'Michele' Breaks Long Dry Spell With Hunt Cup Score Virginia-trained runner wins Maryland's top timber 'chase
Submitted by: Betsy Burke Parker
Email Address: betsy(at)virginiaequestrian.com
Date Added: 4/29/2009
By Betsy Burke Parker
The Hoof Beat
Seventy-two years is a long time. Since 1937, the world has been to war with itself, a man has walked on the moon and sliced bread has become a staple of the modern lunchbox.
It's a long, long time, by any measurement.
For the first time in 72 years, a Virginia-based steeplechaser has won timber racing's top prize, the $75,000 Maryland Hunt Cup.
Trainer Richard Valentine of The Plains made history Saturday by saddling the first Virginia-trained winner of the prestigious stakes race that rivals Virginia's own Gold Cup for stature.
Valentine and owner-rider George Hundt Jr. partnered with Michele Marieschi to win the four-mile classic. Just two of eight starters actually finished, but Valentine was pleased nonetheless.
At the wire, Michele Marieschi was nearly five lengths the best of Rosbrian, Clare MacMahon up.
"That's the beauty of the Hunt Cup," Valentine said. "You have to jump the jumps." It was no good theorizing if Hundt would have still won if last year's winner Askim had stayed up. "You have to get around. And George did it."
This was Hundt's first time around the testing course of 22 5-foot-high fences, easily the most difficult race in all American steeplechasing. Hundt and Michele Marieschi prepped for their Hunt Cup run with a win at the Piedmont races in Upperville mid-March, but fell at My Lady's Manor April 11. They finished sixth in the Grand National April 18, behind four of the five horses that fell in front of them Saturday.
Owner-operator of a decorative stone masonry business, Hundt lives and works in Pennsylvania's hunt country southwest of Philly, but he often travels to The Plains to hunt, work and school his horses, in training with Valentine at Whitewood Farm just south of Middleburg.
The last Virginia-based horse to win the Hunt Cup was Paul Mellon's Welbourne Jake in 1937, trained here by Jack Skinner. Skinner himself had won the 1931 Hunt Cup on another Virginia-based horse Soissons. In 1932, Marion duPont Scott's Trouble Maker won the race for the Commonwealth, but Trouble Maker was killed in a Hunt Cup fall in 1937, driving Scott to rip out the timber course she'd had built at her Montpelier Station estate. That is largely why, even today, there is not a timber race at the fall Montpelier Races, because of the legacy of Trouble Maker.
In other racing this weekend, Sonny Via's two-time champion 'chaser Good Night Shirt won the training turf race at Saturday's Foxfield Races near Charlottesville, prepping for the May 9 $150,000 Iroquois Stakes. Via lives near Keswick.
Middleburg trainer Barbara McWade saddled maiden timber winner Westfield Dancer. English pro Richard Spate was aboard.
Sunday at the Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point, Valentine saddled Whitewood Stable's Blue Ash, Carl Rafter up, to win the maiden timber, while Gary Baker's Marino Feliz, Billy Santoro up, won the amateur hurdle.
Foxfield Races. April 25. Charlottesville, Virginia.
First Race (#50). Purse $25,000. Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle. 2-1/8 Miles over National Fences.
01 FLIGHT BRIEFING (L) 144 Jody Petty Augustin Stables Sanna Hendriks 15,000
02 BRAINY BENNY (IRE) (L) 154 James Slater Red Stripe Stables Thomas Voss 4,500
03 PLEASANT TOP (L) 144 William Dowling Harold A. Via, Jr. Jack Fisher 2,500
04 STAR FOR TINA (L) 154 Paddy Young Clorevia Farm Edward Graham 1,250
PU NATIONAL GUARD (L) 144 Jeff Murphy Mrs. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Richard Valentine 0
WINNING MARGIN: 14 TIME: 4:11:1/5 TURF: firm
Second Race (#51). Training Flat. 1-1/16 Miles on the Turf.
