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Hunt Cup victory continues legacy

The Baltimore Sun

There is little doubt among those affiliated with Maryland steeplechasing that Charles Fenwick III has the sport in his blood.

His father, Charles Fenwick Jr., is a five-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup and his mother, Ann D. Stewart, won the race three times as a trainer. Yesterday at the 112th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup, Charles Fenwick III added to the family's legacy by winning the $75,000 race in front of an announced 7,500. All those years of training with his parents paid off as Fenwick and his mount, Askim, who is trained by Stewart, held off a late surge by Coal Dust and won the race by a length.

"Some of my earliest memories of childhood are right here," Fenwick said, pausing several times to regain his composure when asked about his parents' influence. "It was fun. I really enjoy riding for Mom and Dad. I really like Askim and have been blessed to have won a couple of races with him. He ran great today."

In one of the biggest surprises of the day, favorite Private Attack was scratched because he was "tied-up," a racing term for muscle cramps. However, racing officials said the problem was not serious.

Bug River also was scratched, missing a chance to become the ninth horse to win the race three times. There was no official word on why Bug River was scratched.

Those absences presented an opportunity for the remaining seven horses in the field. The Hunt Cup, a four-mile race with 22 timber fences, is considered one of the toughest races in the world. However, each horse managed to finish .

The horses stayed tightly bunched throughout most of the distance. James Slater, the jockey for Coal Dust, also has ridden Askim and knew that Askim had a little better speed, which was the difference in the end.

"Charlie's horse had a little better kick up the straight," Slater said. "I think he got the advantage coming over the 19th [jump] and coming over the water. I was amazed how my guy perked and kept on going."

Fenwick said the difference was his ability to get through the water on the 21st jump. He said that part of the course cost him victories in at least two other Maryland Hunt Cups.

Stewart said when she woke yesterday morning she knew Fenwick could win the race, but the challenge of the Glyndon course also makes her fearful. She said once Askim avoided a mishap on the second fence, she knew he had a shot at a victory.

"I wanted Charlie do this so badly," she said. "I just wanted him to taste it."

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