Two reigning National Steeplechase Association champions, the horse that beat them in their most recent starts, and several promising newcomers highlight a talent-laden field for Belmont Park’s $50,000 William Entenmann Novice Hurdle Stake on Sunday, July 3.
Novice races are limited to horses in their first seasons of competition over fences, and reigning novice champion All Together will seek to return to the winner’s circle in the 2 1/4-mile Entenmann over National Fences. Also in the field is 2010 three-year-old champion Demonstrative.
They will be attempting to turn the tables on Mede Cahaba Stable’s Complete Zen, who prevailed by a nose over All Together in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 21. Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative finished third, 8 1/2 lengths farther back.
All Together, owned by Andre Brewster and Sheila Williams, also was narrowly beaten by Complete Zen in the $50,000 Priority Payment Systems Georgia Cup near Atlanta on April 16. Trainer Jack Fisher named Xavier Aizpuru to ride All Together, who secured his novice title with a victory in the AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Georgia last November.
Demonstrative, trained by Richard Valentine, won the $25,000 Daniel Van Clief Memorial, an allowance race at the Foxfield Spring Races in Virginia on April 30, when he prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths over Entenmann entrant Ballet Boy. Robbie Walsh has the mount on the four-year-old Elusive Quality gelding.
Complete Zen is trained by Lilith Boucher and will again be ridden by the trainer’s husband, Richard Boucher. The five-year-old Cozzene gelding will carry the Entenmann’s 156-pound high weight under the allowance conditions.
The top three will face several promising newcomers. Lake Placid, claimed for $10,000 in April by owner Debra Kachel and trainer Ricky Hendriks, has scored two optional allowance victories since the claim, most recently at Parx Racing on June 5. The Giant’s Causeway gelding will be ridden by Jacob Roberts.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered his One Giant Step, who defeated Demonstrative by 2 3/4 lengths at the season-opening Aiken Spring Steeplechase in South Carolina on March 26 and subsequently finished fifth in the Georgia Cup. Danielle Hodsdon has the call. Sheppard also entered his Italian Wedding, who was fourth in the Georgia Cup and the National Hunt Cup.
Also coming out of the Radnor race for the Entenmann is Beverly R. Steinman’s Call You in Ten, who finished fifth. Trainer Doug Fout named Jeff Murphy to ride the Ten Most Wanted gelding.
Ballet Boy, Cashel Stud’s Irish-bred Sadler’s Wells gelding, comes into the Entenmann from a victory in Radnor’s $30,000 Vita Thompson Memorial allowance race. Trainer Tom Voss also entered Coppertree Stable’s Good Request, who finished third in the Georgia Cup after winning the $30,000 Woodward-Conover, an optional allowance at the Carolina Cup Races in South Carolina on April 2.
Completing the field is Slaney Rock, Hickory Tree Stables’ Irish-bred who most recently finished fifth in an optional allowance at Penn National Race Course on June 24.
The Belmont steeplechase race honors the memory of William Entenmann III, a longtime steeplechase owner who died Jan. 1 at age 79. Grandson of Entenmann bakery’s founder, the Long Island resident served as a company executive for many years. His Timber Bay Stable won the New York Turf Writers at Saratoga three times, with Yaw in 1991 and 1992 and with Bisbalense in 1997. On the flat, Artie Schiller won the 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile (Gr. 1) in the name of Timber Bay and Entenmann’s daughter Denise Walsh of Southern Pines, N.C. Timber Bay also bred 2002 Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1) winner Sarava.