Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative and Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, winners of the year’s two Grade 1 races to date, have been nominated to the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Thursday, Aug. 22. The 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers attracted 11 nominees.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative would be defending his 2012 victory in the New York Turf Writers, the richest steeplechase race of the Saratoga Race Course meet. In his only start over fences this year, he won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) by a neck over archrival Divine Fortune on May 11.
Demonstrative, a six-year-old Elusive Quality gelding, was entered for Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1 but was scratched because of a minor cough. In his absence, Mr. Hot Stuff drew off to a 2 1/2-length victory over more experienced rivals.
In the care of reigning champion trainer Jack Fisher, Mr. Hot Stuff previously had won the Iroquois Steeplechase’s $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes. Mr. Hot Stuff competed on the 2009 Triple Crown trail, finishing third in the Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) before a 15th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and an eighth in the Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1).
Fisher also nominated Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s All Together and Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect. All Together, the 2010 novice champion, collected his first victory in two years when he won a $65,000 optional allowance claimer on the Smithwick card. Brave Prospect finished fifth in the Smithwick.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard nominated the Smithwick’s respective second- and third-place finishers, his Italian Wedding and Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune. Italian Wedding ran strongly in his first start in 16 months.
Sheppard also nominated Pape’s Martini Brother, winner of Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 25, and Atlantic Equine’s Hunt Ball, who finished sixth in the Smithwick in his U.S. debut.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, the 2009 New York Turf Writers winner, was nominated by trainer Jimmy Day after a fourth-place finish in the Smithwick. The nine-year-old Thunder Gulch gelding won last year’s Smithwick and then finished third in the New York Turf Writers.
Meritage Racing’s Inti, upset winner of Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8, was nominated by trainer Cyril Murphy. The Uruguay-bred gelding previously had finished sixth to Mr. Hot Stuff in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost.
Leading owner Irv Naylor nominated his Irish-bred Meganisi for a second shot at American competition. In his U.S. debut for new trainer William Dowling, Meganisi finished seventh in the Smithwick.
Here are the New York Turf Writers nominees in alphabetical order:
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 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 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Novice champion in 2010.
Brave Prospect. 2007 b. g., Purge—Issaqueena, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 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.
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 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. 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. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 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 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. Two-time winner of the A. P. Smithwick Memorial, in 2010 and 2011.
Hunt Ball (Ire). 2005 b. g., Winged Love (Ire)—La Fandango (Ire), by Taufan. Owner: Atlantic Equine. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $3,000. In U.S. debut, finished sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial on Aug. 1. Veteran British steeplechaser won Taunton handicap in April. Also won at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
Inti (Uru). 2005 gr. or ro. g., Dubai Dust-Rigolina (Uru), by Ritz (Arg). Owner: Meritage Racing. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $33,500. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $20,400. Pulled 23.90-1 upset in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 1) on June 8. Finished fifth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Stakes for novices. Finished fourth in his first 2013 start, $25,000 Sandhills Cup at Stoneybrook Steeplechase on April 6.
Italian Wedding. 2005 b. g., Alphabet Soup–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 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. Won 2011 Michael G. Walsh Novice at Saratoga.
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 beating more experienced rivals in Thompson Memorial allowance hurdle at Radnor Hunt Races on May 18.
Meganisi. 2007 b. g., Galileo (Ire)—Clandi di San Jore (Ire), by Lando (Ger). 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Dowling. Finished seventh in Saratoga’s $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 1. Veteran hurdler finished second in John Smiths Handicap at Aintree in April.
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 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. 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).
Spy in the Sky. 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassabaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. 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.