Clarke Ohrstrom’s Kisser N Run, who revived her 2013 season with a victory in the Peapack Stakes, will seek to keep the momentum going when she meets several strong challengers in the $50,000 Crown Royal Stakes at the 29th annual Steeplechase at Callaway on Saturday, Nov. 2. First post time will be 1 p.m. at the Pine Mountain, Ga., course.
Kisser N Run will be attempting to prove that her success at the top level for fillies and mares is not limited to the Far Hills, N.J., course, where she won the $75,000 Peapack for a second straight year on Oct. 19. This year’s Peapack was her first victory since her 2012 Far Hills triumph.
In her starts before the Peapack, Kisser N Run was unplaced in Saratoga Race Course’s two major stakes races for fillies and mares, the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes and the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes. Trained in Virginia by Richard Valentine, Kisser N Run will be ridden by Robbie Walsh.
The Crown Royal very likely will decide the winner of the National Steeplechase Association’s Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare Championship, and Kisser N Run will need to be at the top of her game in the Crown Royal, a 2 1/4-mile hurdle race run in memory of renowned steeplechase horseman George Sloan.
Reigning champion trainer Jack Fisher entered the Arcadia Stable pairing of Take Her Tothe Top and Opera Heroine. Take Her Tothe Top scored a 3 1/4-length victory in the Mrs. Phipps on Aug. 8 before a third in the Mrs. Jeffords and a fourth in the Peapack. Jeff Murphy will ride.
Opera Heroine, out of the money in both Saratoga races, came back with a strong effort in the Peapack, finishing a half-length behind Kisser N Run in second, and again will be ridden by Sean Flanagan.
Several other Crown Royal contenders also competed in the Peapack. Robert A. Kinsley’s Casablanca Lily finished fifth, and Marylou C. Gregory’s Class Launch was sixth. Trainer Tom Voss named Mark Watts aboard Casablanca Lily, and veteran jockey Richard Boucher will ride for his wife, trainer Lilith Boucher.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out his Cubist, who finished seventh in the Peapack, and he also will saddle Sully’s Approach, dominant winner of a maiden claimer at the Virginia Fall meet for owner Bill Pape. Darren Nagle, currently leading the jockey standings by wins, rides Cubist, and Bernie Dalton has the mount on Sully’s Approach.
Three-time champion owner Irv Naylor will be represented by Bittersweetheart, who finished eighth in the Peapack. Willie McCarthy will ride for trainer Leslie Young.
Who do you like in Callaway’s $50,000 Crown Royal Stakes?
Take Her Tothe Top. 2008 dk. b. or br. m., More Than Ready—Ceiling, by Boundary. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2013 record: 6-1-2-1, $61,650. 2012 record: No NSA starts. 5-1 odds. Finished fourth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes. