2 Countries, 2 Races, 1 Family
Charlie Fenwick III wins the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point's main race on the same day his father rides in England.
The racing Fenwicks, familiar in North Baltimore County horse country for their steeplechase successes, were in action on both sides of the Atlantic Saturday.
Charlie Fenwick Jr. was at England’s legendary Aintree Racecourse where he finished ninth in a charity race that was prelude to the Grand National, the sport's biggest event.
Closer to home, his son, Charlie Fenwick III, captured the marquee race at the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point at Atlanta Hall Farm in Monkton.
The elder Fenwick was returning to the scene of his own 1980 Grand National victory to compete among a field of veteran riders, most of whom had also won a Grand National, in the Legends Charity Race, a 1 5/8-mile test on the flat.
The younger Fenwick, riding Incomplete, bested six challengers by several lengths on the 10-year old bay, finishing a three-mile timber course of 15 jumps in 7:13.9. Incomplete is trained by Fenwick’s mother, Ann Stewart.
“He was right within striking distance the whole time and, at the right moment, he just ran,” Fenwick said.
For much of the race, Fort Henry held the lead with the pack in close pursuit. But with just a few jumps remaining and the field coming into view of the approximately 500 fans in attendance, the race was a duel between Incomplete and Haddix, ridden by Woods Winants. Incomplete’s last two jumps and a final sprint gave Fenwick his third career Voss Memorial.
The last time Fenwick won the Voss was in 2008 and that was also aboard Incomplete in a dead heat with Private Attack, who went on to win the Babe Saportas race later on Saturday.
Conditions in Monkton Saturday were cool and overcast with the course heavy from Friday’s rain. The Voss Memorial led a card of six competitions that ranged from the tough timber races to a leadline trot for children 7 years old and younger.
Fenwick credited his win on Saturday to his mount, who remained relaxed under a heavy bit until it was time to make the final dash.
“He’s a working man’s horse,” Fenwick said of Incomplete, who is owned by Robert Kinsley. “He’s a fighter, a street fighter.”
Fenwick admitted that after three miles over timber, especially on a soggy track, it can be difficult to tell whether a horse has the strength for the final drive to the finish line.
“I’ve gotten to the bottom of him just once and he usually has another gear when I’ve asked him,” Fenwick said of Incomplete. “He’s a competitor.”
In other races, rider Michael Traurig registered his second win in as many weekends, this time aboard Big Bad Joe in the George C. Clement Memorial, also a three-mile timber race. Big Bad Joe outran Monsooned Malabar in 7:24.6 in what became a match race after the other two starters, Henry’s Hero and Arch Hero, lost their riders on the course.
“At that point, it turns into a cat-and-mouse game,” Traurig said of the two-horse race. “I waited until about three fences from home to make a move to make sure I had enough horse to play with.”
The previous weekend, Traurig was a winner at the Green Spring Valley Point-to-Point.
The Lady Rider Timber Race, also known as the Babe Saportas, also turned out to be a match race with Private Attack winning in the day’s best time, 7:08.4, with Blythe Miller Davies in the irons.
Actually, four horses left at the start but one, Tumultuous, was running as the lone entry in the B. Frank Christmas Memorial and won that in a breeze with Darren O’Brien riding.
In the Saportas, Private Attack was in a close match with Ireland’s Mussiecoocoo most of the way while the third entry, Mayor John Rude, made a stout effort in arriving a distant third.
Because Davies hadn’t ridden in the earlier races, she was unaware of how fast Private Attack was navigating the soft course compared to the previous fields.
“We hit two muddy spots that took the stuffing out of him,” Davies said. “But he’s a speedy horse.”