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A Hunt Cup at long last
Derwins Prospector delivers elusive triumph for owner Brewster
By Joe Clancy
Back when he taught ninth-grade government at Towson High, Gerry Brewster listened to a kid talk about horses.
“I ride eventers, show horses, that kind of thing,” was how the kid put it.
Brewster had a simple question, “Have you ever heard of the Maryland Hunt Cup?”
“What’s the Maryland Hunt Cup?”
When he recovered from the shock, Brewster took the kid to see the third and 13th fences. “That’s the Maryland Hunt Cup,” said Brewster, who’d ridden in the race four times, semi-regularly started a horse in the race as an owner and car- ried around a family connection to North America’s oldest jump race going back to 1911. Brewster himself had never won the race, however, and jokingly referred to himself as the “biggest loser” in its history.
And then even that kid from Towson High surpassed Brewster.
James Stierhoff gave up eventing, switched to riding jump races and won the Hunt Cup aboard Twill Do in 2010 and 2012 – in a saddle he borrowed from Brewster.
“When he first started riding point-to- points I gave him my old boots and my Bates saddle that I rode with in the Hunt Cup,” said Brewster, who teamed up with
Balantic for four tries at the race – a fall, a second, a runout and a fourth from 1985- 89. Eventually Stierhoff got his own boots, but kept Brewster’s saddle as a loaner.
“I’m not giving you my saddle, I’m lending it to you,” Brewster told Stierhoff. “When you’re finished with it, you can give it back to me.”
Then the saddle helped Stierhoff pro- duce two Hunt Cup wins and . . . Brewster couldn’t ask for it back. “I cannot possibly take it back from you,” he said. “You won the Hunt Cup in that saddle. I’m giving it to you. It’s now your saddle.”
First run in 1894, the Hunt Cup tends to cultivate history. There are tales of luck, fate, ghosts and such running through almost every race. Surely, Brewster’s gen- erosity would get rewarded by the gods– someday.
Five years and 11 Hunt Cup starts later, Brewster joined his saddle, student, great-
grandfather, grandfather, aunt, two uncles and three cousins as Maryland Hunt Cup winners.
Derwins Prospector upset the $100,000 Hunt Cup as 2016 race winner Senior Senator and seven others failed to fin- ish the 4-mile, 22-fence course in the Worthington Valley near Glyndon April 29. Trained by Joe Davies and co-owned by Adair Bonsal Stifel, the winner outfin- ished Drift Society (Ire) by three-quarters of a length in 9:46.20. Visiting French amateur Gonzague Cottreau rode Derwins
Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred JUNE 2017 17
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