Steeplechasing's eyes on My Lady's Manor

Timber season kicks off with three-race program

Horse Racing

April 16, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The Maryland and national timber racing seasons will be launched in earnest today when the 95th annual My Lady's Manor program is conducted in Monkton.

A three-race card starting with the $25,000 feature will begin at 1:30 p.m., with eight contenders scheduled to go in the three-mile My Lady's Manor event over timber fences.

Nearly 10,000 fans are expected for Harford County's most-attended sporting event in what promises to be ideal spring weather.

Until last year -- when Irv Naylor's New Zealand-bred, Askim, prevailed -- trainer Tom Voss had dominated at My Lady's Manor in the 2000s, winning three straight with Ironfist and scoring again two years ago with Sam Sullivan.

Sam Sullivan, the 12-year-old owned by Voss' wife, Mimi, returns to the field after finishing a close third to Askim. Also returning is the latest runner-up, Joe At Six, owned and ridden by Michele Hunter.

Expected to provide competition are Naylor's Make Me A Champ, a 14-year-old who won the 2004 Grand National; Nannette Robertson's Narrow River, who was second in last year's Maryland Hunt Cup; and an improving timber horse, the Jack Fisher-trained Sham Aciss, who won over the same course last year.

Voss will be on site this year, bypassing the Atlanta meeting he usually attends because, "I got far behind during the winter with the hurdle horses because I didn't have any help until the first of March."

After winning the national training title three straight times, he slipped out of sight in 2004. "I was so far back they didn't even remember my name," he said. "I didn't even make the big list. But we're on the rise again."

The good fortune can be traced to Dreadnaught, a turf runner, who captured two prestigious stakes at the end of the year. Now, he hopes Sam Sullivan can sustain the momentum.

"Sam is Sam -- good, consistent and honest," said Voss. "He's got a good disposition and is like a pet to us."

The scene for the big three of the spring shifts to the Grand National course in Butler next week and concludes with the Maryland Hunt Cup in Glyndon on April 30.

Today's card will include the 81st John Rush Streett Memorial for horses who have never won over timber and the fourth John D. Schapiro Memorial, a portion of the National Steeplechase Association's foxhunters series.

At a glance

What: My Lady's Manor, three timber steeplechase races

When: Today, first post 1:30 p.m.

Where: Pocock Road and Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton

Directions from Beltway: Take exit 27B (Dulaney Valley Road) north four miles and bear left onto Jarrettsville Pike (Route 146). Go nearly 10 miles to Pocock Road.

Tickets: Parking can be purchased at gate.

Beneficiary: Ladew Topiary Gardens

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