01 GOOD NIGHT SHIRT (L) 155 William Dowling Harold A. Via, Jr. Jack Fisher 0
02 OLD TIMER (L) 145 James Slater Kinross Farm Neil Morris 0
03 RAINIERO (CHI) (L) 155 Jody Petty Augustin Stables Sanna Hendriks 0
04 TORINO LUGE (AUS) (L) 155 Paddy Young Calvin Houghland Doug Fout 0
05 MOVE WEST (L) 155 Carl Rafter Augustin Stables Sanna Hendriks 0
06 PAN ADAM 155 Michael Harris Michael F. Harris Michael Harris 0
WINNING MARGIN: NK TIME: 1:53 TURF: firm
Third Race (#52). Purse $15,000. THE GROVER VANDEVENDER MEMORIAL. Maiden Timber. 3 Miles over Timber.
01 WESTFIELD DANCER (IRE) 165 Richard Spate Lucy Horner Barbara McWade 9,000
02 G'DAY G'DAY (L) 165 Paddy Young Magalen O. Bryant Doug Fout 2,700
03 KILBREENA (IRE) (L) 165 James Slater Irvin S. Naylor Brianne Slater 1,500
04 BRANDY STATION (L) 165 Jody Petty Augustin Stables Sanna Hendriks 750
05 MESSOMANIA (L) *** 155 Jacob Roberts Michael Leaf Michael Leaf 600
06 ALGEZIR 165 Jeff Murphy William G. Wofford William Wofford 450
07 PROSPECTORS STRIKE (L) 165 William Dowling Long Ball Stable Jack Fisher 0
F HEY DOCTOR (L) 167 Christopher Read Kinross Farm Neil Morris 0
PU TOUGHKENAMON (L) 165 Carl Rafter Armata Stables Katherine McKenna 0
WINNING MARGIN: 3/4 TIME: 5:54:4/5 TURF: firm
Fourth Race (#53). Purse $25,000. THE DANIEL VAN CLIEF MEMORIAL. Filly & Mare Allowance Hurdle
(NW1OTMCS or 2). 2-1/8 Miles over National Fences.
01 PERKEDINTHESAND (L) 150 Jeff Murphy Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr. Jack Fisher 15,000
02 MOON DOLLY (GB) (L) 150 James Slater Mark Dodson Thomas Voss 4,500
03 JELLYBERRY (L) 155 Paddy Young Octoraro Stables, LLC F. Bruce Miller 2,500
04 TATJANA'S SALUTE 150 Richard Spate Jalin Stable Jazz Napravnik 1,250
05 STRAIGHT TO COURT (L) 150 Carl Rafter Over Creek Stables LLC Julie Gomena 1,000
06 FARAH T SALUTE *** 143 Jacob Roberts Flying Horse Farm Jazz Napravnik 750
PU WOLF SHADOW (L) 155 Jody Petty Peter A. Jay Todd Wyatt 0
WINNING MARGIN: 3 TIME: 4:05:1/5 TURF: firm
Fifth Race (#54). Purse $10,000. Maiden Claiming Hurdle. 2-1/8 Miles over National Fences.
01 EAGLE BEAGLE (L) 152 Paddy Young Barracuda Stable Ricky Hendriks 6,000
02 HARRYS CROWN (L) 152 Carl Rafter Aylor Racing Stable William Aylor, Jr. 1,800
03 GENERAL SKYE (L) 140 Jeff Murphy Kinross Farm Neil Morris 1,000
04 ROSEMONT RUNNER (L) 156 James Slater Mary Fleming Finlay Dorothy Smithwick 500
05 TRACY ARM (L) 148 Jody Petty Clorevia Farm F. Bruce Miller 400
06 JUSTABUD (L) *** 138 Jacob Roberts W. Gary Baker Dorothy Smithwick 300
PU PANCHAX 144 Richard Spate Sara E. Collette Barbara McWade 0
WINNING MARGIN: 2 3/4 TIME: 4:08:1/5 TURF: firm
Middleburg Hunt Point-to-Point. April 26. Glenwood Park, Middleburg, Virginia.
