Returning to his best form, Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative surged to the lead after the final fence of Saratoga Race Course’s $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and turned back Wanganui to win by two lengths on Thursday, July 26.
The Fields Stable’s Wanganui collected his third straight second-place finish at the first Steeplechase Thursday program at the historic New York Racing Association track. High Hope Stables’ Baltic Shore, who had been riding a two-race winning streak, set the early pace and weakened after the final fence to finish third, 2 3/4 lengths farther back. Gillian Johnston’s En Fuego finished fourth in a field of ten for the stakes race limited to horses in their first seasons of competition over fences.
Trained by Richard Valentine and ridden by Robbie Walsh, Demonstrative went off at 15.10-1 odds and completed the Jonathan Kiser’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:42.65 on firm ground.
In a solid field of novices, Demonstrative’s long odds were not entirely surprising. His previous victory was more than a year ago, in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Novice Stakes on July 3. Demonstrative had had two unplaced finishes this year, losing his rider in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices near Charlotte on April 28 (won by Baltic Shore) and a well-beaten sixth in the $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on June 2.
Second in the Jonathan Kiser last year, the five-year-old Elusive Quality gelding flashed the talent that carried him to the 2010 three-year-old title.
Baltic Shore, the 3-1 second betting choice, went to the lead at the start and was quickly joined by Irvin S. Naylor’s Lake Placid, the 2011 novice champion who was coupled in the wagering at 3.85-1 with Naylor’s Black Quartz. Baltic Shore and Lake Placid raced together for more than a mile and three-quarters, with Demonstrative near the back of the field. Lake Placid, winner of starter allowances in his two previous starts, weakened on the final turn as Demonstrative and Wanganui launched their attacks.
Demonstrative surged past Baltic Shore in the first strides after the final fence, and jockey Paddy Young then pressed Wanganui past the pacesetter. Wanganui, last year’s three-year-old champion, proved unable to gain ground on Demonstrative, who extended his lead in the final strides.