Howard horse wins steeplechase opener

Battletown's victory worth almost $10,000

March 31, 2002|By Nancy M. Jackson

A Howard County horse earned himself a pat, a treat and nearly $10,000, which probably didn't mean much to him, at the 59th running of the Iron Bridge meet March 23, which opened Maryland's steeplechase season.

Battletown, a 4-year-old thoroughbred gelding owned by Glenwood's Donald R. Reuwer Jr., was ridden by Lisbon's Blake Curry in the Waverly, a demanding race covering two hilly miles at Meriwether Farm in Fulton.

Only Howard County horses could enter the Waverly, with a $5,000 purse for the winner, plus entry fees and bragging rights.

Despite winning, Reuwer, whose development company backed the race, laughed but politely declined to proclaim his horse the county's fastest.

"I had the fastest horse over two miles - on that day," he said.

Battletown came from about fourth place, charged an uphill straightaway of several hundred yards and overtook favored Geaux Beau, winner of his three previous races for Contrarian Stables.

"It was a very exciting race," Reuwer said. "He ran so well on the grass that we're trying to figure out what to do next."

That could mean entering Battletown in turf races. Or he might be trained to jump and then used in timber races, also known as steeplechases. Timber horses have longer careers than horses that compete on flat tracks, such as Laurel Park and Pimlico.

The day's feature race, the Iron Bridge steeplechase, was won by a 6-year-old Baltimore County horse, Silver Spoon, owned by Reisterstown's Ann Stewart. She also owns Swayo, 11, the favorite and this year's runner-up.

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