Mason Hardaway Lampton’s Maccabee, trained in Camden by Lilith Boucher and ridden by her husband Richard Boucher, became the National Steeplechase Association’s spring season’s first three-time winner when he made his usual late run under Richard Boucher and won Saturday’s $30,000 Thompson Memorial ratings handicap by two lengths over Irv Naylor’s Stormy Alex at the Radnor (Pa.) Hunt Races. Naylor’s Mathayus finished third.
The win was the fourth for Team Boucher --- both as a trainer and rider --- this spring. Richard is fourth in wins by a jockey and Lilith sits in fifth spot in the leading trainer standings.
Maccabee opened the season off with a disqualification win in an Aiken Spring maiden claiming hurdle before finishing seventh in a ratings handicap at The Cup Runneth Over meet two weeks later in Camden. He then won Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial ratings handicap on April 27.
Mitchell’s hat trick keeps him atop standings: Michael Mitchell had begun to feel some pressure from Sean McDermott in the jockey standings, but three winners on Saturday’s Radnor Hunt Races program opened daylight on his chief pursuer and the remainder of the jockey colony.
The England-born rider bookended the six-race Radnor meet, taking the first race and the last two races on a sun-splashed, pleasantly warm afternoon in eastern Pennsylvania. Mitchell ended the day with 12 victories, four more than McDermott, and took back the top spot by purse earnings. He now has earnings of $333,850 to McDermott’s $320,000.
Mitchell struck first with DASH Stable’s Prayer Hope for leading trainer Jack Fisher in a $30,000 maiden hurdle. A four-year-old Tapit gelding, Prayer Hope had only one prior career start, a third-place finish on the flat last summer at Monmouth Park.
Mitchell closed out the program with back-to-back wins in a $20,000 ratings handicap hurdle aboard Irv Naylor’s Av A Word and a victory in a $20,000 maiden claiming hurdle with Turks Head Turf’s Brooklyn Speights in the nightcap.
Fair Hill adds Friday races: The Fair Hill Spring Races, the traditional NSA spring campaign capper, will be a two-day affair on Friday and Saturday. In addition to the traditional Saturday program, the popular Northern Maryland meet will open its gates for a Friday twilight program featuring two timber races and two training flat races. First post time is 3:30 p.m. The Saturday card will feature six hurdle races, including the $50,000 Iris Coggins Memorial and the $40,000 Valentine Memorial Handicap and a training flat race.