All the Way Jose and Diplomat, both Grade 1 winners, are among nine nominees to the Saratoga Race Course’s $175,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Thursday, July 26. The 2 1/16-mile Smithwick and the $175,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 23 head the lineup of steeplechase races for Saratoga’s 2018 season.
Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, winner of Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) last September, most recently fell while near the lead in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 19.
All the Way Jose is trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, who bred the eight-year-old Senor Swinger gelding. Sheppard also nominated Hudson River Farms’ Iranistan, a four-year-old who has never been headed in his three starts over fences. He won the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle by six lengths.
Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat will be making his first start over fences since winning last year’s New York Turf Writers Cup at 17.70-to-1 odds. Trained by Kate Dalton, the nine-year-old Kitten’s Joy gelding came back to the races with a 10th-place finish in a Suffolk Downs flat allowance race on July 8.
Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem is seeking his first U.S. victory after finishing second in five straight Grade 1 races, most recently the Calvin Houghland Iroquois. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, Modem was second in the Smithwick Memorial and New York Turf Writers last summer.
Trainer Richard Valentine nominated Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Start, a seven-year-old homebred who is unbeaten this year. After winning the Carolina Cup for novices, the Jump Start gelding blazed to an eight-length victory in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 5.
The Smithwick Memorial nominations contained two Irish-breds who would be making their first U.S. starts. Indian Hawk, now owned by Irv Naylor, won his farewell race, a steeplechase allowance at Wincanton, by 10 lengths on May 15. He is trained by Leslie Young.
Oskar Denarius, a three-time winner this past spring, is trained by Ben Pauling, a young horseman based in England’s Cotswolds who secured his first Grade 1 victory this year in his third season of training.
Also nominated to the Smithwick Memorial were Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming and Mark W. Buyck Jr’s Show Court. Trained by Jack Fisher, Overwhelming finished sixth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap on May 26. Show Court, trained by Arch Kingsley Jr., won Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes last summer.
Here are the nominees to the $175,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). The horses’ National Steeplechase Association ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2018 record: 2-0-0-0, $ 3,750. 2017 record: 7-2-1-3, $179,300. Began 2018 with third in Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) at Middleburg Spring, then fell in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Won 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished third in Grand National (Gr. 1), beaten two noses. Won Fair Hill’s $40,000 Valentine Memorial ratings handicap by 15 1/4 lengths, then lost rider in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and was third in New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1). Novice champion in 2014. (146)
Diplomat. 2009 b. g., Kitten’s Joy—Waki Affair, by Miswaki. Owner: Flying Elvis Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Ken and Sarah Ramsey (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: No starts. 2017 NSA record: 5-1-0-2, $113,750. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,000. 2015 record: 7-3-0-0, $126,750. Won 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at 17.70-1 odds. Began 2017 with fourth in Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle, then was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and third in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap and Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won 2015 International Gold Cup’s Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3). Bred by champion owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and is a full brother to stakes-placed Kitten Love. (132)
Indian Hawk (Ire). 2012 b. g., Westerner—Yorkshire Girl, by Anshan. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie F. Young. Breeder: Patrick Fennessy (Ire). 2018 NSA record: No starts. Making his U.S. debut in a tough spot. Concluded his career in England with 10-length victory in a steeplechase allowance at Wincanton in May. In previous start, was second as odds-on favorite in a steeplechase allowance at Towcester.
Iranistan. 2014 dk. b. or br. g., Einstein (Brz)—Miss Vindictive, by Stephen Got Even. Owner: Hudson River Stables. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Crossed Sabres Farm (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 3-3-0-0, $96,000. Won 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices by six lengths. Skipped maiden ranks and won allowance hurdles at Carolina Cup and Middleburg Spring to begin 2018 season. Scored maiden flat victory at Delaware Park in July 2018. (127)
Modem (GB). 2010 b. g., Motivator—Alashaan, (GB), by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Deer (GB). 2018 record: 1-0-1-0, $36,000. 2017 NSA record: 4-0-4-0, $153,000. Opened 2018 with second in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in four 2017 Grade 1 races: Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial and New York Turf Writers Cup; Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap; and Grand National (Gr. 1). Arrived in U.S. after allowance victory in provincial Irish track Ballinrobe. Durable gelding has seven wins in 47 career starts. (146)
Oskar Denarius (Ire). 2011 b. g., Authorized (Ire)—Elizabethan Age, by King’s Best. Owner: Promanco Ltd. Trainer: Ben Pauling. Breeder: River Downs Stud (Ire). 2018 NSA record: No starts. Heads to U.S. after unplaced finish in handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter. Had three straight wins this spring at Southwell, Worcester, and Newton Abbot.
Overwhelming. 2010 b. g., Hard Spun—Oh What a Windfall, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Phipps Stable (Ky.) 2018 NSA record: 2-1-0-0, $16,500. 2016 record: 4-0-0-0, $9,250. 2015 record: 6-3-1-0, $136,300. Returned to the races after missing 2017 season and won Tryon Block House allowance hurdle before sixth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s 2016 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won Steeplechase at Callaway’s 2015 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle and Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. (121)
Personal Start. 2011 dk. b. or br. g., Jump Start—Personal Doreen, by Personal Flag. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeder: Magalen O. Bryant (Ky.) 2018 record: 2-2-0-0, $90,000. 2017 record: 6-1-1-2, $46,750. Won Virginia Gold Cup’s 2018 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) by eight lengths after victory in Carolina Cup novice stakes. Won 2017 International Gold Cup allowance hurdle by eight lengths. Finished third in 2017 Saratoga allowance hurdle, then was second in Shawan Downs handicap and fourth in Virginia Fall’s Randolph D. Rouse Memorial Handicap. (133)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2018 record: 1-0-0-0, $4,500. 2017 NSA record: 5-2-1-0, $112,000. Finished sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) after chasing winning pacesetter. Finished sixth in Saratoga’s 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) after winning Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths, then finished second in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Finished distant fifth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015. (130)