First Race The Journey's End Bowl Novice Rider Flat. About 1 1/2 miles on the Turf
1 Wall Of Lead 155 Jacob Roberts Kinross Farm Neil R. Morris
2 Cat Walkin 160 Bruce Daley Donald Yovanovich Donald Yovanovich
Winning Margin: 6 Winning Time: 3:18 Turf: firm
Wall Of Lead, b. g. 2005, by Glitterman - Princess Blue Eyes, by Waquoit. Bred by South Gate (Ky)
Second Race The Middleburg Hunt Cup Amateur/Novice Rider Hurdle. About 2 1/8 miles over National Fences
1 Marino Feliz (Chi) *175 William Santoro W. Gary Baker Mrs. D. M. Smithwick
2 Belknap County 175 Colvin Ryan Colvin G. Ryan Julie Gomena
3 Easy Escapade *170 Jacob Roberts David Benson David Benson
4 Just A Prince (NZ) 175 Diana Gillam Indian Run Farm Mrs. D. M. Smithwick
Winning Margin: 8 Winning Time: 3:56 2/5 Turf: firm
Marino Feliz (Chi), ch. g. 1998, by Onward - Feliz (Chi), by Riverhill (Fr). Bred by Haras Dadinco (Chi)
Third Race The Samuel E. Bogley Memorial Maiden Flat. About 1 1/4 miles on the Turf
1 Say Hallelujah 150 Ben Garner Magalen O. Bryant Doug Fout
2 Sky Count 150 Nick Carter Kinross Farm Neil R. Morris
3 Eastern Starlett 147 Loring Heard Marethon Farm Simon Hobson
4 Victory Bound 150 Liam McVicar Kinross Farm Neil R. Morris
5 Spike The Lip 150 Patrick Cooney Dan Wukich Patrick Cooney
6 Royal Quoit 155 James Slater Landslide Farm Cyril Murphy
7 Portamento 150 Diana Gillam Jeremy Gillam Jeremy Gillam
8 Crimson Lode 160 Michael Cooney DMC Stable Diana L. McClure
Winning Margin: 1 1/4 Winning Time: 2:08 Turf: firm
Say Hallelujah, dk.b./br. g. 2006, by Flatter - La Spruce, by Big Spruce. Bred by Magalen O. Bryant (Ky)
Third Race - Division 2 The Samuel E. Bogley Memorial Maiden Flat. About 1 1/4 miles on the Turf
1 Mythical Hero 150 Forest Boyce Cedarhurst Alexandra S. White
2 Indy Appeal 150 Carl Rafter Over Creek Farm Julie Gomena
3 With Bells On 142 Liam McVicar Kinross Farm Neil R. Morris
4 R Danny R 150 Vickey Kennedy Dan Wukich Patrick Cooney
5 Marvin Giles 150 Nick Carter Michele C. Sanger Michele C. Sanger
6 Dramatic Arts 160 Chip Miller Wind River Chip Miller
7 Master Glide 155 James Slater Indian Run Farm Mrs. D. M. Smithwick
8 Wuthering 150 Diana Gillam Jeremy Gillam Jeremy Gillam
Winning Margin: 2 1/2 Winning Time: 2:01 3/5 Turf: firm
Mythical Hero, b. g. 2006, by Empire Maker - Jolypha, by Lyphard. Bred by Juddmonte Farms Inc. (Ky)
Fourth Race The Louis Leith Memorial Maiden Timber. About 3 miles over Timber
1 Blue Ash 165 Carl Rafter Whitewood Stable, Inc. Richard L. Valentine
2 Take Harry *155 William Santoro Sportsmans Hall Alicia S. Murphy
3 Gigger 165 Christopher Read Kinross Farm Neil R. Morris
PU Glacial Sting *155 Claire Macmahon Rosbrian Farm Tara Elmore
