BUTLER, Md,--Irvin L. Crawford's Senior Senator, trained by Joe Davies and ridden by Eric Poretz, won the $50,000, 3 1/2 mile Grand National Amateur Timber Stakes by an overpowering 30 1/2 lengths in 6:11:2/5 on April 20 to retire the trophy.
He is now headed for an attempt at his third win over the daunting timber fences at the Maryland Hunt Cup.
"We were thrilled with him," said Davies. "He settled nicely in the middle of the pack then took it up from the third to last to go on and win. He jumped beautifully."
"Earlier in the week, I had listened to an NPR piece that talked about horses skipping a muddy Grand National," said Davies. "Blythe and I thought about it, but we were worried he'd be too fresh at the Hunt Cup if we skipped it. Running at the Grand National and then the Hunt Cup worked well last year, so we decided to go ahead. It turned out the ground wasn't that bad."
ARMATA STABLES' Joshua G, trained by Kathy Neilson and ridden by Eddie Keating, finished second, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Ann Jackson's Raven's Choice, trained by Todd Wyatt and ridden by Paul O'Neill, then it was 62 1/2 lengths back to Bruton Street-US; Drift Society (Ire), trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Haddon Frost, with Sportsman's Hall's Hill Tie, trained by Davies and ridden by Brett Owings, another 3 1/4 lengths back in last.
Only five of the field of 12 starters finished the 3 1/4 mile timber course, with Ardrahan falling over the last fence while attempting to challenge Senior Senator, which caused Monstaleur and Sovereign Fund to stumble and lose their riders.
Class Indian lost his rider at the second to last fence, and Gas Can Eddie lost his rider at the seventh fence, while Wildcatter went off course and Old Timer pulled up.
Neilson saddled Irvin S. Naylor's Aquies, ridden by Keating, to win the $20,000, 3 1/2 mile Benjamin H. Murray Memorial Amateur Allowance Timber by 2 1/4 lengths in 6:14 over Armata Stables' Vintage Vinnie, trained by Davies and ridden by Poetz.
"Gretchen Jackson bred Aquies," said Neilson. "I got him as a 3-year-old. Ivan Dowling taught him how to jump."
"In one year, he won a hurdle race, a flat race at Parx and a timber race, all in one year," said Neilson. "He won a maiden timber race and then for the next year he kept finishing second or third all over. He's a very consistent competitor."
Fat Chance Farm's Flaming Sword, trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Aaron Sinnoff, won the $10,000, 3 mile Western Run Plate Amateur Allowance Timber by 6 3/4 lengths in 7:11.
Joy Carrier, the first lady to win the Maryland Hunt Cup, bought Flaming Sword sight unseen at the request of Young, who is her neighbor in Unionville.
After his first win in a point-to-point, Slater said she was going to try to syndicate him.
"Lisa Stroud bought half of him," said Slater. "She's the one who named my farm Fat Chance. We're going to keep him - a two person syndicate."
I have never won a jumping race under rules as an owner in all these years," said Slater. "He's quite a nice horse. We'll probably give him some time off. I don't want him to run just this year."