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Naylor jumpers enjoy stellar weekend

Posted: April 23, 2013 1:33 p.m.
Updated: April 24, 2013 5:00 a.m.
C-I photo by Tom Didato/

TRAINER BRIANNE SLATER saddled three winners while jockey Ross Geraghty rode a pair, all for owner Irv Naylor, at Saturday’s Middleburg Spring Races.

Leading steeplechase owner Irvin S. Naylor had been having a slow spring until a cool, blustery Saturday afternoon.
Within a few hours, his stable secured five victories, including Alfa Beat’s triumph in the $30,000 Grand National, the middle jewel of Maryland’s timber triple crown.
The York, Pa., sportsman and philanthropist also had four victories at the Middleburg Spring Races, including Decoy Daddy’s triumph in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Prior to the four-bagger plus one, Naylor had one victory from 13 starts. The big afternoon moved him into the lead by purse earnings with more than $100,000.
Alfa Beat, trained by Billy Meister and ridden by James Slater, settled in midpack in the early going of the Grand National, made his move on the final turn, and drew clear to a five-length victory over Rosbrian Farm’s Garryowen Star and jockey Martin Rohan. Northwoods Stable’s Battle Op finished third under Connor Hankin. Twill Do, the two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner, finished seventh.
A successful steeplechase horse in Ireland, Alfa Beat secured his first U.S. victory over timber in the prestigious Grand National, which had its 111th running. The nine-year-old Irish-bred gelding ran the Grand National’s 3 1/4 miles in 6:33.40.
Naylor gets hat trick-plus one at Middleburg: Naylor’s Decoy Daddy, reserved behind the early speed of stablemate Lake Placid, took the lead at the last fence of Saturday’s  $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) and drew away to an 8 3/4-length victory in the featured race at the 92nd annual Middleburg Spring Races.
The graded stakes victory was one of four wins on the eight-race Middleburg program for Naylor, who jumped to the top of the owner list by earnings.
With Carol-Ann Sloan in the saddle for trainer Brianne Slater, Decoy Daddy ran the Temple Gwathmey’s 2 1/2 miles in 5:23.60 on ground rated as good.
Naylor’s Lake Placid, the 2011 novice champion, went to the lead early and held the advantage until Hickory Tree Stable’s Gustavian took over approaching the final fence. But Sloan had Decoy Daddy on the move, and he jumped to the advantage at the last obstacle before drawing away to an impressive victory.
Oakwood Stable’s Country Cousin closed well from the back of the field under Roddy Mackenzie and overtook Gustavian to finish second by 1 1/2 lengths. Augustin Stables’ Rainiero finished fourth behind Gustavian. Two-time Grade 1 winner Spy in the Sky was a late scratch.
The Temple Gwathmey was Decoy Daddy’s first victory over fences since his second consecutive victory in Montpelier’s Noel Laing in November 2011. In his 2013 debut, the 11-year-old Irish-bred gelding had finished an even third behind major winners Divine Fortune and Slip Away in the Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup allowance hurdle on April 6.
Slater enjoyed the best day of her training career with three victories for Naylor. She saddled Charminster for a victory in the $20,000 Glenwood Hurdle optional allowance and Sacred Soul for a win in the second division of the $20,000 Paul R. Fout Sport of Kings maiden hurdle. Ross Geraghty rode those two winners. Naylor picked up a fourth Middleburg victory when Saluda Sam won the $15,000 Alfred M. Hunt. Willie McCarthy rode for trainer Billy Meister.
In the afternoon’s featured timber race, Holston Hall’s Hot Rize won the $20,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup by 1 1/4 lengths over Farndale. Jeff Murphy rode the winner for trainer Edward Mulligan. Naylor’s Almarmooq finished third.
Dugan takes Block House: Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Darren Nagle have had a hot hand all spring, and they extended their domination when Bill Pape’s Dugan won the $20,000 Block House optional allowance hurdle at the Block House Races in Tryon, N.C.
Dugan prevailed by three-quarters of a length over Marilyn S. Ketts’ mare Flying Friskie. Owner-trainer Karen Gray’s Cuse finished third. Dugan completed the Block House’s 2 1/2 miles in 5:04.80 on turf rated as good.
Camden-based trainer Lilith Boucher and jockey Richard Boucher had a big afternoon at Block House. The wife-husband combination combined for the second with Flying Friskie in the Block House and victories by Frances Hill Myers’ Rudyard K in the $15,000 Wells Fargo maiden hurdle and by Why Not Racing’s Class Launch in a $10,000 maiden claiming hurdle.



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