The racing gods took favor on the 2018 Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point Saturday, when the five to eight inches of snow that had been predicted failed to materialize and Ebanour took the day's feature race, beating a pair of former Maryland Hunt Cup champions.
Despite un-spring like overcast skies and cold temperatures, a good size crowd turned out for the 95th renewal of the 2018 season's first timber races held under the auspices of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club at Atlanta Hall Farm in Monkton.
The six-race card featured four over fences and two on the flat. Numerous cross-entries accounted for what appeared to be a large number of scratches and all races went to the post with eight or nine entries with the exception of the Ann L. McIntosh Memorial with its field of three.
The featured race of the day, the Edward S. Voss Memorial, named in honor of the late Elkridge-Harford Master of Foxhounds, was a Maryland Hunt Cup "who's who" with 2016 and 2017 winners Senior Senator and Derwin's Prospector and four other MHC nominees going to the start.
Senior Senator, whose career was highlighted in a CBS "60 Minutes" profile last year, put on a show of high spirits in the paddock prior to be mounted by rider Eric Poretz.
Charles Fenwick's Doc Cebu took the lead at the start, taking a closely bunched field over the first fence. However, in a duel at finish between Ebanour and Senior Senator, it was the Irish-bred Ebanour who crossed the line first.
Ridden by Mark Beecher and trained by Cyril Murphy, the Irvin S. Naylor owned Ebanour came home in a time of 6:40 1/5. Bruce Fenwick's De Chera was third with Monstaleur, Wildcatter and Imperial Way rounding out the finish. Derwin's Prospector lost his rider and Doc Cebu was pulled up.
The day's second race, the George C. Clement Memorial, saw eight entries led to the start.
The Irish-bred Stand Down gave rider Eric Poretz his first win of the day, besting the number two horse, Riverdee Stable's Biedermeier, in a driving finish. Poretz piloted Frank A. Bonsal Jr's. bay home for the win in a time of 7:02 4/5. Colonel Carillo, trained by Joseph Davies and ridden by Chris Gracie, was third. It's Nothing and Simply Certain rounded out the finishers with Causeworthy, Dr. K'eogh and Jewish Holiday pulling up.
The Ann L. McIntosh Memorial Heavyweight timber saw three Maryland Hunt Cup nominees go to the start, and the field maintained the same order for most of the race with Daddy in the Dark coming out on top for owner/trainer Bruce Fenwick. Eric Poretz piloted the 8-year-old son of Bernardini home for the win in a time of 7:01 flat. The 2015 Hunt Cup winner, Raven's Choice, owned by Ann Jackson, was second with Upland Partners' Sovereign Fund coming in third.
The Babe Saportas amateur Apprentice Timber went off with a field of nine, including Class Indian, winner of last year's John D. Schapiro Memorial at the My Lady's Manor Race meet.
From the start, it appeared that Class Indian, who likes to run in front, might take the win with a wire-to-wire charge; however, he was unable to hold the lead and was overtaken at the next to last fence. Once again, jockey Eric Poretz piloted a winner home, as Going For Broke came out on top over Peter A. Jay's, Prime Prospector, with Pured It taking third. The winning time was 6:30 4/5.
The final two contests of the day were run on the flat.
The Alfred J. Smithwick Memorial Flat Training Race saw Flash Jackson, owned by Ann Jackson and trained by Todd Wyatt, piloted home to victory by Brett Owings. Robert A. Kinsley's Elizabeth Voss trained Unsinkable, with Bethany Baumgardner in the irons, was second and Quarla, owned by Eve Ledyard and trained by Ricky Hendricks, taking third. The winning time was 2:04 3/5.
The Jane Watters Small Memorial race saw a nine horse field with Disobedience, ridden by McLane Hendricks and trained by Ricky Hendricks, garnering the win in a time of 1:57 3/5. Bishop's Castle was second and Jamarjo was third.
With the turf course rated "good," winning margins of no more than 1 ½ lengths throughout the day and only two riders lost with no injuries, the meeting was considered to be a successful day of racing, according to organizers.
Saturday's races were sponsored by Jaguar-Land Rover Hunt Valley, Kinsley Construction, Manor Tavern, The Mill, Iron Horse Construction, Hart to Hart Ambulance, the Griswold Family, the Cook Family and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.