When several inches of rain fell on the Orange County Hunt Point-To-Point course, April 3 in Middleburg, Va., the feature race, which had looked to be a who's who of timber champions, dwindled from 13 to three.
Last year's Pennsylvania Hunt Cup champion Dr. Ramsey (Zach Miller) did not disappoint, running easily in the soft going and giving Miller his first big timber win over three miles.
It's been seven long years since William Meister has stepped into the winner's circle for the open timber feature at the Howard County-Iron Bridge Race Meet, and this year was particularly sweet for him.
Meister piloted Crystal Springs Farm's Sky And Sea to a decisive win on March 26 in Glenelg, Md. The Maryland jockey had not wanted to put the 11-year-old chestnut out in front, but the lack of pace in the four-horse race determined it.
Top steeplechase owner George Strawbridge flew his airplane from Pennsylvania onto the Airlie airstrip, just a stone's throw from the Warrenton Hunt Point-To-Point, Warrenton, Va., on March 19, to see two of his hurdlers, Thari and Senor Melchor, make their first starts over timber. He was also there to see son Stewart Strawbridge finish fifth in a flat race.
Trainer Jack Fisher's horses dominated the first and second spots in the open timber at the Marlborough Hunt Races, April 10 in Davidsonville, Md., and answered some questions about how they might perform this year on the sanctioned circuit.
Happenstance Farm's Sham Aciss (Paddy Young) and Arcadia Stable's Bubble Economy (Tom Foley) took to the timber fences at the Roedown course like fish to water. The fences were all upgraded in the off-season and were formidable enough to separate out any timber pretenders.
Mulahen redeemed himself after a disappointing summer by winning the $30,000 hurdle feature at the Virginia Fall Races, Oct. 2-3 in Middleburg, Va.
The 9-year-old stayed in the pack until the last, when David Bentley asked for a burst of speed, and the pair galloped down to the turn at the homestretch. Seafaring Man (Danielle Hodsdon) was not far behind but had to settle for second at the wire. Raise A Storm (Robert Massey) placed third.
Brooks Durkee and his mount Dr. Ramsey celebrated a homecoming of sorts at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, Nov. 7 in Unionville. Both veterans of the course, the pair won the $25,000 race in a thrilling battle to the finish.
Durkee, who is coming back from a six-year hiatus from the sport, won the four-mile timber race in 1993 on Free Throw for Arcadia Stables. He came back to win the allowance timber in 1997 on Butler Stable's Thor Thors, but then left the country the following year to explore racing in New Zealand.