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'Bubble' takes Grand National

The Baltimore Sun

Bubble Economy and jockey Diana Gillam continued a productive spring with a victory in the 105th Maryland Grand National in Butler yesterday.

Now Bubble Economy is going to get a well-deserved weekend off.

The Maryland Amateur Timber Association has put up a $30,000 bonus to a horse that can double in the $30,000 Grand National and next Saturday's Hunt Cup, but Andre Brewster, Bubble Economy's owner, expressed no interest in running the 8-year-old there.

"Three weeks in a row is too much," Brewster said.

Besides winning the Green Spring Valley Hunt Cup on March 31, Bubble Economy was second in last Saturday's My Lady's Manor.

Only one horse has doubled in the Grand National and Hunt Cup since Brewster's Buck Jakes did so in 1997, one reason the MATA put up the bonus.

A splendid afternoon was marred in the Western Run Plate when jockey Ellen Horner went over the top of Thundering Home after failing to maneuver a jump. According to Jeffrey Sternlicht, one of the event's physicians, Horner suffered severe trauma to her head, neck and back.

Horner was transported by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was listed in critical condition last night.

In the Grand National, Charlie Fenwick had Make Your Own in the lead, only to see Bubble Economy respond for Gillam over the last two jumps and complete the approximately 3-mile course in 6 minutes, 7 seconds.

"He was really strong early," Gillam said. "The second jump from home, I changed hands, gave him a smooch and a smack on the shoulder, and he responded."

Make Your Own made a strong move over the 16th of the 18 jumps, but Fenwick knew that Bubble Economy was coming.

"Over 16, I was going to have to wait to go around or move early on the inside," Fenwick said. "I did the latter, but she [Gillam] had aim on me. Diana ran a beautiful race. She came out of her irons over 8 and 12."

According to Gillam, riding Bubble Economy is a matter of less is more.

"He's an interesting horse to ride," she said. "I have the utmost confidence in him. I let him do his job; I'm just the passenger. I was waiting for the race to come to me."

Gillam, 32, knows what it's like to own a swift set of legs, as she was a fine middle distance runner for James Madison University, qualifying for several NCAA championships and once covering 1,500 meters in 4:18.

Now her days begin as an exercise rider at Pimlico for trainer Dickie Small. Jack Fisher, Bubble Economy's trainer, was racing some of his other jumpers in Virginia yesterday.

The Grand National was a family affair for the Brewster clan, as Andre's niece, Danielle Brewster Oster, and her husband Laurence F. Oster are the owners of Make Your Own.

Coal Dust of Armata Stables outlasted Private Attack in the 42nd running of the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial for trainer Thomas H. Voss and jockey Blair Wyatt.

The 3rd Western Plate went to Incomplete, owned by Robert A. Kinsley, trained by Ann D. Stewart and ridden by Blake Curry. It was the third race of the day for Horner, a Virginian who rode Zaratanie to a sixth-place finish in the Grand National and King Lear in the Benjamin H. Murray.

Sun reporter Monty Cook contributed to this article.


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