A busy week of jump racing kicks off Tuesday at Parx Racing and continues Wednesday and Thursday at Saratoga Race Course, with total purses totaling more than $250,000.
Parx Racing near Philadelphia hosts its second day of jump racing this summer, with two maiden hurdles carrying $30,000 purses in each division.
Irv Naylor’s Hooded is the 8-to-5 betting-line favorite in the first division, and Michael J. Moran’s Mr. Jenney gets the nod at 3-to-1 in a highly competitive second heat. Carol-Ann Sloan rides Hooded for trainer Cyril Murphy, and Connor Hankin will be aboard Mr. Jenney for trainer Jack Fisher.
The action moves northward to Saratoga Springs on Wednesday for a $70,000 Ratings Handicap, and the $125,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) is scheduled for Thursday. The Smithwick attracted 12 nominees, and entries will be drawn Sunday. Both races are at 2 1/16 miles.
Wednesday’s $70,000 Ratings Handicap, the first to be run at Saratoga, drew 10 entries, and sharing the 156-pound highweight will be Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu and Clorevia Farm’s Dr. Skip.
Trained by Leslie Young, Andi’amu set most of the pace in a Monmouth Park Ratings Handicap on June 17 and held on for a narrow win. Gavin Sheehan will ride.
Dr. Skip will be making his second jumps start of the year, following a seventh-place finish in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 7. Willie McCarthy will ride for trainer Edward Graham.
Leading jockey Jack Doyle, the winning jockey aboard Andi’amu at Monmouth, will ride The Fields Stable’s Kingdom, who will be making his first 2016 jumps start for trainer Elizabeth Voss. Kingdom closed out the 2015 season with a dominant Ratings Handicap victory at the Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C.
Kingdom shares the 152-pound assignment with Sue Sensor’s Top Striker, the third finisher in the Valentine Memorial, a Ratings Handicap at Fair Hill, Md., on May 28. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. will put Bernie Dalton in the saddle.
Owner Gil Johnston will be represented by the entry of Miguel Grau and Dye Fore. Trained by Richard Valentine, Miguel Grau easily won a Suffolk Downs Ratings Handicap on July 9, and he will be ridden by the talented young Irish jockey Danny Mullins.
Dye Fore, trained by Jack Fisher, has been pulled up in his two jumps starts this year. He will be ridden by Sean McDermott. Miguel Grau carries 146 pounds, and Dye Fore is weighted at 144.
Fisher also will saddle Sheila Williams’ and Northwood Stable’s Special Skills, who most recently was pulled up in the Valentine Memorial.
Valentine will send out The Elkstone Group’s Bodie Island, the third finisher in an optional allowance hurdle at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington, Ky., on May 22. Gus Dahl has the mount.