Each year the Governor's Cup is awarded to the top pony race rider in Maryland -- usually in May after the last steeplechase of the season. This year, because two race meets were postponed, the Governor's Cup will not be awarded until September.
The delayed presentation of this award has neither dampened the enthusiasm nor diluted the competition.
After two races in the series -- Elkridge-Harford and the Grand National -- Arabelle Knox and Elizabeth Voss are tied for first.
Arabelle and her pony, Frisky Business, have won both of their races in the small pony division; Elizabeth and her large pony, Jay, have won the two races in their division.
Virginia rider Casey Hinsdale and her medium pony, Blue Dog, are next, with a first place (at the Grand National) and a second (Elkridge-Harford) to their credit.
Last year's Governor's Cup series winner, Kelly Conaway, who rides Garfield in the medium division and Got All Night in the large pony division, has finished second twice and fourth once, which places her fourth in this year's series.
These youngsters and their ponies served up thrills at the recent Grand National Steeplechase in Butler.
The small ponies were sent on their way first. Arabelle and Frisky Business took the lead at the drop of the flag and easily stayed on top all the way, finishing four lengths ahead of Meghan Langrill on Valley Girl. Tim Mascari was right behind in third on Radish Dude.
The medium pony race was hard-fought among the three gray ponies who have dominated this year's pony races in Maryland and Virginia. With a quarter-mile to go in the half-mile race, Blue Dog, Garfield and Alexis Makarov on Nickles and Dimes were nose-to-nose across the track. At the wire, Blue Dog had a nose on Garfield with Nickles and Dimes staying for a close third place.
The five-eighths-mile large pony race developed into a stretch duel between Jay and Casey Hinsdale on Dance for Dot. Nearing the wire Voss and Jay pulled ahead to win by a length. Bit O' Cut, Leigh Offutt up, was third.
Results of the Grand National pony race were: Small division (about 3/8 mile) -- 1: Frisky Business (Arabelle Knox), 2: Valley Girl (Meghan Langrill), 3: Radish Dude, (Tim Mascari).
Medium division (about 1/2 mile) -- 1: Blue Dog (Casey Hinsdale), 2: Garfield (Kelly Conaway), 3: Nickles and Dimes (Alexis Makarov).
Large division (about 5/8 mile) -- 1: Jay (Elizabeth Voss), 2: Dance for Dot (Casey Hinsdale), 3: Bit O' Cut (Leigh Offutt), 4: Got All Night (Kelly Conaway), 5: Bull Durham (Josh Horner), 6: Go Flight (Tod Barclay), 7: Silent Dream (Sierra McMurty).
Calendar of events
Today -- Mid-Maryland Horse and Pony Association Show. Howard County Fairgrounds. (410) 875-2050.
Today -- All English Schooling Show. Lehigh Riding Club. Lehigh Show Grounds. (410) 848-6597.
Today -- Mount Airy Saddle Pals English and Western Horse Show. Mount Airy Carnival Grounds. (301) 473-5709.
Thursday -- Maryland Jousting Tournament Association Exhibition. 12:45 p.m. South Carroll High School, Sykesville. (301) 662-8826.
May 1-2 -- Anne Kursinski clinic at Shadowbrook Farm. Elkridge. (410) 796-4947.
May 4 -- Carroll County Equestrian Council general meeting. 7:30 p.m. East Middle School, Longwell Avenue. Westminster. (410) 833-4593.
May 8 -- All 4-H Schooling Show. Hoofbeat 4-H Saddle Club. Ag Center, Westminster. (410) 848-3192.
May 9 -- Potomac Hunt Races. 12:30 p.m. Seneca. (301) 972-7621.
May 15 -- Trail Work Day. Union Mills. (410) 795-4262.
May 15-16 -- Charlie Plumb Combined Training Clinic. Middletown. Sponsored by New Market-Middletown Hounds. (301) 371-5816.