Steeplechase racing, absent from Suffolk Downs since 1997, returns to the East Boston track on Saturday with a $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle and a 1 1/2-mile turf race for horses who have raced over fences.
The races for National Steeplechase Association competitors will be the second and fourth races on the 13-race card as live racing returns to Suffolk Downs after nearly a year. In addition, live racing will be offered at the historic track on Oct. 3 and Oct. 31.
The 2 1/16-mile Sport of Kings race is headed by Michael Smith’s newly imported Mercoeur, a French-bred four-year-old who placed in several hurdle races at English tracks. Paddy Young, currently leading the jockey standings by wins, will ride for his wife, trainer Leslie Young.
The flat race offers an intriguing contest that includes Gil Johnston’s Grade 1 winner Mr. Hot Stuff, who most recently finished second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville on May 9 for trainer Jack Fisher. Mr. Hot Stuff finished third in the 2009 Santa Anita Derby (Gr. 1) and was unplaced in that year’s Kentucky Derby (Gr. 1) and Belmont Stakes (Gr. 1).
The Fields Stable’s pairing of Wanganui and Kingdom will be saddled by trainer Elizabeth Voss. Wanganui was the 2011 three-year-old champion for Voss’ late father, trainer Tom Voss, and Kingdom is coming back from a second-place finish, beaten a nose, in the 2014 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.