Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, winner of Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), will battle with several veteran runners and new arrivals to American racing in the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1), highlight of the star-studded Far Hills Races on Saturday, Oct. 20. First post time is 1 p.m. for the six-race program, which offers five stakes races and purses totaling $500,000.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative will be making his first start since a one-length score in the New York Turf Writers on Aug. 23. He was entered to run in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (Gr. 1) on Sept. 27 but was scratched when regular jockey Robbie Walsh was hurt in the preceding race. Veteran jockey Matt McCarron takes over the mount. The five-year-old Elusive Quality gelding is the year’s leading earner with $136,500 in purse earnings.
The first two finishers in the Lonesome Glory, Pierrot Lunaire and Spy in the Sky, respectively, also will face the starter in the 2 5/8-mile Grand National, the year’s richest steeplechase race. Mary Ann Houghland’s Pierrot Lunaire prevailed by a nose in the Lonesome Glory at odds of 48.75-1, and Bernie Dalton will be in the saddle again for trainer Blythe Miller Davies. Pierrot Lunaire finished sixth in last year’s Grand National.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky ranks second by 2012 earnings with $108,250 in purses. He upset Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1 odds on Aug. 2 before running a respectable third in the New York Turf Writers. Danielle Hodsdon will ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor, who won last year’s Grand National with Black Jack Blues, will have three representatives in this year’s edition, headed by Charminster. The recent import finished second in the New York Turf Writers and third in the Lonesome Glory. Ross Geraghty gets a return engagement for trainer Brianne Slater.
Also from Naylor’s stable are newcomers You’re the Top, who won Norway’s champion hurdle race on Sept. 23, and Jack Cool, a quality hurdler in England and Ireland last year. Willie Dowling will be atop You’re the Top, and Xavier Aizpuru has the call on Jack Cool.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will have three entries in the Grand National, a race that he won with two Hall of Fame horses, Flatterer in 1983 and Cafe Prince in 1978. Timber Bay Stable’s History Boy comes into the Grand National from a win in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes and a fifth-place finish in the Lonesome Glory. Brian Crowley has the mount.
The other two Sheppard entrants, Divine Fortune and The Price of Love, are owned by Bill Pape. Divine Fortune, a multiple graded stakes winner, finished sixth in the Lonesome Glory, while The Price of Love placed in a Saratoga optional allowance hurdle. Darren Nagle was named on both.
Trainer Tom Voss entered Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Slip Away, who finished second in the 2010 Grand National and was voted that year’s Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse. He has raced lightly since his championship season and tuned up for his first official start of the year with a win in a training flat race on Sept. 29. Champion jockey Paddy Young will ride.
Completing the field is Royal Bonsai, another newcomer to American jump racing. Owned by Riverdee Stable and trained by Valentine, the four-year-old won a $15,000 handicap hurdle race in England before his arrival in the U.S. He will be ridden by top English jump jockey Dougie Costello.
Foxbrook Champion Hurdle
Hickory Tree Stables’ Gustavian will attempt to lock up the year’s novice title when he starts in the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for horses in their first years of competition over fences. In his most recent start, Gustavian surged through Belmont’s stretch to win the $50,000 William Entenmann Memorial on Sept. 27. Paddy Young will ride for his wife, trainer Leslie Young, in the 2 1/2-mile race over National Fences.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot will send out Gregory D. Hawkins’ Alajamal, who finished second in the Entenmann after winning a Saratoga optional allowance hurdle. Ross Geraghty will ride. The Entenmann’s third finisher, Betsy Mead’s Forgotten Man, also will face the starter.
Entering the Foxbrook from a seventh-place finish in the Lonesome Glory is Randleston Farm’s Duc de Savoie. Danielle Hodsdon will ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Cubist, owned and trained by Jonathan Sheppard, will be seeking her second straight stakes win in the $50,000 Peapack Stakes, the kick-off race for the 92nd annual Far Hills Races in central New Jersey. The five-year-old Royal Academy mare won Saratoga’s $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Filly and Mare Stakes in her previous start on Aug. 30. Brian Crowley will ride.
Trainer Doug Fout will saddle Magalen O. Bryant’s pairing of Quiet Flaine and Well Fashioned. Quiet Flaine won the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley Stakes on May 12 and was pulled up in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Filly and Mare Stakes on Aug. 9. Well Fashioned finished third in the two Saratoga filly and mare stakes.
New Jersey Hunt Cup
Lion’s Double made a notable entry into racing over timber fences by winning Iroquois Mason Houghland Memorial, and he is member of a highly competitive field for the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup. Trained by Jack Fisher, the six-year-old owned by Woodslane Farm most recently finished fifth in Virginia Fall’s National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup on Oct. 5. Willie Dowling has the mount.
Also coming out of the Chronicle Cup in Middleburg is Joseph W. Henderson III’s Triple Dip, who set the early pace before fading to third. Trainer Jimmy Day named Paddy Young to ride.
Trainer Edward Graham will send out Gregory Bentley’s Rainbows for Luck, winner of Shawan Downs’ $15,000 Legacy Chase timber allowance race on Sept. 29. Jody Petty will ride.
S. Bruce Smart’s Orchestra Leader will attempt to lead the band in the $50,000 Gladstone Stakes for three-year-olds. Trained by Jimmy Day, Orchestra Leader scored a quarter-length win over More Tea Vicar in a maiden hurdle race at Virginia Fall. Kinross Farm’s More Tea Vicar also is in the Gladstone field, as is third finisher, Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Fight. Both are trained by Neil Morris.
Making his first start over fences will be The Fields Stable’s Kingdom, a half brother to Wanganui, last year’s Gladstone winner and three-year-old champion. Paddy Young, Wanganui’s regular jockey, will ride Kingdom for trainer Tom Voss.