Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Show Court, sent to the start at surprisingly long 6-1 odds, burst to the lead at the top of Saratoga Race Course’s homestretch, quickly drew clear from his opponents, and won Wednesday’s $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes by a comfortable 1 3/4 lengths.
Bruton Street-US’s Moscato ran a strong race while pressing Surprising Soul on the lead and finished second, while Armata Stables’ New Member crossed the finish line third.
Wendy Hendriks’ Surprising Soul finished fourth but was placed third when Saratoga’s stewards disqualified New Member for going off course after the last of eight fences. New Member, bidding on the inside, appeared to shy from Surprising Soul and jumped over a beacon marking the inside of the course.
Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., Irish-bred eight-year-old Show Court ran the Kiser’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:47.72 on turf rated as good. The fourth betting choice, Show Court was a classic wagering overlay and paid $14.20 to win.
The Kiser marked a winning return over fences for jockey Michael Mitchell, who won the Carolina Cup aboard Show Court on April 1 but was seriously injured four weeks later when his mount fell and kicked him at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase. Mitchell returned to ride Show Court to a narrow victory on the flat at Parx Racing on July 8.
Leaders from the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) will attend the National Steeplechase Association’s Board of Directors meeting on Aug. 3 at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to brief members about the exciting plans to renovate Fair Hill Race Course.
Part of the organization’s vision, which emanated from a study completed in 2015, is to expand racing opportunities at Fair Hill and to make the site a true national home for steeplechasing with added training and educational facilities.
The plan places the Stadium Authority, which oversees Camden Yards Sports Complex, home of the Baltimore Orioles, and M & T Stadium, home of the Ravens, in charge of construction and project management of the property in conjunction with the equestrian organizations headquartered there, the newly formed Fair Hill Foundation, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Fair Hill has been the NSA’s national headquarters since 1989. Initial plans include widening the turns and irrigating the racetrack and erecting a new grandstand and judges tower.
Among the leaders attending are Tom Kelso, Chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority; Michael Frenz, the organization’s Executive Director; Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of Maryland Sports and Vice President of the organization; and Todd Gralla, Director for Equestrian Services for Populous, an international sports design firm and Stadium Authority consultant to the Fair Hill project.
The Fair Hill renovation is part of a larger plan by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Horse Industry Board to develop a horse park system throughout the state in order to grow and insure the equine industry’s future.
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