A full, well-matched field will line up Friday for a $30,000 optional allowance at Monmouth Park when steeplechase racing returns to the historic Jersey Shore track. Also on the program is a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, which attracted a full field.
The Sport of Kings maiden race will kick off the Friday card at 12:50 p.m., and the optional allowance will be the third race at 1:42 p.m.
Irv Naylor, currently the National Steeplechase Association’s leading owner, will send out two starters with overseas experience. Address Unknown collected his first U.S. victory in a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland on May 24. Overseas, he specialized in long-distance flat races on the turf and had five wins from 25 starts.
Naylor’s other starter, Meganisi, was a handicap winner over hurdles in England and finished unplaced in his only U.S. start, last year’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course. Ross Geraghty returns aboard Address Unknown for trainer Cyril Murphy, and Carol-Ann Sloan rides Meganisi for trainer William Dowling.
Because of his overseas wins, Meganisi will carry a $25,000 claiming tag under the conditions of the optional allowance. Also running with a $25,000 tag will be Why Not Racing’s Class Bopper, winner of a claiming hurdle at Colonial Downs in early April. Richard Boucher rides Class Bopper for his wife, trainer Lilith Boucher.
Jack Fisher, American Steeplechasing’s co-champion trainer last year and the current leader in the standings, will saddle Gil Johnston’s Broxbourne and Andre Brewster’s Selection Sunday. Both won Sport of Kings maiden hurdles this season, with Broxbourne scoring at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19 and Selection Sunday romping home to a six-length victory in his first start over fences at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 18.
Jeff Murphy rides Broxbourne, and current top jockey Willie McCarthy will be aboard Selection Sunday.
Also saddling two starters will be leading Virginia trainer Richard Valentine. Artie’s Jasper, owned by Never Better Stables, won a hard-fought victory in a maiden hurdle at the High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington on May 18, and Rose Marie Bogley’s Labonte was unplaced in his only 2014 start, the $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 10. Robbie Walsh rides Artie’s Jasper, and Kieran Norris will be aboard Labonte.
Here are brief profiles of the 11 entrants:
Orchestra Leader. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew. Owner: Bruce Smart. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Gus Dahl. 2014 record: 2-1-0-1, $8,000. 2013 NSA record: 7-0-0-1, $3,100. Opened 2014 campaign with victory in Block House claiming hurdle on May 3, then finished distant third in Jay Trump starter hurdle at High Hope Steeplechase in Lexington. Won on the flat for a $25,000 claiming tag at Delaware Park last year but his only placing over fences was a third in Foxfield Spring optional allowance hurdle.
Cognashene. 2007 dk. b. or br. g., Dynaformer—Catch the Ring, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Virginia’s Friendship Farm. Trainer: Neil Morris. Jockey: Jacob Roberts. 2014 record: 2-0-0-1, $2,500. 2013 NSA record: 9-1-2-1, $29,200. Opened 2014 with third-place finish in Dogwood Classic allowance hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5, then finished distant seventh in $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 10. Finished second in Charleston Cup optional allowance after being pulled up in Steeplechase at Callaway’s AFLAC Supreme Hurdle on Nov. 2. Finished an even fourth in the first division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 19. Won maiden hurdle at Colonial Downs on June 8.
Address Unknown (GB). 2007 b. g., Oasis Dream (GB)—Return, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. Won $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at Fair Hill Races on May 24 in first start over fences. Was handicap winner on flat in England but needed at least two miles to show his best.
Class Bopper. 2005 ch. g., Bop—Class Vim, by Class Secret. Owner: Why Not Racing. Trainer: Lilith Boucher. Jockey: Richard Boucher. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $13,500. 2013 NSA record: No starts. Began 2014 with a victory in Dogwood Classic claiming hurdle at Colonial Downs on April 5, then was fourth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial starter handicap on May 24 after setting the early pace. Resumed jump racing career after spending 2013 on the flat, with a claiming win in two starts. Won the 2010 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial.
Searubyrun. 2008 gr. or ro. g., Rubiyat—Dress Fancy, by Allen’s Prospect. Owner: Rebecca Shepherd. Trainer: David M. Bourke. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,250. 2013 record: 8-0-0-0, $2,100. Finished third in allowance hurdle at Virginia Gold Cup on May 3. Failed to hit the board in eight starts over fences in 2013. Won maiden victory at Montpelier in 2012.
Artie’s Jasper. 2009 b. g., Artie Schiller—Slew’s Peak, by Peaks and Valleys. Owner: Never Better Stables. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $12,000. 2013 record: 2-0-0-1, $2,750. Won a hard-fought maiden victory at High Hope in Lexington on May 18. Began jumps career with a third at Charleston Cup and a fourth at Colonial Cup in November.
Broxbourne. 2009 dk. b. or br. g., Purim–Morlana, by More Than Ready. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $16,750. 2013 NSA record: 2-0-2-0, $9,000. Broke through for five-length victory in Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19 before fourth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Bright Hour Stakes on May 10. Finished second in first two jump starts last year.
Run to Class. 2010 b. g., Read the Footnotes–Runaway Zia, by Runaway Groom. Owner: Edition Farm. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $2,500. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $8,000. Homebred started 2014 season with fourth-place finish in Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 26, then was a well-beaten fourth in Iroquois Steeplechase’s $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes on May 10. New York-bred made a promising start over fences with a victory at Virginia Fall but then was unplaced in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes and Colonial Cup’s Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial, both for three-year-olds.
Meganisi (Ire). 2007 b. g., Galileo (Ire)—Cland di San Jore, by Lando (Ger). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: William Dowling. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. 2014 record: No starts. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Handicap winner in England finished seventh in his first U.S. start in 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga Race Course.
Selection Sunday. 2009 b. g., Harlan’s Holiday—Ntombi, by Quiet American. Owner: Andre Brewster. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2013 NSA record: No starts. In first career start over fences, drew away to a six-length victory in a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races on May 17. Had two wins on the flat in New York.
Labonte. 2008 b. g., A.P. Indy–Wife for Life, by Dynaformer. Owner: Rose Marie Bogley. Trainer: Richard L. Valentine. Jockey: Kieran Norris. 2014 record: 2013 record: 4-1-0-0, $12,000. In only 2014 start, finished distant eighth in Iroquois’ $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes. Won maiden victory over fences at Iroquois last year. Finished year with seventh-place finish in Colonial Cup allowance hurdle.