Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

“Few horses and riders ever have managed to make those four grinding miles and 22 difficult timber fences of the Maryland Hunt Cup look easy,” led the Maryland Horse coverage of Landing Party and owner/rider Dr. John R.S. Fisher’s second victory in the famed race. Winning by 10 lengths in 8:42, they cut a fifth of a second off the legendary Jay Trump’s course record. The top three finishers of the race had all been previous winners – Landing Party in 1969, Haffaday in 1968 and Morning Mac in 1970.

Two weeks after the race Landing Party was sold to Thomas Garland Tinsley. The price, later disclosed to be $50,000, was supposedly the largest sum ever paid for a timber horse. Tinsley’s only goal was to run in and win Aintree’s Grand National.

The Maryland-bred purchased by Fisher for $1,400 as an unraced 4-year-old shipped to England but failed to win in four starts, thus not qualifying for the English Grand National. Landing Party suffered a neck injury and brain damage in a fall in his final race in December 1971 at Fontwell, England, and never recovered. He was humanely destroyed at age 10 in May 1972.

  • Kathy Kusner became the first “lady rider” in a sanctioned Maryland timber race when she guided Viking Stables’ Whackerjack to a fifth in the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National timber races. A week later she made history again as the first woman to ride in the Maryland Hunt Cup, and once again finished fifth.

  • Sidney Watters Jr., trainer of sidelined 1970 2-year-old champion Hoist the Flag, judged the MHBA’s annual yearling show. He selected Helen L. Jennings’ Nearctic filly as champion.

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