Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, the reigning Eclipse Award winner, will shoot for his third victory in Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) against a high-quality field on Thursday.
The 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers attracted a capacity field of 10 entrants and will be the first race with a 1 p.m. post time. The race will be televised by TVG.
Demonstrative will carry the 156-pound highweight, conceding from six to 18 pounds to his opponents. Trained by Richard Valentine, the striking eight-year-old Elusive Quality gelding will again be ridden by Robbie Walsh.
Demonstrative will have something to prove in the New York Turf Writers after finishing a lackluster third in Saratoga’s $125,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 6.
Earlier in the year, he won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in Nashville. Last season’s New York Turf Writers kicked off Demonstrative’s dash to the Eclipse Award. He subsequently won Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J. He also won the New York Turf Writers in 2012.
Also entered was Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, the 2013 Eclipse winner who won two Grade 1 races last year, the Iroquois and the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). The 12-year-old laid down the Smithwick pace but tired to finish fifth. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard named Darren Nagle to ride Divine Fortune, who is second in the weights at 150.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Sheppard also will saddle Rod Moorhead’s All the Way Jose, last year’s novice champion who will be ridden by reigning champion jockey Willie McCarthy.
Jack Fisher, who has a substantial lead as he seeks his fourth straight training title, will saddle three contenders for the New York Turf Writers. Gil Johnston, currently jump racing’s leading owner, will be represented by Syros, who won the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois meet but weakened to finish fourth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on Aug. 3.
Danny Mullins, a star Irish jockey who spent two weekends in the U.S. in April and had four wins from only seven mounts, will ride Syros.
Fisher also will saddle Sonny Via’s Hinterland, who is making his first U.S. start, and Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, the 2014 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes winner who finished second in his only start this year in the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, a novice stakes in Charlotte, N.C., on April 25. Sean McDermott, who has two Saratoga wins this season, rides Hinterland, and current leading jockey Paddy Young will be aboard Schoodic.
Also entered is the veteran All Together, who was claimed from Fisher’s stable on Aug. 5 by leading New York trainer David Jacobson for his own account. Four years ago, Jacobson claimed Mabou at Saratoga and wheeled him back to win the New York Turf Writers. Ross Geraghty will ride.
Gregory Hawkins’ Alajmal has not raced over fences in 21 months, and he will be returning in a tough spot for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot. Bernie Dalton, who has two Saratoga wins this meet, will be in the saddle.
Irv Naylor, who is in a tight race with Gil Johnston for the top spot in the owner rankings, will be represented by Charminster, winner of a Ratings Handicap at Iroquois. Carol-Ann Sloan will ride for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Completing the field is The Fields Stable’s Bob Le Beau, winner of the National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) in Pennsylvania in May before finishing fourth in the Smithwick Memorial. Jack Doyle, currently the top jockey by purse earnings, will rider for trainer Elizabeth Voss.
Here is the field for Thursday’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), with handicap weights in parentheses.
Hinterland (Fr). (144) 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen’s Place, by Diamond Prospect. Owner: Harold A. “Sonny” Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2014 NSA record: No starts. Making U.S. debut after modest success in England. Winless last year but finished third in Tingle Creek Steeplechase at Sandown. May benefit from faster ground in his new home.
Divine Fortune. (150) 2003 ch. g., Royal Anthem–My Tombola, by Northern Fling. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeders: Bill Pape and Jonathan Sheppard. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $12,500. 2014 record: 5-2-1-0, $195,000. Set early pace in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 6 and faded to finish fifth. In only other 2015 start, set early pace in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in Nashville on May 9 and faded late to finish fourth. Eclipse Award winner in 2013 had two Grade 1 wins in 2014, in Iroquois and Colonial Cup at Camden, S.C. Secured Eclipse with brilliant victory in 2013 Grand National (Gr. 1).
All Together. (140) 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owner-trainer: David Jacobson. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Jayeff B Stables (Ky.). 2015 record: 4-0-2-1, $24,250. 2014 record: 7-1-3-0, $62,000. Classy, consistent Danzig gelding was claimed by New York flat trainer from an Aug. 5 optional allowance hurdle for $30,000 and spins right back into race in which he finished fourth last year. Won Virginia Fall’s 2014 W. Gary Baker Memorial, then finished second in International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3).
Syros. (138) 2008 b. g., Dynaformer—Meridiana (Ger), by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Danny Mullins. Breeders: Jon and Sarah Kelly (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-1-1-0, $62,250. 2014 NSA record: 9-2-3-2, $90,600. Won Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes before fourth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Finished a closing second in the 2015 Carolina Cup. Closed out 2014 with second-place finishes in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and AFLAC Supreme Hurdle. Had a win and third in Saratoga allowance hurdles last year.
Charminster (Ire). (138). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. Breeder: Raymond Cahalane (Ire). 2015 record: 3-1-0-1, $34,500. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $11,700. Won Ratings Handicap at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 9 before third to Bob Le Beau in Parx flat race for hurdlers on July 12. In first start in more than a year, finished a good second in 2014 Saratoga optional allowance hurdle, then was pulled up in New York Turf Writers Cup. Ran second in 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), his U.S. debut.
Demonstrative. (156) 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. Breeder: Gainsborough Farm (Ky.) 2015 record: 3-2-0-1, $117,000. 2014 record: 6-3-1-1, $362,500. Lacked his usual late kick and finished third in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 6. Scored his second victory in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 9 and surged late to win flat race for hurdlers at Parx Racing on July 12. Secured 2014 Eclipse Award with consecutive Grade 1 victories in New York Turf Writers Cup, Lonesome Glory Handicap, and Grand National. Also won 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Was 2010 three-year-old champion.
Schoodic. (138) 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Paddy Young. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2015 record: 1-0-1-0, $13,500. 2014 record: 6-2-0-1, $67,500. In only 2015 start, finished second in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase on April 25. Scored impressive win in Saratoga’s 2014 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes before seventh in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Novice Stakes. Three-year-old champion of 2013.
Alajmal. (148) 2008 b. g., First Samurai—Alattrah, by Shadeed. Owner: Gregory D. Hawkins. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Shadwell Farm (Ky.) 2015 record: No starts. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Making a comeback over fences after being on the sidelines for 14 months. Bookended his 2013 season with victories in the Carolina Cup and Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
All the Way Jose. (144) 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Rodman W. Moorhead III. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,750. 2014 record: 6-3-3-0, $149,700. Lost rider in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase, his 2015 debut, then was disqualified from third to fourth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes on May 9. Clinched 2014 novice championship with Foxbrook Champion Hurdle victory. Finished second in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after winning Saratoga allowance hurdle by 14 1/4 lengths.
Bob Le Beau (Ire). (140) 2007 dk. b. or. br. g., Big Bad Bob—Shine Silently, by Bering (GB). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Anamoine Ltd. (Ire). 2015 record: 3-2-0-0, $51,250. 2014 record: 4-0-1-0, $9,450. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 6. Opened 2015 with win in National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at Radnor Hunt Races in suburban Philadelphia on May 16 and won Parx flat race for hurdlers on July 12.