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Mystic Strike takes 109th My Lady’s Manor steeplechase

For the Aegis

Overnight rain on the eve of the 109th running of the My Lady’s Manor gave way to slightly overcast early morning skies on race day Saturday. However, by post time the sun was out in full force, the turf course was rated good and only two of the day’s entries had been scratched. The day’s contests began with a series of lead line pony races.

A seven-horse field went to the post for the day’s feature race in Monkton. Doc Cebu, trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Hadden Frost was touted as the favorite going in however, bad luck on the back side of the course resulted in a stumble on upon landing and jockey Frost parted company with his mount at the 15th fence, opening the door for 2018’s third-place finisher, Upland Partners’ Mystic Strike. Blair Wyatt’s Witor (Ger) took the lead dueling with 2017 Manor Race winner Bruton Street-USA’s Lemony Bay. Mystic Strike, ridden by Mark Beecher, despite taking down a rail, was able to overtake Witor for the win by a length and a quarter despite a claim of foul by Doc Cebu’s jockey, Frost. Witor, piloted by last week’s three-race winner, Eric Poretz, was second and Lemony Bay under Brett Owings finished third. The winning time was 6:18:2/5.

The second race on the day’s card was the John Rush Street Memorial Steeplechase for 5-year-olds and over which had never won over timber was a six-horse race. As the field crested the water jump and rounded the turn heading for the fifth fence on the course it was the partnership-owned Our Town in the lead followed by Bruton Street-USA’s second entry of the day, Satish (GB) with Schoodic, Lambeau Field, Awesome Adrian and Jeffrey G following. By the time the field hit the back side of the course Schoodic, ridden by Hadden Frost had made his move and was able to bring home the win for owner, Mrs. J.R.S. Fisher. The win was a family affair as Schoodic is trained by Jack Fisher. Satish, under Aaron Scott and trained by Leslie Young was second with Awesome Adrian under Eddie Keating coming in third. The winning time was 6:48.

Third on the card was the newly inaugurated Thomas H. Voss Memorial Steeplechase (second division of the John Rush Street). The race is named after the late steeplechase and flat trainer and former Master of Foxhounds of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt. Voss himself had ridden his own Aruhappy for the win in the 1975 renewal of the John Rush Street.

Seven horses went to the post and Fancy Hill Farm’s Romancing took the early lead followed by Colt Lightning (IRE), Political Theatre (IRE) and Renegade River. Hyggelig Haven’s Political Theatre went to the front with Renegade River piloted by Paul Cawley moving up to second. Colt Lighting, under Paul O’Neill, lost ground to Armata Stables’ Some Response ridden by Eric Poretz. The official finish saw Frost and Political Theatre garner the win in a time of 6:21:4/5. Renegade Rive was second with Some Response coming in third. The early leader, Romancing, pulled up and did not finish.

The day’s final contest was the John D. Schapiro Memorial Amateur Apprentice Timber. Jeremy Batoff’s Class Indian, known for his ability for up-front running took the early lead. Stalked by Peter and Sarah Jay’s Prime Prospector, and Frank A Bonsal, Jr.’s Stand Down (IRE) Class Indian did not have a win in him and was pulled up on the back side of the course. With a winning time of 6:24:2/5 Prime Prospector owned by Harford County's Peter A. Jay and his daughter Dr. Sarah M. Jay, trained by Todd Wyatt and ridden by Paul O’Neill, was victorious. Stand Down under Eric Poretz was second and Carricksboy (IRE) under McLane Hendricks was third.

There were $100,000 in purses awarded along with the perpetual trophies presented in each race. PNC Bank was the title sponsor of the day’s racing. Next up in the “Triple Crown” of steeplechasing circuit is the Grand National which will be run April 20 in Baltimore County. The circuit will climax with the 125th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup on April 27 in Butler, Baltimore County.

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