Kelly Conaway of Taylorsville likes competition and she got lots of it at Saturday's Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds Race Meet.
Riding her 7-year-old mare, Natalie, the 12-year-old rider had the lead inthe stretch of the small-pony division of the Cattail River Junior Races, but had to yield at the wire to Trae Reuwer of Glenelg, Howard County, who rode Mouse. But there was another race.
Before the medium-pony division, Kelly's sister, Jenny, said, "Kelly's going to win, I know she is. She wins all the time on Garfield."
Jenny knew whereof she spoke. The medium-pony race turned into afight on the front end between Kelly and Virginian Alexis Mackarov on Nickles and Dimes. Megan Reuwer, Trae's sister, finished third on Village Vickers.
Kelly and Alexis streaked through the stretch trading the lead with each bob of the head. At the wire, it was Garfield by a nose.
"That was really fun!" Kelly said from the winner's circle. "The start was really good, but I was worried about getting in front when the other pony caught up with us. Garfield went faster, with the other pony running right there with us."
Garth Terry of Sykesville brought home his gray gelding Randy in the large-pony division. Another of the Conaway family, Charlie III, competed in the junior-horse division, finishing fifth aboard Rollin Slew.
The event featured six races, in addition to the four divisions of the pony and junior races. There was a one-mile flat race, a 1.25-mile flat race for amateur riders who are members of the Amateur Riding Club of America,a three-mile open timber race, a three-mile timber race for horses who were non-winners of timber before Jan. 1, an owner-rider heavyweight race for fox hunters carrying a minimum of 180 pounds, and the Founder's Cup timber race.
Other Carroll residents who competed in Saturday's races include Martha Green, who entered her Towson Place, a bay gelding, in the one-mile flat race; Rod Cameron rode his Porche, a son of Satin's Charger, in the same race.
Chris Brighoff of New Windsor rode Bobby in the Founders Cup, finishing a close third. Thisrace is a three-mile timber race for horses who have been fox hunting regularly this season. Fences are 3 1/2 feet high and horses carry a minimum weight of 155 pounds.
Besides the Founder's Cup itself, which is a perpetual trophy, several other trophies are awarded, so almost no one goes home a loser.
Trophies are given for the winninggentleman, winning lady rider, winning junior rider (a rider under 18 years old), and first non-Thoroughbred horse to finish.
Members of the Howard County-Iron Bridge Hounds are eligible for even more special trophies: the first gentleman over 40, first lady, and rider ofthe first non-thoroughbred horse.
Brighoff won this race two year's ago aboard Daily Desire. Although he is primarily known as a show rider, that experience whetted his appetite for more race riding.