WINTERTHUR, Del.--Kathy Neilson saddled Armata Stables' Fashion Line, ridden by Conor Tierney, to win the featured $20,000 Vicmead Plate Apprentice Rider Timber race at Winterthur Races on May 7.
The race was run in honor of Louis "Paddy" Neilson, a top rider and trainer who died in 2019..
Fashion Line, ridden by the Maryland Hunt Cup winning jockey, went right to the lead at the start, was never headed and won comfortably by 6 lengths.
"The race was in honor of Dad, so it was definitely a sentimental moment," said Neilson. "Dad was a fantastic rider, but more than that, he was a good person. If one of us was in a race and either pulled up or won, he was there for us either way. He was a really good father."
Fashion Line was bred by Magdalen Bryant," said Neilson. "His mom was a winner over jumps. He was given to me by Beth Fout. He's a big, good looking horse, so we went on to teach him to jump over timber."
FASHION LINE had run over hurdles, trained by Doug Fout, without winning and Neilson had also run him over hurdles twice in 2022 before switching him to timber.
"The first time he ran, at Howard County, he won," said Neilson. "He always surprises me. He likes this game and always seems to improve."
"One of Armata's horses got hurt and had to have time off, so I gave them Fashion Line," said Neilson. "They were delighted when he won the maiden race at the Manor. Perry Dalton and Ben Griswold are great supporters of sport. Nobody had any expectations for him (after his hurdle career), so it's great when it turns out. He fox hunts. I fox hunt him. He's really fun."
"But obviously to win Dad's race meant a lot," said Neilson.
Todd McKenna saddled the winners of both of the other two timber races at Winterthur.
Upland Partners' Rhythmia, ridden by Harry Beswick, won the $20,000 Maiden Timber, section one, by 1 1/2 lengths over Druid's Altar (Ire), trained by Wlly Dowling.
Keystone Thoroughbreds' Bob's Bar (Ire), also ridden by Beswick, won the $20,000 Maiden Timber, section two, by 1 1/2 lengths over Hero's Return, trained by Mark Beecher.
Dowling saddled Maranto Manor's Rhebus Road (Ire), ridden by Tierney, to win the Amateur or Apprentice Rider Training Flat race by 1 1/4 lengths over Quidditch, trained by Ricky Hendriks.