddy Neilson did an amazing job of keeping races running on time, despite some problems and confusion in the two Maiden Training Flat races when trainers didn’t get their horses to the paddock on time.
Witor (Ger), owned by Blair Wyatt, trained by husband Todd and ridden by Amelia McGuirk, won the Ladies race over Coastal Moon, owned by Upland Partners, trained by Todd McKenna and ridden by Annie Yeager, with Joshua G third and Leffingwell Lion, owned and trained by Elizabeth Korrell and ridden by daughter Virginia fourth, in a race that was wide open until the very end.
“We’ve had Witor a long time,” said Todd Wyatt. “He’s been hurt a couple of times. We’ve been hunting him with Elkridge-Harford.”
Previously owned by Merriefield Farm and trained by Wyatt, Witor ran and won once over hurdles from 2012 to 2014, then ran over timber twice in 2015 and hasn’t run since until Fair Hill, “My wife owns him now,” said Wyatt. “We thought we’d run him in a point-to-point and see how he does. We’ll wait and see what he does next.”
Neilson saddled All of the Above, owned by Sycamore Run Farm and Move Up Stables and ridden by Steven Clements, to win the Heavyweight Timber over Don’t Make Me Cry, owned by Holwood Stable and trained and ridden by Mark Beecher, and Gusto At Dawn, owned, trained and ridden by Benjamin C. Swope.
Sycamore Run Farm is owned by Charles C. Coyne and Miss Anna E, Coyne of Unionville, Pa.
“He was stakes placed on the flat,” said Neilson of All of the Above. “He was evented for two years. I’ve had him for six months. He’s crazy but talented. He’s spooky, and he goes sideways and backwards.”
Boogie Biz, owned by Daniel R. Baker and trained and ridden by Beecher, won the Novice timber over Papermill Stable’s Captain Easy, trained by Billy Meister and ridden by Eric Poretz, with Mrs. S.K. Johnston’s Share Out, trained by Wyatt and ridden by McGuirk, placing third.
RODRIGUEZ, owned by Kiplin Hall, trained by Williaam Dowling and ridden by Englishman Hadden Frost, who is here for a month, won the Open Timber.
Rosbrian Farm’s horses placed second and third, with Mecklenburg, trained by Tara Elmore and ridden by Yeager, second and Class Brahms, also trained by Elmore and ridden by Beecher, third.
“He jumped well,” said Frost. He did everything right, and he was enjoying himself. He came out of this race feeling he was a super star.”
Lear of the Cat, owned, trained and ridden by Brittany M. Stoddard, won the Foxhunter Timber over McCrady’s, owned, trained and ridden by Lauren Shock, with Hoppy Do, trained by Meister and owned and ridden by Bet Bridges, third.
McCrady’s second place at Fair Hill, combined with his win at Brandywine, gave him the Delaware Valley series championship in Foxhunter Timber, repeating his championship from 2016.
No Heavyweight or Open Champions were awarded as no horse ran in twice in those races.
With both the Foxhall Farm Team Race and Cheshire cancelled due to a late spring snow, there were only two meets to qualify from.
Meister was Leading Trainer and Bethany Baumgardner was Leading Rider and Leading Lady rider.
JODY PETTY, 44, rode his final race in the Amateur Flat, concluding a stellar career during which he won 150 races, including winning the Breeders Cup Steeplechase three times on McDynamo and winning the Maryland Hunt Cup on Guts For Garters.
Petty said he started thinking about retiring last year when Poretz asked him how long he’d been riding races.
“I’ve been riding four years more than you’re old,” Petty said he’d responded.
Mark Grier’s Add Four, trained by Wyatt and ridden by McGuirk, won the Maiden Training Flat over Alajmal, owned by Gregory Hawkins, trained by Janet Elliot and ridden by Michael Mitchell, with Lawrence Stables’ Ashby’s Rebel Yell, trained by James Lawrence and ridden by Rafael Andres third.
Chief of Hearts, owned by High Note Stables, trained by Brooke Beyer and ridden by John Brophy, won the second division of the Maiden Training Flat.
Patricia Moseley’s Proudly, trained by Tim Wooley and ridden by Brannigan. was second and Jump to Juneau, owned by KMSN Stable, trained by Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Clements, was third. Tale of Verve, who was second to American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness Stakes when he was owned by Charles Fipke and trained by Dallas Stewart, and also ran in the Breeders Cup Marathon in 2016, won the Amateur Open Flat for new owner C F Farms.
Michael Dickenson trains the 5-year-old stallion, and he was ridden by Adam Davison.
Yellow Mountain, owned by Riverdee Stable, trained by Sheppard and ridden by Clements, was second with Allyuee Ben J Stable’s Hirschbein, trained by Dickenson and ridden by Jo Bagley, placing third.
The Junior Field Master Chases were very popular, with nine in the Horses section and two Medium and seven Large in the Ponies section.
Brave Prospect, trained by Jody Michel and owned and ridden by Abigail Murphy, won the Thoroughbred Horses, and Buckshot, trained by Ashton Williams and owned and ridden by Teddy Davies, won the Non-Thoroughbred Horses.
Bonjour, owned by Daisy A. Fenwick, trained by Amy Fenwick and ridden by Tommy Fenwick, won the Medium Ponies, and Baily, owned by EHM Stables, trained by Betty McCue and ridden by Theo Sashko, won the Large Ponies.
Chewy, owned and trained by Lauren Schock and ridden by Ana Farber, won the Small Pony Flat race, repeating his win at Brandywine to win the Small Pony championship.
Hickory, owned by Teddy Davies, trained by Wiliams and ridden by Scarlet Davies was second at Fair Hill and Emmy-Lou, owned and ridden by Max McKenna and trained by Todd McKenna, was third.
Roger That, owned by Gerry Brewster, trained by Mimi Schmitz and ridden by Colin Smith, won the Medium Pony flat, with EHM Stables’ Count Chocula, trained by McCue and ridden by Theo Sushko, placing second.
Count Cholula, the winner at Brandywine, won the Series Medium Pony championship.
Schock’s Mookie Monster, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Parker Hendriks, won the Large Pony Flat, repeating his win at Brandywine to also take the series Large Pony Championship. Most of the pony riders look like they’re just holding on, but Parker Hendriks rides hard to every finish.
Winning is in his genes, with his father Ricky a very successful steeplechase trainer and his grandmother, Wendy Wanamaker Hendriks, having been a very successful hunter rider with many championships and national titles.
Joey Dipierro on Hot Chocolate was second and Julia Popczyk on Seeing Doouble was third at Fair Hill.
The races drew a very good crowd, with numerous cars lining the finish stretch.
The cars got in free, as an entrance fee was only charged at the gates to the grandstand.
“We let them in free this year, as it is Easter,” said Cochran. “But we’ll charge them next year.”