Merriefield Farm’s Alwaary, a dazzling maiden hurdle winner in May, will attempt to move to the next level when he meets a competitive field in Saratoga Race Course’s kick-off steeplechase race on Wednesday. The $65,000 allowance hurdle over 2 1/16 miles will be the first race on the program with a 1 p.m. post time.
Bred by Shadwell Farm, the Dynaformer gelding is a late bloomer at age nine. Group 2-placed in 2009, he missed three years of racing before making his American debut with a second-place finish at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 2. Alwaary came back two weeks later at the Radnor Hunt Races in suburban Philadelphia to win by 13 lengths.
Trainer Elizabeth Voss sent him out for a flat run against other hurdlers at Parx Racing on July 12, and he faded late to finish second to Eclipse champion Demonstrative, who is prepping for Saratoga’s Grade 1 jump races. Astride Alwaary will be Jack Doyle, the Irish jockey who gave Voss her first Grade 1 win in last year’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial.
Alwaary will be running against competitors who also have maiden victories on their records. Dogwood Stable’s Street Fight posted his second straight second-place finish in the Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at Aiken, S.C., in March and then was third in the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, a race for novices in Charlotte, N.C., on April 26.
In his most recent start, Street Fight finished fourth to rising star African Oil in a Monmouth Park optional allowance hurdle on June 19. Willie McCarthy, the reigning champion steeplechase jockey, will ride Street Fight for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
Beverly R. Steinman’s Perfect Union reigned as American Steeplechasing’s champion three-year-old last year, and the Purim gelding is coming off a third-place finish in a tough allowance hurdle at Radnor for trainer Doug Fout. Brian Crowley has ended his retirement and will be aboard Perfect Union.
Jack Fisher, who has opened a sizable lead in the 2015 trainer standings by both wins and earnings, will saddle Gil Johnston’s Iron Works and Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming. Iron Works finished fifth behind African Oil in the Monmouth race and will be ridden by Darren Nagle. Overwhelming, who ran a close second in a Ratings Handicap at the Atlanta Steeplechase in April, will be ridden by Sean McDermott.
Paddy Young, the four-time champion jockey who has a diminishing lead over Doyle in this year’s standings, will be aboard Michael A. Smith’s Cul Baire for trainer Jimmy Day. The King’s Best gelding won his maiden victory over fences in May at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland before trailing Demonstrative at Parx.
Richard Valentine, who trains Demonstrative, will saddle Check Mark Stables’ Kwacha, who won his maiden victory at Monmouth in June. Robbie Walsh, returning from a collarbone fracture in early May, has the mount.
Here is the field for Wednesday’s $65,000 allowance hurdle:
Iron Works. 2010 b. g., Street Cry (Ire)—Wiscasset, by Kris S. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Emory A. Hamilton (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $19,400. 2014 record: No NSA starts. In his debut over fences, won a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Carolina Cup on March 28, then was pulled up in the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 9 and fifth in Monmouth optional allowance hurdle on June 19. Maiden on the flat in four starts.
Smart Rush. 2010 gr. or ro. g., Rush Bay—Smart Silver, by Two Smart. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Magalen O. Bryant (Pa.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2014 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $17,050. Won maiden victory in fourth start over fences last fall. In only 2015 jumps start, stumbled and lost rider early in Virginia Gold Cup allowance hurdle on May 2. Finished distant ninth in Parx flat race for jump horses.
Perfect Union. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Purim—Blue Northern, by Top Account. Owner: Beverly Steinman. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Brian Crowley. Breeder: Nelson E. Clemmons (Ky.). 2015 record: 2-0-1-1, $8,000. 2014 record: 3-1-1-1, $21,500. Three-year-old champion last year after winning Far Hills’ Peapack and finishing second in the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at the Colonial Cup. Finished second in Middleburg Spring optional allowance on April 15 and was third in Radnor allowance hurdle on May 16.
Alwaary. 2004 b. g., Dynaformer—Tabrir (Ire), by Unfuwain. Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Shadwell Farm (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-2-0, $29,700. Easily won maiden hurdle at Radnor Hunt Races in Pennsylvania on May 16 and then finished second to Eclipse champion Demonstrative in a Parx flat race for hurdlers on July 12.
Street Fight. 2009 b. g., Street Sense–Reportedly, by Silver Deputy. Owner: Dogwood Stable. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Kinghaven Farms (Ont.) 2015 record: 3-0-1-1, $18,250. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $9,000. Most recently finished fourth to a rising star in Monmouth optional allowance hurdle. Started 2015 with a repeat second-place finish in Aiken Spring’s Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3), then finished third in the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase for novices on April 25. Ran a powerful race to win maiden debut over fences at Aiken Fall in 2013.
Overwhelming. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Oh What a Windfall, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Phipps Stable (Ky.) 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $4,500. 2014 NSA record: 6-1-2-1, $27,250. Won his maiden victory over fences at Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., last fall and finished second in Ratings Handicap at Atlanta Steeplechase in his only 2015 start.
Verne. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Unbridled’s Song—Somethinaboutbetty, by Forestry. Owner: Armata Stables. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Sienna Farms (Ky.) 2015 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2014 record: No starts. Stopped in Parx flat race for hurdlers on July 12 and finished ninth. Missed the entire 2014 racing season after being pulled up in a Montpelier optional allowance hurdle in November 2013. Won maiden victory at Shawan Downs in Maryland that fall.
Kwacha. 2011 gr. or ro. g., Exchange Rate—Zambia, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Check Mark Stables. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. Breeder: Glen Hill Farm (Fla.) 2015 record: 3-1-1-0, $23,100. Claimed out of Saratoga turf race last August and converted to jump racing. Broke through with a maiden victory at Monmouth Park on June 19.
Cul Baire (Ire). 2008 ch. g., King’s Best—Voronova, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Michael A. Smith. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2015 record: 3-1-0-0, $20,000. Won his maiden victory at Fair Hill Races in Maryland on May 23 and then trailed Eclipse champion Demonstrative in a Parx flat race for hurdlers on July 12. Uncompetitive on U.S. turf courses in two starts after career in Irish handicap ranks.