FAIR HILL, Md.—Elizabeth Voss saddled the winners of four races at the Fair Hill Spring Races on May 27, but it was Paddy Young and Jonathan Sheppard who trained the winners of the two featured races. While Young was still in hospital recovering from a serious head injury suffered at Radnor on May 20, he was listed as the trainer of Amy Taylor Rowe’s For Goodness Sake (Ire), who won the $50,000 Iris Ann Coggins Memorial Hurdle Stakes race.
Paddy’s wife Leslie is normally listed as trainer, but Paddy has a special interest in For Goodness Sake, according to Rowe, so they decided to list him as trainer.
“That’s a bit of a tear-jerker,” said Rowe.
But luckily, Young is now recovering, and on June 9, Leslie Young posted on Facebook, “Today was a good day. Paddy Young got to leave the ICU room around 2ish...he is still at Paoli and might be able to go to Bryn Mawr Rehab either tomorrow or Saturday. Waiting on last Doctor to sign him off....#WeAreGettingThere.”
“The big race at Fair Hill last year was the Valentine Memorial, and I won that with Baserati (Brz) last year,” said Rowe. “So it’s exciting to win the feature two years in a row.”
“ I bought her late last fall,” said Rowe of her 5-year-old who finished fifth in her first race in this country in the Margaret Currey Henley Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 13. “She’s Irish, so she likes this going.”
It was a chilly day with intermittent rain showers at Fair Hill, and the going was deep enough that the timber fences in the infield were eliminated from the timber stakes.
Mark Beecher, who trained and rode the winner of the timber race, said that Fair Hill officials decided to take out the fences in the infield after the jumbotron was moved across the field the day before and it had dug in really deep.
There was a big crowd for the first half of the day, as the weather forecast had been for clearer skies, but as it got chillier and rainier the road to the gates and the parking field was solid with people leaving.
Despite that, there was still a fair number of people that remained to the end.
For Goodness Sake beat Mrs. Thomas Voss’ Swoop, trained by her daughter Elizabeth and ridden by Bernard Dalton, by 2 ¾ lengths.
BUTTONWOOD Farm’s All The Way Jose, bred and trained by Sheppard and ridden by Keri Brion, won the $40,000 Valentine Memorial Handicap Hurdle by 15 ¼ lengths over Stonelea Stables LLC’s Balance The Budget, trained by Julie Gomena and ridden by Mark Watts, who had led at times during the race by as much as 40 lengths.
“I had a feeling that was going to happen,” said Brion of Balance The Budget’s big lead. “I had hoped Jack’s horse (Hardrock Eleven, trained by Doug Fout and ridden by Jack Doyle) would go with him. Jonathan put blinkers on All The Way Jose. He soared all the fences. He’s really coming back to the horse he was in 2014.”
“Keri rode a fantastic race,” said Buttonwood Farm’s owner Ron Moorhead. “She knew just when to make her move. All The Way Jose was the Novice Horse of the Year in 2014, and then he had breathing problems, so he was off for a couple of years. It’s good to have him back.”
Beecher trained and rode Happenstance & Harry’s Boogie Biz to win the $25,000 Allowance Timber race by 1 length over Coastal Moon, owned by Upland Partners, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Doyle.
“I’ve had Boogie Biz about a year and a half,” said Beecher. “I ran him over hurdles three times, but then (when I entered him) he was on the AE (also entered) list twice. The main reason I moved him to timber was I got impatient, and I thought I had more of a chance to get him in a race over timber. He probably would have won over hurdles if I’d left him there.”
“Also, I get to ride him in timber races, instead of having to pay another jockey to ride him,” said Beecher, adding that he would have trouble making the weight for hurdles races.
“He jumped very well,” said Beecher. “This is his first season over timber, and I’m on the cautious side with horses in their first season. But he won here in the Fair Hill Point-to-Point and was second at Winterthur, so I thought he’d be okay here.”
JACK FISHER saddled Serendipity Stables Dark Gemini (Ire), ridden by Willie McCarthy, to win the first section of the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle over Mutasaawy, owned by Pathfinder Racing, trained by Neil Morris and ridden by Darren Nagle.
“I thought this race would fit him well,” said Fisher.
Voss trained the winner of the second section of the $30,000 Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle, Robert A. Kinsley’s No Wunder (GB), ridden by Jack Doyle.
No Wunder beat Hooded, owned by Irvin Naylor, trained by Cyril Murphy and ridden by Brendan Crowley, by 2 ¾ lengths,
Voss also trained Norse Star (Ire), winner of the $20,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle, and both winners of the two Training Flat races, Willow Oaks Stables LLC’s Party Nights (GB), ridden by Doyle, and her mother’s Tir Na Nog, ridden by Doyle.
“I got Party Nights at Newmarket,” said Voss. “She’s a bit of a hot head. I was hoping she’d start. She freezes sometimes.”
Obviously, Party Night didn’t cause any trouble at the start, but plenty of other horses caused problems before the start in the first few races.
In the second race, Robert Walsh twice fell off Gregory Hawkins Alajmal, trained by Janet Elliot, eventually starting to finish fifth, and Wendy Hendriks’ Sir Dream A Lot, trained by Ricky Hendriks and ridden by Ross Geraghty, refused to start.
In the third race, the Sheppard owned and trained Sackett, dumped his rider, Gerard Galligan, before the start and then refused to start,
“Norse Star hunted all winter,” said Voss of the winner of the $20,000 Maiden Claiming Hurdle. “I was going to make him a timber horse, but when we schooled him over timber he did not do well. I didn’t think he was fast enough to be a hurdle horse, so I dropped him down into a claiming race.”