BUTLER -- Jack Fisher, a 28-year-old rider-trainer from Monkton, continued his dominance of Maryland's spring timber races yesterday when he won the 90th running of the Grand National Point-to-Point on Revelstoke.
It was the first win for both horse and rider over the challenging, 18-jump course and served as a perfect prep for Saturday's Maryland Hunt Cup.
A week ago, Fisher won the My Lady's Manor Point-to-Point on Push And Pull, a horse he is pointing for the May 2 Virginia Gold Cup.
Revelstoke is owned by Fisher's mother, Mrs. John R.S. "Dolly" Fisher, from Coatesville, Pa., and is hunted throughout the fall and winter season with the Cheshire Hounds by his older brother, Rush.
Fisher's father, veterinarian John R.S. Fisher, won the Grand National with Landing Party in 1969 and again in 1970.
Revelstoke dueled with Joe's O.K. for much of the three-mile course, then took command at the 15th jump.
Johnny Bosley on Joe's O.K. pressed Revelstoke through the long uphill stretch, but Fisher and his mount prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths.
"It was a race between two good horses. Unfortunately, the other one won," said Alicia Murphy, trainer of Joe's O.K.
Revelstoke, who is undefeated in five career timber races, was timed in 6 minutes, 1 second, 2 1/5 seconds off the course record held by Ben Nevis II.
It was exactly one year ago that the 7-year-old bay gelding lay on an operating table at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., with a broken shoulder
"Jack was schooling him over a fence with the idea of running him the next day in this race," Mrs. Fisher said. "Revelstoke was distracted by some cattle in the next field, and fell. The shoulder was so badly broken that we thought we would have to destroy him. But New Bolton said they thought he could be saved. His shoulder is now held together by a plate and 13 pins."
Seven horses started in the Grand National and four finished. Uncle Merlin, who is perhaps better at four miles, finished third, three lengths behind Joe's O.K., and is expected to run back in the Hunt Cup, which he won in 1989.
Jason Griswold finished fourth on Local Kid. Mike Traurig on Tot Elah fell at the ninth fence, followed by a fall by Joe Gillet on Capital K. at the twelfth. Billy Meister pulled up J.R. Polynesian between the 13th and 14th fences.
In the companion timber race, the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial, Meister rebounded and looked like a winner on Sea Speed.
jTC But two fences from home, Meister was overhauled by 17-year-old J.W. Delozier on the 12-year-old gelding, Snowmaker.
"I wanted to stay just off the leaders and wait to make my move," Delozier said. "But I almost didn't make it."
Delozier said Charlie Fenwick fell with Body Music right in front of him at the 15th jump. "I almost ran right over them, but Snowmaker made his way through," Delozier said.
Liz McKnight made a late run on Cotuit, but missed by a length to Snowmaker.
Snowmaker is owned by Delozier's stepfather, Baltimore businessman Chick Owens. Delozier lives in Hanover, Pa., with his father and attends Southwestern High School there. "But I come down every afternoon and ride the horses at my step-father's farm in Glyndon," he said.
Delozier had won feature races with Architecture, another Owens-owned horse, at the Howard County and Marlborough point-to-points earlier this spring.
Snowmaker is trained by Larry Smith, who also has a large stable of flat horses that compete regularly at Pimlico.
In the two-mile flat race, restricted to horses that have started over jumps, the 8-year-old gelding, Riposto, won for the third time. But it was the first win in the race for his jockey, 44-year-old Charlie Fenwick Jr. Fenwick outlasted last year's leading steeplechase trainer, Janet Elliot, riding Butt Jesse, by a neck.