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Senior Senator Retires Maryland Hunt Cup

Photos by Douglas Lees

mhc19.lees4Trainer Joe Davies and jockey Eric Poretz hoist the Maryland Hunt Cup in jubilation as owner Skip Crawford, MFH, fist-pumps Senior Senator's 3rd victory in the 125th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup to retire the trophy. Potomac Hunt Joint-Master Vicki Crawford is at far right.

In a heroic come-from-behind effort exacerbated by a momentary heart-stopping mishap, Senior Senator battled back and claimed the fruit of a four-year quest. Owner Skip Crawford, MFH, Potomac Hunt (MD) now takes permanent possession of the Maryland Hunt Cup—arguably the world’s crown jewel of timber racing—which he can place alongside the Grand National Challenge Cup which Senior Senator also retired just last week in Butler, Maryland.

Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point: Family Day In the Country

Photos by Joanne Maisano

brh19.maiden hurdle.maisanoMaiden Hurdle (r-l): Number 1, Keoni (Woods Winants up) wins on a DQ; Number 3, Scrappy Warrior (Mike Woodson up) loses rider at the last fence.

Blue Ridge’s warm spring race day on Saturday, April 21, 2019 was a welcome change for those who hark back to those cold, blustery days on the Woodley hillside in early March when the races were formerly held.

In the first race of the day, Maiden Hurdle, trainer Michael Pearson saddled two strong horses, Keoni and Scrappy Warrior. With seasoned amateur jockey Woods Winants on Keoni and Mike Woodson on Scrappy Warrior, the Pearson team shared the pacesetting until the last fence when Scrappy Warrior stumbled and lost its rider. Racing to the stretch, Shannon Hill Farm’s All Out of Aces with 2018 leading jockey Barry Foley aboard grabbed the lead. Keoni battled back but All Out of Aces was first at the wire, then disqualified for cutting a pole and being off course. Keoni was declared the winner. Big E, ridden by Kieran Norris and trained by Julie Gomena placed second.

Senior Senator Retires Maryland's Grand National Challenge Cup

Photos by Douglas Lees

senor senator.gns2Senior Senator (Eric Poretz up) and challenger Monstaleur (Forrest Kelley up) at the last fence.Potomac MFH Skip Crawford’s Senior Senator won his third straight Grand National Point-to-Point—a three-and-a-quarter mile race over timber in Butler, Maryland—in a dominant finish to retire the challenge cup. The horse also has two legs up on the Maryland Hunt Cup and will be gunning to retire that trophy next Saturday in Glyndon.

How Randy Rouse’s National Fence Saved Steeplechasing

brh18.maiden hurdle.maisanoSteeplechase horses swish through the man-made national fences routinely at most hurdle races around the country today. Brush fences were once expensive and time-consuming to set up, and racetracks were dropping steeplechase races from their cards.  /  Joanne Maisano photoIt was autumn of 1973, and the world was in turmoil. U.S. forces were pulling out of Vietnam, the Watergate scandal was rocking the nation, and a looming energy crisis was getting global traction.

The steeplechase circuit, too, was in a state of flux. The year before, the bottom had fallen out of the industry. New York basically kicked out the jumpers and went from eighty-three jump races at Belmont, Aqueduct, and Saratoga in 1970 to fifteen in 1973. And those were at Saratoga only.

Jimmy Day Entries Finish Strong at Old Dominion

Photos by Douglas Lees

odh19.maiden hurdleMaiden Hurdle race (l-r): #1, Apollo Landing (Bryan Cullinane up) finishes 1st; Leopard Cat (Paul Cawley up) places 2nd.

The trainer-rider team of Jimmy Day and Bryan Cullinane won four of the nine races carded at the Old Dominion Point-to-Point at Ben Venue Farm on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle (first race) was a walkover, and the rest of the fields were sparse, but Day and Cullinane won over hurdles, over timber, and on the flat.

In the Maiden Hurdle, Cullinane took Charlie Fenwick’s Apollo Landing right out to the front and pulled away from Leopard Cat for the easy win.

Gomena Saddles Three Winners at Orange County

 Photos by Douglas Lees

och19.open hurdle(l-r) Menacing Dennis (Aaron Sinnott up) finishes first; Ack Feisty (Jacob Roberts up) is third in the Open Hurdle.

Julie Gomena-trained horses swept three of the seven races for three different owners with three different riders at the Orange County Point-to-Point on Sunday, March 31, 2019: Maiden Flat (second race), Open Hurdle (fifth race), and the Open Timber (sixth race). Racing was run over the Locust Hill Farm racecourse in Middleburg, Virginia: