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Grinding Speed stamps himself as the horse to beat in NSAs timber series
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Michael T. Wharton’s Grinding Speed established himself as the horse to catch for this year’s timber championship when jockey Mark Beecher laid down a strategically slow pace in Saturday’s $90,000 Virginia Gold Cup and then turned back a stiff challenge from Dakota Slew to win by a length. Straight to It finished third, Ballylifen was fourth, and defending Virginia Gold Cup winner and timber champion Hot Rize finished fifth. Bred in Maryland by Alan, Mark, Mitchell, and Madeline Kline, nine-year-old Grinding Speed ran the Gold Cup’s four miles over 24 timber fences in 10:13.60 to secure his second victory in three years.