Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative charged to the lead in the final furlong and drew clear for a one-length victory in Saratoga Race Course’ $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on Thursday, Aug. 23.
Irvin S. Naylor’s recent import Charminster, who assumed the lead at the last fence when Divine Fortune fell, finished second, 4 3/4 lengths ahead of Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, the upset winner of the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 2. Naylor’s Decoy Daddy finished fourth.
Ridden by Robbie Walsh, Demonstrative went off as the 5.80-1 third betting choice and ran the New York Turf Writers’ 2 3/8 miles in 4:33.89 on firm turf. It was the second consecutive New York Turf Writers win for Walsh, who rode Mabou to an upset victory last year.
Demonstrative, a five-year-old Elusive Quality gelding, collected his first graded victory in the New York Turf Writers and his second win of the 2012 Saratoga meet. Trained by Richard Valentine, he had won the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26.
The National Steeplechase Association’s champion three-year-old in 2010, Demonstrative had won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Novice Stakes in July 2011 and had second-place finishes in last year’s Kiser and Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga. “He loves it here,” Valentine said. “I’d say he’s a good 10 lengths better than he was last year. I may run him at Belmont in the Lonesome Glory ([Gr. 1] on Sept. 23), then put him away for the Colonial Cup (at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 17). Now he’s won a Grade 1, and we have to keep him in mind for an Eclipse Award.”
Decoy Daddy, ridden by Ross Geraghty, established the early pace in company with Bill Pape’s Nationbuilder, who was coupled in the wagering with Divine Fortune at 2.05-1. Charminster, ridden by Carl Rafter, drafted behind the leaders through the first two circuits of Saratoga’s inner turf course.
After the first 1 1/4 miles, Decoy Daddy was joined on the lead by Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s All Together, who took a modest advantage into the final turn as Nationbuilder tired. Spy in the Sky began to move on the far outside with jockey Danielle Hodsdon as the field left the final turn, and 3-2 favorite Left Unsaid—second by a nose behind Spy in the Sky in the Smithwick—found his best stride.
Pape’s Divine Fortune, always well placed, moved to the lead before the final fence but fell and dislodged jockey Brian Crowley. The Fields Stable’s Left Unsaid fell over Divine Fortune, ridden by Paddy Young. The horses and their riders were uninjured.
Demonstrative narrowly avoided the fallen horses and closed well to overtake Charminster. Spy in the Sky was unable to maintain his challenge but finished five lengths clear of Decoy Daddy. All Together faded to fifth, 8 1/2 lengths farther back, and Nationbuilder was pulled up before the final fence.
Walsh said Demonstrative showed both maturity and courage in the stretch. “A couple of times, we had to check, but this horse is brave,” he said. “He jumped fantastically throughout the race. He landed well and kept running after that last jump.”