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Hudson River Farms' Winston C drew away to a 3 1/2-length victory in Saratoga's A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). (Tod Marks photo)

Hudson River Farms’ Winston C, who won going away in Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), will carry the 154-pound highweight for Thursday’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), the signature steeplechase race of the New York showcase track.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, the Irish-bred drew clear of his competition to win the Smithwick by a widening 3½ lengths on July 25. The five-year-old had a three-win streak in England and was suggested to the Sheppard team by jockey Thomas Garner, who was named to ride Winston C in the 2 3/8-mile on Saratoga’s inner turf course.
The Rip Van Winkle gelding will be lining up against a familiar field. Every member of the New York Turf Writers cast also was entered for the Smithwick, and eight of them started. The Fields Stable’s Portrade, winner of the 2016 New York Turf Writers, was on the also-eligible list and did not start.
Sheppard, whose streak of at least one win at each Saratoga meet ended in 2016 after 47 years, also will saddle Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, who finished fifth in the Smithwick at 2 1/16 miles. Winner of Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) in 2017, he will be ridden by Gerard Galligan.
Jack Fisher, who is galloping away with the year’s training titles, will take three shots at the Saratoga winner’s circle. Sonny Via’s Hinterland ran evenly in the Smithwick and finished third, 4¼ lengths behind Winston C. Willie McCarthy will ride the French-bred veteran.

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