Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative charged past Spy in the Sky before the final fence in Belmont Park’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and held off Parker’s Project to win by a length on Thursday. Making his first start since being claimed, Spy in the Sky finished third.
The victory, Demonstrative’s second straight Grade 1 win after taking Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 25, established his undisputed leadership in the National Steeplechase Association’s championship division.
Trained by Richard Valentine, the seven-year-old Elusive Quality gelding raised his 2014 earnings to $202,500. Sent off as the Lonesome Glory’s 1.70-to-1 second pick behind the Jonathan Sheppard-trained 1.10-to-1 trio of Divine Fortune, Barnstorming, and Bluegrass Summer, Demonstrative ran the Lonesome Glory’s 2 1/2 miles in 5:01.40 on firm turf. He carried the Lonesome Glory’s 158-pound high weight and gave 18 pounds to the second- and third-place finishers.
Divine Fortune, the reigning Eclipse Award champion who won the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 10, established an early lead under Darren Nagle, while Robbie Walsh had Demonstrative in a stalking position on the inside a few lengths off the pace.
Gregg Ryan’s Spy in the Sky, a $30,000 claim at Saratoga, made a sharp move on Belmont’s final turn to seize the lead as Divine Fortune fell back. Demonstrative took up the second spot, and Walsh bided his time to the final two fences. Demonstrative took them both in stride and opened a 1 1/2-length advantage over a surging Parker’s Project over the last.
Parker’s Project, owned by Edward Swyer’s Hudson River Farms and trained by Sheppard, held his position through the stretch under Ross Geraghty to take second money in his first start since the 2012 Marcellus Frost Stakes (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois Steeplechase.
Divine Fortune fell at the last fence and was walked off the course.
Demonstrative finished sixth in his first 2014 start in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois, and he then finished a close second in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31. “I didn’t have him fit for the Iroquois, and that was my fault,” Valentine said. “He just does everything right. Now, he’s staying a little bit closer in his races. His running style needed to change a little bit.”
Demonstrative’s next stop may be the $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 18 if the ground is firm. “He wants firm turf,” Valentine said.