Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, the National Steeplechase Association’s three-year-old champion in 2010 and a stakes winner last year, will open his 2012 season against a highly competitive group in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, highlight of the 17th annual Queen’s Cup Steeplechase on Saturday, April 28.
First post time is 1:30 p.m. at Brooklandwood Race Course in Mineral Springs, N.C., and the Queen’s Cup will be the third race on a six-race program.
Now five, Demonstrative was a sparkling winner of the William G. Entenmann Novice Stakes at Belmont Park last July for trainer Richard Valentine. The Entenmann, like the Queen’s Cup, was limited to novices, or horses in their first seasons of racing over fences.
The Elusive Quality gelding also won the Daniel Van Clief Memorial allowance hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races in Virginia and was second in Saratoga Race Course’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes in August and the Dorothy Fred Smithwick Memorial Stakes at Virginia Fall in October.
He finished his 2011 season with a third-place finish in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 22. Robbie Walsh will ride Demonstrative, who tuned up for the current jumps season with a second in a training flat race at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in Raeford, N.C., on April 7.
Demonstrative will be meeting a solid group of seasoned novices, including two who have already posted victories this year. Chief among them is High Hope Stables’ Baltic Shore, who blazed to a three-length victory in the Woodward-Kirkover optional allowance race at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on March 31.
Trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., the Johar gelding had won his maiden victory over fences at Colonial Downs last May and then was a hard-luck second in a Saratoga optional allowance, beaten a nose in August.
Kingsley, a former champion jockey who is tied atop the 2012 trainer standings with three wins, also entered Dogwood Stable’s Trippo, winner of a maiden race at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 14. Trippo is a five-year-old gelding by Trippi, who finished 11th in the 2000 Kentucky Derby for Cot Campbell’s Dogwood Stable. Bernie Dalton has the mount.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered a pair of contenders, Parker’s Project and History Boy. Owned by Edward Swyer’s Hudson River Farms, Parker’s Project will be making his first start since winning a Saratoga optional allowance over fences in August. Brian Crowley will ride.
Timber Bay Farm’s History Boy launched his 2012 season with a second-place finish, beaten a half-length, in the Sandhills Cup allowance race at Stoneybrook. The Grand Slam gelding finished second in last year’s Foxbrook Champion Hurdle and then was sixth in another major novice stakes, the AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia on Nov. 5. Former champion jockey Danielle Hodsdon has the call.
Owner-trainer Michele Sanger will send out Birthday Beau, who came back after missing the 2011 season to finish third in the Budweiser Imperial Cup at the Aiken Spring Races on March 24. He subsequently was pulled up in the $50,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase. Roddy Mackenzie will ride.
With reigning champion jockey Paddy Young sidelined with a broken arm, trainer Leslie Young tapped former champion Xavier Aizpuru to ride Hickory Tree Stables’ Gustavian in her husband’s stead in the Queen’s Cup. The Giant’s Causeway gelding won the Budweiser Holiday Cup at Aiken Fall in his final 2011 start.