Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer, a Grade 1 winner and ranked second in the National Steeplechase Association ratings, will carry the 158-pound highweight in Saturday’s $50,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3), the featured race of the 97th annual Middleburg Spring Races at the Glenwood Park Course.
First post time is 1 p.m. for the seven-race program.
Winner of last fall’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park, Irish-bred Scorpiancer has been a consistent performer for trainer Jack Fisher and banked earnings of $217,600 last year.
In the NSA ratings of every hurdles winner in training, the eight-year-old gelding sits behind only 2015 Eclipse Award champion Dawalan, who has yet to make his 2017 debut after sitting out the 2016 season.
Sean McDermott, last year’s champion jockey by purse earnings, will ride Scorpiancer in the 2 1/2-mile Temple Gwathmey.
Fisher also will saddle three other contenders: Mr. Hot Stuff, Schoodic, and Hinterland. Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff won the 2015 Temple Gwathmey and will carry the second highweight, 154 pounds. He will be coming back after missing the 2016 campaign and is teamed with top rider Jack Doyle.
Sonny Via’s Hinterland also missed the 2016 season after finishing second in the 2015 Lonesome Glory. Jeff Murphy will ride Hinterland, who carries 146 pounds. Edith Dixon’s homebred Schoodic, winner of the 2016 National Hunt Cup, carries 140 pounds and will be ridden by Kieran Norris, the reigning champion jockey by wins.
The Fields Stable’s Portrade most likely will provide the Temple Gwathmey’s early pace. He set all the fractions in Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) last August and won by a length, with Scorpiancer finishing third. Trainer Elizabeth Voss named Gus Dahl to ride Portrade.
Completing the field is Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile, who ran an encouraging second in the Steeplechase at Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle on April 8. Ross Geraghty will be in the saddle for trainer Ricky Hendriks.
Here is the field for the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey. The horses’ handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: WinStar Farm (Ky.) 2016 record: No starts. Coming back after missing 2016 season. Won 2015 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring and then was second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) Won the 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. (154)
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2016 record: 7-1-2-0, $60,150. 2015 record: 4-0-2-2, $58,000. 2014 record: 6-2-0-1, $67,500. Won Radnor’s 2016 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), then was sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Eased in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap and was seventh in International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2). Finished second in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and Middleburg Spring Ratings Handicap. (140)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Gus Dahl. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $111,800. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace, then was third in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Finished third in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2016 with fifth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. In final 2014 starts in Ireland, won Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Listowel and then was second in a handicap hurdle at Tipperary. (140)
Scorpiancer (Ire). 2009 b. g., Scorpion (Ire)—Janebailey, By Silver Patriarch. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Mary O’Connor (Ire). 2016 record: 7-1-4-1, $217,600. 2015 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $75,000. Won Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) before second in Grand National (Gr. 1). Finished good second in Saratoga’s 2016 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was third in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Finished second in Middleburg Spring’s 2016 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3), then fourth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Won 2015 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. (158)
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $5,400. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. Opened 2017 with good second in Steeplechase of Charleston optional allowance hurdle. Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) in U.S. debut, then was seventh in Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and pulled up in Noel Laing Handicap. Failed to meet reserve and was bid in at approximately $25,300 at 2016 Goffs UK National Hunt sale in August. (138)
Hinterland (Fr). 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen Palace, by Diamond Prospect. wner: Harold A. Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. Breeders: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2016 NSA record: No starts. Coming back after missing 2016 season. Listed stakes winner in England began U.S. career with seventh in 2015 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and then was second in Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) (146)