Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative will attempt to score a second straight victory in the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) against a talented field of veterans and newcomers in Saratoga Race Course’s premier steeplechase race on Thursday, Aug. 22.
Among his opponents will be Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, winner of Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1, and a formidable entry from Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
When Demonstrative developed a minor cough before the A. P. Smithwick, trainer Richard Valentine took no chances and scratched his stable’s star. In his only start over fences this year, the six-year-old Elusive Quality gelding won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11.
No stranger to Saratoga, Demonstrative graduated from the novice ranks last summer with a victory in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and came back five weeks later to win the New York Turf Writers. Robbie Walsh again will ride Demonstrative, who carries the 158-pound highweight for the New York Turf Writers’ 2 3/8 miles.
Virginia-based Demonstrative will have plenty of competition, and Mr. Hot Stuff has duplicated Demonstrative’s leap from novice stakes winner to Grade 1 victor. After winning Iroquois’ $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes, Mr. Hot Stuff drew away to a 2 1/2-length victory in the A. P. Smithwick. That score earned him a 148-pound weight assignment in the New York Turf Writers’ handicap.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher named Paddy Young to again ride Mr. Hot Stuff, who competed on the 2009 Triple Crown trail and finished third in the Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) before unplaced finishes in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1).
Fisher also will saddle Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s All Together, winner of Saratoga’s $65,000 optional allowance claimer hurdle on Aug. 1, and Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect, fifth in the Smithwick. Xavier Aizpuru rides All Together, and Dave Crosse will be aboard Brave Prospect.
Sheppard, who has won a Saratoga race for 45 consecutive years, will saddle four starters for the New York Turf Writers. Carrying the 150-pound second highweight will be Divine Fortune, who finished second to Demonstrative in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois before a third-place finish in the Smithwick. Co-bred and co-owned by Sheppard and longtime client Bill Pape, Divine Fortune will be ridden for the first time by Irish jockey Sean McDermott.
Pape’s Martini Brother, undefeated over fences this year, will attempt to duplicate Demonstrative’s Kiser-New York Turf Writers double. Divine Fortune and Martini Brother will be coupled in the wagering with Sheppard’s Italian Wedding, who finished second in the Smithwick.
Sheppard also will saddle Atlantic Equine’s recent import Hunt Ball, who finished sixth in the Smithwick. Darren Nagle rides Martini Brother, Bernie Dalton returns on Italian Wedding, and Ross Geraghty has a return call on Hunt Ball.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, always a threat at Saratoga, will attempt to duplicate his upset victory in the 2009 New York Turf Writers. Third in last year’s New York Turf Writers, he most recently finished fourth in the Smithwick and carries a 148-pound weight assignment. Danielle Hodsdon again rides for trainer Jimmy Day.
Here is the New York Turf Writers field in post-position order:
Spy in the Sky. 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassabaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2013 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $5,000. 2012 record: 6-1-1-1, $111,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. Made his usual run late to finish fourth in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Finished seventh in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup in seasonal debut on May 18. Upset 2012 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1, ran third in the New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), and was nipped at the wire in the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park.
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2013 record: 4-2-0-1, $112,500. 2012 record: No starts. 2011 record: 4-2-0-0, $35,000. Drew away to a 2 1/2-length victory in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Won Iroquois Steeplechase’s $75,000 Marcellus Frost for novices by 2 1/2 lengths on May 11 before fourth in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3). Began 2013 campaign with a third, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase on April 27. Maiden flat winner finished third in 2009 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1), 15th in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1), and eighth in the Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1).
All Together. 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owners: Andre W. Brewster and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2013 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $39,500. 2012 record: 6-0-0-3, $29,000. 2011 record: 7-1-3-2, $85,800. Won for the first time in two years in $65,000 Saratoga Race Course optional allowance claimer on Aug. 1, when he ran for a $30,000 tag. Set pace in 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) and finished fifth after third in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Novice champion in 2010.
Italian Wedding. 2005 b. g., Alphabet Soup–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 record: 1-0-1-0, $18,000. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2011 record: 6-1-0-0, $55,200. Finished a good second in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1 in his first start since fourth-place finish in the 2012 Carolina Cup (Gr. 3). Won 2011 Michael G. Walsh Novice at Saratoga.
Hunt Ball (Ire). 2005 b. g., Winged Love (Ire)—La Fandango (Ire), by Taufan. Owner: Atlantic Equine. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $3,000. In U.S. debut, finished sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Veteran British steeplechaser won Taunton handicap in April. Also won at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2013 record: 1-1-0-0, $90,000. 2012 record: 6-3-0-0, $209,000. 2011 record: 8-2-4-2, $96,300. Surged to a neck victory in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), his first 2013 start on May 11. Made an amazing late charge to win 2012 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) by a length. Drew clear to a one-length victory in the 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) after two-length score in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice. Finished fourth in 2012 Grand National (Gr. 1). Was 2010 three-year-old champion.
Divine Fortune. 2003 ch. g., Royal Anthem–My Tombola, by Northern Fling. Owners: Bill Pape and Jonathan Sheppard. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Sean McDermott. 2013 record: 3-1-1-1, $52,000. 2012 record: 7-1-3-0, $113,500. 2011 record: 4-1-1-0, $64,000. Lacked closing punch in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and finished third. Finished solid second to Demonstrative in $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 11. Cruised to a convincing victory in the Sandhills Cup in North Carolina on April 6. Took lead at last fence of 2012 Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) and held on well for second, beaten a length by Demonstrative. Two-time winner of the A. P. Smithwick Memorial, in 2010 and 2011.
Brave Prospect. 2007 b. g., Purge—Issaqueena, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Dave Crosse. 2013 record: 4-1-1-1, $31,700. 2012 record: 9-1-4-0, $53,200. Finished fifth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1 after second in Valentine Memorial at Fair Hill Races on May 25. Won Virginia Gold Cup starter allowance on May 4 after third in featured allowance hurdle at Dogwood Classic at Colonial Downs on April 4.
Martini Brother. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., A.P. Indy—Island Sand, by Tabasco Cat. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2013 record: 3-3-0-0, $78,000. 2012 record: 3-0-0-1, $2,250. For new connections, undefeated in 2013 after half-length score in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 25. Also won Atlanta maiden race on April 13 and defeated more experienced rivals in Thompson Memorial allowance hurdle at Radnor Hunt Races on May 18.