Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune will be shooting for an unprecedented third straight victory in the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) when he meets a tough, talented field in Saratoga Race Course’s featured steeplechase race on Thursday, Aug. 2.
Bred by Pape and Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, the nine-year-old Royal Anthem gelding enters the 2 1/16-mile Smithwick from a solid second-place finish in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville on May 12. In his only other start this year, Divine Fortune dominated an allowance field at Tryon, N.C., on April 21. Darren Nagle will ride.
Pape also will be represented by Nationbuilder, who finished third in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois for the second straight year. Brian Crowley takes over the mount on Nationbuilder, who previously raced for Mary Ann Houghland.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor will send out a formidable four-horse entry for the race named in memory of Paddy Smithwick, the Racing Hall of Fame jockey. Heading his entry is Tax Ruling, who finished fourth in this year’s Calvin Houghland Iroquois after winning the previous two editions. Trained by Brianne Slater, Tax Ruling also won last year’s season-ending $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) at Camden, S.C. Willie Dowling will ride.
Joseph W. Delozier III trains the other three members of Naylor’s entry. Via Galilei, imported in the spring, has victories in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), his U.S. debut, and Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 2. Naylor’s first-call jockey, Ross Geraghty, has the mount.
Jeff Murphy will ride Decoy Daddy, who finished sixth in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois in his only 2012 start, and Willie McCarthy will be aboard The Jigsaw Man, who is making his first U.S. start in a tough spot.
Two 2011 stakes winners will be seeking their first Grade 1 wins in the A. P. Smithwick. All Together won Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes for owners Andre Brewster and Sheila J. Williams but has been shut out since then. He most recently finished third in the Ferguson. Trainer Jack Fisher named Xavier Aizpuru to ride.
Oakwood Stable’s Country Cousin has three second-place finishes this year, most recently in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois Steeplechase. Carl Rafter will ride for trainer Julie Gomena.
Trainer Tom Voss will be represented by two horses making their first starts of the year. Armata Stable’s Dynaski finished third in last year’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) after a fifth in the Smithwick. Robbie Walsh will ride. Champion jockey Paddy Young will be aboard The Fields Stable’s Left Unsaid, who finished second in the Marcellus Frost in his only 2011 start.
Completing the field is Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, the 2009 New York Turf Writers winner who most recently was fourth in the Ferguson at Colonial Downs. Danielle Hodsdon will ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Here is the field for the A. P. Smithwick in post-position order:
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph W. Delozier III. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2012 record: 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $4,500. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. Finished sixth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), his only 2012 start. Had two 2011 graded victories, in the Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Iroquois Steeplechase and Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at the Middleburg Spring Races. Also won Montpelier’s Noel Laing Stakes for a second straight year.
Nationbuilder. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Came Home–Seattle Bay, by Opening Verse. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2012 record: 1-0-0-1, $15,000. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $34,000. Making first start for veteran owner. Third for second straight year in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Subsequently finished third in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) before fifth (placed fourth) in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1).
Divine Fortune. 2003 ch. g., Royal Anthem–My Tombola, by Northern Fling. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $42,000. 2011 record: 4-1-1-0, $64,000. Finished good second in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) after an easy victory in the Glassy Mountain Farm Block House, an allowance race in Tryon, N.C., on April 21. In 2011, won A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) for second straight year.
Via Galilei (Ire). 2005 g. g., Galileo (Ire)–Manger Square, by Danehill. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: J. W. Delozier. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2012 NSA record: 2-1-0-1, $37,500. Spring import won Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) by 6 3/4 lengths on June 2. Began his U.S. career with half-length victory in the $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg, Va., on April 21, then was third in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12.
All Together. 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owners: Andre W. Brewster and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2012 record: 3-0-0-2, $13,000. 2011 record: 7-1-3-2, $85,800. Novice champion in 2010 finished third in Colonial’s Zeke Ferguson (Gr. 3) after setting early pace. Most recent victory was the 2011 Jonathan Kiser Novice at Saratoga.
The Jigsaw Man (Ire). 2004 ch. g., Bob Black—Native Sunset, by Be My Native. 2012 NSA record: 0-0-0, $0. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer Joseph W. Delozier III. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Making his first U.S. start for leading owner. Last previous win was at Sandown in April 2011, but front-runner has shown an improving line and may benefit from firm ground.
Tax Ruling. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer–Fantastic Find, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Brianne Slater. Jockey: Willie Dowling. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $7,500. 2011 record: 4-2-0-0, $153,500. Finished fourth in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) after winning in previous two years. Also won the 2011 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) at Camden, S.C.
Country Cousin. 2003 dk. b. or br. g., Lear Fan–Stony Lonesome, by Apalachee. Owner: Oakwood Stable (Nicole H. Perry). Trainer: Julie Gomena. Jockey: Carl Rafter. 2012 record: 3-0-3-0, $31,500. 2011 record: 3-2-0-1, $64,500. Has three second-place finishes this year: in the Carolina Cup (Gr. 3) in Camden, S.C., on March 31, Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg, Va., on April 21, and Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Won the 2011 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial at Colonial Downs.
Dynaski. 2003 b. g., Dynaformer–Ski Racer (Fr), by Ski Chief. Owner: Armata Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2011 record: 4-0-0-2, $38,000. Making first start of season. Showed affinity for Saratoga course when he improved from fifth in A. P. Smithwick to be third in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished 2011 with a third in the Grand National (Gr. 1) and seventh in Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
Left Unsaid. 2005 b. g., Dynaformer–Hello Soso (Ire), by Alzao. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2011 record: 1-0-1-0, $13,500. Making first start of year after only one start in each of two previous years. Novice champion of 2009 finished second to Decoy Daddy in 2011 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase.
Spy in the Sky. 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassavaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2012 record: 2-0-0-0, $6,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. Has two fourth-place finishes on his 2012 record, in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12 and David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on June 2. Won the 2009 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) at Saratoga.