Winning Margin: 2 1/2 Winning Time: 6:47 4/5 Turf: firm
Blue Ash, dk.b./br. g. 2003, by Mountain Bike (Chi) - Finally (Aus), by Snaadee. Bred by I. P. Knelman (CA)
Fifth Race The Matthew Leslie Memorial Maiden Hurdle. About 2 1/8 miles over National Fences
1 Nikkinikkinikki *145 William Santoro H. Turney McKnight Thomas H. Voss
2 Henry's Hero 160 Liam McVicar Daybreak Stables Jimmy Day
3 Eamonn 160 Carl Rafter Hound's Cry Farm Thomas J. Kirlin
4 Teak 147 Padge Whelan Mrs. Thomas H. Voss Thomas H. Voss
5 Leffingwell Lion *150 Roddy MacKenzie Elizabeth C. Korrell Elizabeth C. Korrell
6 Mister Twine 160 Jody Petty Willow Oaks Stables LLC Todd J. Wyatt
7 Tricky Me 155 William Dowling Harold A. Via, Jr. Jack Fisher
8 Realmenwearpink *145 Darren Nagle Sarah O'Brien Sarah O'Brien
9 Sailaway Pops 155 Nick Carter Michele C. Sanger Michele C. Sanger
10 In No Time 160 Jeff Murphy Donald Yovanovich Donald Yovanovich
PU Lord Loudoun 155 James Slater Donna T. Rogers Mrs. D. M. Smithwick
Winning Margin: 3 1/2 Winning Time: 3:55 4/5 Turf: firm
Nikkinikkinikki, dk.b./br. g. 2005, by Running Stag - Still Awesome, by Awesome Again. Bred by Adena Springs (Fl)
Sixth Race The Middleburg Bowl Open Timber. About 3 miles over Timber
1 Major Price *155 Jacob Roberts Alicia S. Murphy Alicia S. Murphy
2 Tacloban 165 William Dowling Rosbrian Farm Tara Elmore
PU Brimson 165 Chip Miller Never Better Stables Chip Miller
PU Crypto Cousin 165 Prospect Partners Patrick Cooney
Winning Margin: 20 Winning Time: 6:21 3/5 Turf: firm
Major Price, b. g. 2001, by Allen's Prospect - Fast Pleasure, by Fast Play. Bred by Sherry K. Rudolph (Md)
Seventh Race The George Straub Memorial Open Flat. About 1 1/4 miles on the Turf
Order Horse Wgt Rider Owner Trainer Purse
1 Legendary Pacer 160 Jeff Murphy Vicki Fuller Donald Yovanovich
2 Lair 152 Padge Whelan Mrs. Thomas H. Voss Thomas H. Voss
3 Celebratory 150 Diana Gillam Jeremy Gillam Jeremy Gillam
4 Cortona 142 Roddy MacKenzie Elizabeth C. Korrell Elizabeth C. Korrell
5 Maximize 170 Sam Cockburn Gordon C. Keys Bay Cockburn
6 Fitness 160 Ben Garner Beverly R. Steinman Doug Fout
7 Lenny 160 Michael Cooney Hilltop Farm Diana L. McClure
8 Bad Birdie 160 Barry Duncan Nicholas Yazdani Fred H. Duncan
9 Motcombe Street 160 Nick Carter Warren Owens A. Timothy White
10 Sudden Concern 170 Bruce Daley W. Gary Baker Mrs. D. M. Smithwick
Winning Margin: 1 1/2 Winning Time: 1:52 2/5 Turf: firm
Legendary Pacer, ch. g. 2002, by Pentelicus - Karin Chriss, by Silver Hawk. Bred by Becky Winemiller (Fl)
all photos copyright Betsy Burke Parker 2009
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