Leaping Frog, a 4-year-old grandson of War Admiral which has become the people's choice in this section of the Maryland. Delaware-Pennsylvania horse country scored a come-from-behind victory today in the Battleship steeplechase.
Seven lengths back was Ages Ago, with Steady As You Go another four lengths behind.
It was the third consecutive Saturday of racing at Fair Hill, and the Chadds Ford Stable's bay was again the biggest attraction. Opening day, he won the Manly Steeplechase and a week ago was third in a photo finish in the Grand National. Last year, he won the Kent here and the Summer Crop at nearby Delaware Park.
"He really loves to come from behind," said Jerry Fishback, who held Leaping Frog in last place during the early stages of the 2 3/16-mile chase.
Fishback began moving Leaping Frog up through the crowd, beginning the slow process of overtaking the leaders at the ninth fence when he was still running last. Suddenly, as the horses cleared the 12th fence and moved into Fair Hill's famed three-jump stretch, the maize and brown colors of the local stable shot in among the leaders. By the 14th jump, Leaping Frog was head-and-head with Ages Ago.
Fishback, who had four victories today before a crowd of 3410, hit Leaping Frog twice and the Virginia-bred gelding was up by two lengths at the 15th and last jump, then pulled away to win easily.
Feroz II, which had run a strong race under Barry Watson, stumbled at the 15th and lost his rider.