Petticoats Loose Farm’s Choral Society returns to the scene of his biggest career victory Wednesday and carries the 156-pound highweight in Saratoga Race Course’s $70,000 handicap hurdle.
The 2 1/16-mile race over eight National Fences attracted a well-matched field of eight for the afternoon’s first race at 1 p.m.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher named Darren Nagle—currently atop the jockey standings with nine wins—to ride the eight-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Holy Bull.
Choral Society shook the Saratoga tote board in 2015 when Paddy Young rode him to a 16.20-to-1 upset win in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). He went to the sidelines after being pulled up in that year’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes and missed the entire 2016 season.
He came back at Tryon Block House in mid-April and was pulled up. He subsequently finished sixth in Radnor Hunt Races’ National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3).
Fisher also will saddle Matthew T. Groff’s Selection Sunday, whose best finish this year was a second in the Atlanta Steeplechase optional allowance hurdle. Sean McDermott will ride the eight-year-old Harlan’s Holiday gelding, who carries 153 pounds.
Carrying the second highweight at 155 pounds is Orchestra Leader, who is unbeaten in two starts this year. He is making his first start for owner Rosbrian Farm and trainer Ricky Hendriks after being claimed from a win at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington on May 21. Ross Geraghty has the mount.
Third in the weights at 154 pounds is Virginia Lazenby’s Hardrock Eleven, who thrives at Saratoga. He won allowance hurdles there in 2015 and last year. He has two fourth-place finishes over fences this season. Trainer Doug Fout named Shane Crimin to ride.
Sharing 146-pound assignments are Magalen O. Bryant’s Plated and Bill Pape’s Giza. Trained by Jimmy Day, Plated won a handicap hurdle at the Iroquois Steeplechase in May. Giza won a maiden hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Bernie Dalton rides Plated, and Michael Mitchell has the mount on Giza.
Completing the field are Robert Kinsley’s No Wunder, 144 pounds, and Gil Johnston’s Fantastic Song, 143. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, No Wunder most recently was moved up to sixth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26. He will be ridden by Jack Doyle.
Fantastic Song, trained by Fenneka Bentley, finished third in a Parx handicap hurdle on July 11. Tom Garner has the mount.
Here is the field for Wednesday’s $70,000 handicap hurdle. The horses’ handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Orchestra Leader. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Strategy Bloodstock (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $36,000. 2016 record: 10-2-2-0, $49,100. 2015 record: 8-1-5-1, $52,000. Won 2017 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, a race he won in 2015 and was second in 2016, and was claimed from win in High Hope’s James B. Holloway optional allowance hurdle. Won 2016 Foxfield Fall’s featured optional allowance hurdle. (155)
Plated. 2009 b. g., Tiznow—Imaginary Gold, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Overbrook Farm (Ky.) 2017 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $21,000. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 7-1-1-3, $58,600. In second start after long layoff, won 2017 Iroquois handicap. Won 2015 Saratoga allowance hurdle and then finished third in Far Hills ratings handicap and fourth in Montpelier’s Noel Laing. (146)
Choral Society. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Holy Bull—Star Singer, by Awesome Again. Owner: Petticoats Loose Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Mayo West Farm and Liam Benson (Fla.) 2017 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 4-1-0-1, $82,500. Pulled up in 2017 Tryon Block House handicap and then was sixth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Scored a 16.20-to-1 upset in 2015 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was pulled up in the Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (156)
Fantastic Song. 2009 b. g., Lemon Drop Kid—Fantastic Shirl, by Fantastic Light. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Fenneka Bentley. Jockey: Tom Garner. Breeder: Del Ridge Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 3-1-0-1, $22,600. 2016 record: No starts. Ran a big race after missing 2016 season to win Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle, then was well-beaten fifth in Fair Hill Valentine Memorial ratings handicap. Finished third in Parx handicap hurdle. Won 2015 High Hope optional allowance hurdle and was third in similar race at Saratoga that year. (143)
Hardrock Eleven. 2010 gr. or ro. g., Rock Hard Ten—Stark Beauty, by Unbridled’s Song. Owner: Virginia Lazenby. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeders: Farm III Enterprises and Off the Hook Partners (Fla.) 2017 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $4,000. 2016 NSA record: 7-2-1-0, $105,700. 2015 record: 6-1-1-2, $53,350. Opened 2017 with fourth in Tryon Block House handicap, was pulled up in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), and finished fourth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap. Won 2016 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after winning Saratoga allowance hurdle for second straight year. Formerly trained by owner’s late brother, David P. Banks, and won an Evangeline Downs optional allowance flat race in 2014. (154)
No Wunder (GB). 2011 b. g., Rock of Gibraltar (Ire)—Iwunder, by King’s Best. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Executors of the late J. Ellis (GB). 2017 NSA record: 4-1-0-1, $25,150. 2016 NSA record: No starts. Won his maiden victory at 2017 Fair Hill Races after third at Iroquois, then was moved up to sixth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. (144)
Selection Sunday. (125) 2009 b. g., Harlan’s Holiday—Ntombi, by Quiet American. Owner: Matthew T. Groff. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Dr. John A. Chandler (Ky.) 2017 NSA record: 2-0-1-0, $6,300. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 2-1-1-0, $58,500. Finished second in 2017 Atlanta Steeplechase’s Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle and lost rider in Iroquois ratings handicap. Coming back after missing the 2016 season. Won the 2015 Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase and then finished second in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. (153)
Giza. 2012 b. g., Eskendereya—Make Believe, by Crowd Pleaser. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeders: Bill and Anne Pape. 2017 record: 3-1-1-1, $24,300. Won maiden hurdle at 2017 Foxfield Spring and then ran second in key Radnor allowance. (146)