Big Canoy, ridden by Bruce Fenwick, spoiled Old Question's attempt for a second consecutive victory in the S. Lurman Stewart Memorial steeplechase race today.

The 9-year-old chestnut shot past last year's winner during the late going to win the three-mile race by two lengths at the Elkridge-Harford hunt meeting. John Bosley IV rode Old Question.

Fenwick pushed the gelding, owned by J. Fife Symington, to the front at the 14th of 18 timber fences, "but I lost it on the downhill run" toward the 15th jump, Fenwick said. Big Canoy, making his first appearance of this season, recaptured the lead three fences from home to win in 6:23.

Old Question was second, followed another eight lengths back by last year's timber horse of the year, Double Sparkle, with D.M. (Speedy) Smithwick Jr. of Middleburg, Va., aboard.

"He's really powerful," Fenwick said. "He went really well but he didn't jump well. We've got some work to do there."

Fenwick, 35, of Glyndon, Md., hopes to ride Big Canoy in the Grand National on April 20.

Baltimore's Kathee Rengart guided Hamid past early leader Point Alpha four fences from home to win the three-mile George C. Clement Memorial for ladies in a fast 6:03 by 16 lengths.

Point Alpha, ridden by owner Amza Horton, was the early pacesetter, stretching the lead to as many as a dozen lengths, but tired and crossed the finish line 10 lengths behind second-place Maxie Max, ridden by Toinette Phillips.

Point Alpha, a 9-year-old bay gelding, exhausted from the run, then dropped dead from an apparent heart attack.