Westerlands, the favorite among an inaugural crowd of close to 4,000 at the Morven Park Steeplechase, waited until the long turn into the final fence to make his move and win the Marguerite Davis Memorial by 1 3/4 lengths over Quixotic today. Blue Nearco was third.
It was the third consecutive victory for the dark brown gelding owned by Mrs. Augustus Riggs and trained by Middleburg veteran Ridgely White. Only a loss at Saratoga has marred the perfect record of the promising 6-year-old gelding's first year of racing over jumps.
"He ran just the way we wanted," said rider Doug Fout, who has handled Westerlands in all of his starts. "He moved when I wanted and he moved fast."
Fout rated him easily in third place over the first 10 natural brush jumps in the 2 1/2-mile handicap that carried a purse of $10,000. Bob Witham on Blue Nearco set the early pace with Doug Small Jr. on Quixotic a constant threat.
Around the turn into the 11th, Fout made his move and had the lead by a length over the final fence. Quixotic closed fast to take the place from Blue Nearco by three-fourths of a length.
The co-featured Samuel Rogers Memorial, a 3 1/4-mile timber chase, saw the 1979 Virginia Gold Cup winner, Sam Son of a Gun, return to form by taking over the lead from Kinloch at the 17th of 19 jumps. Sam won by eight lengths.
Kinloch, coming off a victory at Rolling Rock, was the slight favorite in the original field of six but as Sam's rider, Charlie Fenwick, said after the race, "I knew I had a horse under me today."
Frost Time was a distant third, and Art Dom fourth in the race that saw Hoolee fall at the third fense and Market Rally go down at the 16th. Cancottage, the Maryland Hunt Cup winner, and Champerty, the Bowman Bowl winner, were late scratches.