Steeplechasing heads to the Jersey Shore on Thursday for three races at beautiful Monmouth Park, where two maiden hurdles and a $35,000 ratings handicap attracted full fields. The races will be the first, third, and fifth races on an eight-race program, with a 12:50 p.m. first post time.
The 2 3/8-mile maiden hurdle was split when 18 horses passed the entry box, and each $30,000 division will have nine starters on the Oceanport track’s turf course. The $35,000 handicap hurdle, also at 2 3/8 miles, drew a field of 11.
Virginia-based horseman Neil Morris will saddle the two highweights in the ratings handicap, which will be the fifth race. Thomas Hulfish’s Swellelegent carries the 158-pound highweight and will be ridden by Michael Mitchell.
The six-year-old Pure Prize gelding scored his maiden victory at the Montpelier Hunt Races last November, and he tuned up for his second jumps start of the current season with a flat victory at Suffolk Downs on July 8. In his first start of the year, he was pulled up in the Tryon Block House allowance hurdle on April 14.
One pound behind him is Gillian Johnston’s Ack Feisty, who will be ridden by Kieran Norris. The Birdstone six-year-old finished second in a Tryon ratings handicap before fourth-place finishes in Virginia Gold Cup and Radnor Hunt Races handicaps in May.
Three horses share the 154-pound weight assignment. Graham Watters will be aboard Irv Naylor’s Stormy Alex, a winner at the Willowdale Steeplechase on May 13 for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Bernie Dalton rides Sarah and Sheila Stables’ Wild Dynaformer, who finished fourth in the Fair Hill Races’ Valentine Memorial ratings handicap on May 26 and has been running in flat claimers at Monmouth for trainer J. K. Sweezey.
Ricky Hendriks will saddle Rosbrian Farm’s Cheers to Us, the easy, front-running winner of Radnor’s ratings handicap on May 19. Ross Geraghty has the mount.
Champion trainer Jack Fisher will put Sean McDermott aboard Mrs. Johnston’s Hanno, who was pulled up in the Radnor handicap and carries 152 pounds.
Racing Hall of Fame horseman Jonathan Sheppard, who currently leads the trainer standing by wins, will send out his Pram, a Stroll mare who won the Life’s Illusion Stakes at the Carolina Cup on March 31. Gerard Gilligan will ride Pram, who carries 151 pounds.
Here is the field for the $$35,000 ratings handicap in post-position order. The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Pram. 2011 dk. b. or br. m., Stroll—My Papoose, by Northern Baby. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. Breeders: Jonathan Sheppard and Bill Pape (Pa.) 2018 record: 3-1-0-0, $34,000. 2017 record: No starts. 2016 NSA record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. Came back after missing 2017 season to win Life’s Illusion Stakes at 2018 Carolina Cup, then was well-beaten fifth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley. Pulled up in Fair Hill’s Iris Ann Coggins Memorial. In first start over fences, won a 2016 Aiken Fall maiden hurdle by more than 11 lengths. (108)
Stormy Alex. 2012 b. g., Afleet Alex—Miss Atlantic, by Stormy Atlantic. Owner: Irv Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Graham Watters. Breeder: Scott Naylor (Pa.). 2018 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $12,000. 2017 record: No starts. 2016 record: 5-1-2-1, $21,700. Won a 2018 Willowdale optional allowance hurdle after falling at Tryon in first start since November 2016. Won maiden effort at Tryon for breeder in 2016 and ended season with a second at Aiken Fall and third at Colonial Cup. (111)
Ack Feisty. 2012 dk. b. or br. g., Birdstone—Patagonia Tango, by Storm Boot. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Neil R. Morris. Jockey: Kieran Norris. Breeder: Robert Hahn (N.Y.) 2018 NSA record: 3-0-1-0, $10,000. Began 2018 with distant second in a Tryon ratings handicap on hard ground, then was fourth twice on softer ground at Virginia Gold Cup and Radnor Hunt Races. Won maiden victory at Tryon in 2016. (114)
Quarla. 2011 b. m., Mr. Greely—Peep Show, by Silver Deputy. Owner: Eve Ledyard. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeder: Gainesway Thoroughbreds (Ky.). 2018 record: 2-1-0-0, $14,500. Won maiden venture over fences at 2018 Foxfield Spring, then was fourth in Fair Hill’s Iris Ann Coggins Memorial. Claimed for $10,000 at 2017 Meadowlands flat meet. (107)
Wild Dynaformer. 2012 dj. B. or br. g., Dynaformer—Wild Vision, by Wild Again. Owner: Sarah Sheila Stables. Trainer: J. K. Sweezey. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. Breeder: Winchell Thoroughbreds (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $3,500. Began 2018 season with a flat start, then was fourth in a Queen’s Cup ratings handicap before being pulled up in a similar race at the Iroquois Steeplechase. Had a good fourth in quality company in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial. (111)
Swellelegent. 2012 ch. g., Pure Prize—Latania, by Polish Numbers. Owner: Thomas Hulfish III. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: Mrs. Arturo Peralta Ramos (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0. $0. 2017 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $15,000. In only 2018 start, tired and was pulled up in Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. Won 2017 Montpelier maiden hurdle by 4 1/2 lengths after being pulled up in a Virginia Fall maiden hurdle, his first career start over fences. (115)
Hanno. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Henrythenavigator—Archstone, by Arch. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Mrs. James B. Moseley (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-0-1-0, $4,850. 2017 record: 6-1-1-1, $25,150. Finished second in 2018 Willowdale optional allowance hurdle and then was pulled up six days later in a Radnor ratings handicap. Began year with fourth in Tryon ratings handicap. Scored maiden victory at 2017 Shawan Downs meet. (109)
Change of View. 2014 b. g., Bullet Train (GB)—Cheers Darling, by Cuvee. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Kathy Neilson. Jockey: Shane Crimin. Breeders: Cary Frommer and Curtis Kenimer (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $9,000. 2017 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $800. Won a $15,000 maiden claimer at 2018 Aiken Spring, was pulled up in Foxfield Spring claimer, and finished seventh in Willowdale optional allowance hurdle. (100)
Cheers to Us. 2013 dk. b or br. g., Artie Schiller—Cocktail Hour, by Dynaformer. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Dixiana Farms (Ky.) 2018 record: 3-2-1-0, $26,700. Opened jumps career with second in 2018 Georgia Steeplechase maiden hurdle before maiden win at Foxfield Spring and victory in a ratings handicap at the Radnor Hunt Races. (111).
Indigo Heart. 2010 b. g., Heart of the Storm—Ink Marq, by Marquetry. Owner: Price-Richardson Stable. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. Breeder: Finishline Farms, a Division of Hanover Meadows (Ky.). 2018 NSA record: 3-0-1-0, $3,600. 2017 NSA record: 5-1-2-0, $15,300. Began 2018 with second in Aiken Spring’s Budweiser Imperial Cup ratings handicap and was pulled up in a Queen’s Cup maiden timber and a Willowdale optional allowance hurdle. Won a 2017 Virginia Fall maiden claimer and finished second in a Charleston allowance hurdle. (106)
Show King. 2011 b. g., Fantasticat—Straight Blues, by Straight Man. Owner: Shannon Hill Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Eric J. Meyer (N.Y.) 2018 record: 4-0-0-1, $3,200. 2017 record: 8-1-0-1, $19,940. Made four starts in spring 2018 season and best effort was a well-beaten third in a Foxfield Spring claimer. Won 2017 Foxfield Fall maiden claiming hurdle and was third in Aiken Fall handicap. (100)