Monmouth Park’s Friday program will feature three steeplechase races, all with full fields. Highlighting the action will be a $35,000 optional allowance hurdle, and two divisions of a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle have oversubscribed fields.
The jump races will be the first, third, and fifth races on the card at the Oceanport, N.J., track, with a 12:50 p.m. first post time.
Jack Fisher, champion trainer the past three years and far out in front in the 2015 National Steeplechase Association standings, will send out two contenders in the 2 1/4-mile race over National Fences.
Andre Brewster’s and Sheila Williams’ Hot Sand won his first start over fences, at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 18, after a modestly successful career on the flat. The five-year-old Smart Strike gelding will be ridden by four-time champion jockey Paddy Young, who has opened a big lead in this year’s standings by wins.
Maryland-based Fisher also will send out Gil Johnston’s Iron Works, a maiden winner at the Carolina Cup in Camden, S.C., on March 28 who subsequently was pulled up late in the Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 9. Sean McDermott will ride.
Virginia-based trainer Richard Valentine also will have a double-barreled entry for the optional allowance. Clarke Ohrstrom’s Umbraggio will be making his first start after winning a maiden hurdle at Far Hills, N.J., last October. Robbie Walsh, returning from a collarbone fracture sustained at Iroquois, will ride.
Valentine also will saddle Magalen O. Bryant’s Leather Gloves, a Not For Love seven-year-old making his first start in almost 11 months. Jack Doyle has the mount.
Dogwood Stable will be represented by Street Fight, a Street Sense gelding who opened the year with a second-place finish in the Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) at Aiken, S.C., on March 21 and then finished third in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase for novices at Charlotte, N.C., on April 25. Reigning champion jockey Willie McCarthy will ride for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
Pennsylvania-based trainer Edward Graham will saddle Caves Farm’s Western Exchange, a four-year-old Exchange Rate gelding who scored an impressive maiden victory at the Middleburg Spring Races in Virginia on April 18. Tom Foley has a return call.