All the Way Jose and Diplomat, both Grade 1 winners, are among nine nominees to the Saratoga Race Course’s $175,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Thursday, July 26. The 2 1/16-mile Smithwick and the $175,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 23 head the lineup of steeplechase races for Saratoga’s 2018 season.
Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, winner of Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) last September, most recently fell while near the lead in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 19.
All the Way Jose is trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, who bred the eight-year-old Senor Swinger gelding. Sheppard also nominated Hudson River Farms’ Iranistan, a four-year-old who has never been headed in his three starts over fences. He won the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle by six lengths.
Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat will be making his first start over fences since winning last year’s New York Turf Writers Cup at 17.70-to-1 odds. Trained by Kate Dalton, the nine-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding came back to the races with a 10th-place finish in a Suffolk Downs flat allowance race on July 8.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem is seeking his first U.S. victory after finishing second in five straight Grade 1 races, most recently the Calvin Houghland Iroquois. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, Modem was second in the Smithwick Memorial and New York Turf Writers last summer.
Trainer Richard Valentine nominated Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Start, a seven-year-old homebred who is unbeaten this year. After winning the Carolina Cup for novices, the Jump Start gelding blazed to an eight-length victory in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 5.
The Smithwick Memorial nominations contained two Irish-breds who would be making their first U.S. starts. Indian Hawk, now owned by Irv Naylor, won his farewell race, a steeplechase allowance at Wincanton, by 10 lengths on May 15. He is trained by Leslie Young.
Oskar Denarius, a three-time winner this past spring, is trained by Ben Pauling, a young horseman based in England’s Cotswolds who secured his first Grade 1 victory this year in his third season of training.
Also nominated to the Smithwick Memorial were Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming and Mark W. Buyck Jr’s Show Court. Trained by Jack Fisher, Overwhelming finished sixth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap on May 26. Show Court, trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., won Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes last summer.
- 07/04/2018in NewsThe National Steeplechase Association’s summer racing season kicks off Sunday at Suffolk Downs with two divisions of a $40,000 flat race for hurdlers at 1 1/2 mile on turf. Both divisions contain top contenders pointing toward races at Saratoga Race Course later in July and in August. They will be the sixth and 10th races at the East Boston trac...
- When a jockey parts company with a mount, no longer is it a matter of the rider getting up and preparing for the next race. A fall or lost rider in a sanctioned National Steeplechase Association race triggers an immediate evaluation by a trained physician, who looks at not only potential physical injury that might keep the rider from performing ...
- 06/18/2018in NewsWhen the National Steeplechase Association’s spring season concluded at the Fair Hill Races on May 26, the leader boards disclosed tight contests for top owner and trainer as the sport headed into its summer races. With a win by Ozmoz in the last race of the spring stanza, Irvin S. Naylor assumed the top spot on the owner board with $248,200 in pu...
- 06/17/2018in NewsWilliam “Bill” Teter, a longtime steeplechase enthusiast who was an occasional horse owner and racing official, died Thursday, June 14, while surrounded by his family at his home in Parkesburg, Pa. He was 83. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jane Oas Teter. Among his survivors are son Jeffrey Teter, a three-time...
A look at the leaderboard heading into the summer season
Like most years, the NSA Spring season was full of surprises and.predictable outcomes. With a win in the Iroquois, George Mahoney and Wendy and Ben Griswold's Zanjabeel assumed the top spot in open hurdle competition; Ed Swyer's Iranistan, who was three for three, proved the sport's most exciting novice jumper; while Senior Senator made it two wins in the Maryland Hunt Cup in three tries. On the human side, Irv Naylor stood atop the owner list in earnings; Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard reasserted himself as the top trainer by wins -- with Ricky Hendriks the leader by purses -- and perennial powerhouse Jack Fisher making a move after a slow start. Among jockeys, so far it's a virtuoso performance by Jack Doyle, who has a huge lead in earnings and comfortable edge in wins over Ross Geraghty and Darren Nagle, who are having stellar years, too. Here's a rundown of the leaderboard with Saratoga just a few weeks away.