Anvil overtook Victory Edition today when rider Charlie Fenwick Jr. directed him to the front of a five-horse field in the $1,000 Roedown Cup, the featured three-mile timber steeplechase event of the Marlborough Hunt races.
Anvil, making his first start of the year, jumped even with pacesetter Victory Edition, ridden by Clinton Titts Jr., at the 12th of 18 fences and was clearly in command of the rainswept race by the 13th fence. The 10-year-old chestnut gelding pressed on to win by three lengths in 6:02.
Mikedon, ridden by Baltimore's Joey Gillet, passed Victory Edition in the stretch to finish second; Victory Edition was third. Last year's surprise winner, Tiger's Houdini, with Jay Meister, finished in the back of the pack.
"He ran better than I expected him to, to be honest," Fenwick, a Baltimore car dealer, said of Anvil. "He seemed to enjoy the race. In fact he relished the whole thing and he ran very well."
Fenwick said he wasn't sure if Anvil will be ready to run in the demanding Grand National in two weeks.
The day got off to a shaky start when Quill T., a 6-year-old bay mare, owned by Frances Hayes, dropped dead in the paddock after an apparent heart attack, as she warmed up for the first race. Later in the first division of the split second race, the $500 Raborg Maiden, a 5-year-old mare named Fast Light, ridden by David Benson, tripped over the first hurdle and broke her neck. The rider was not injured.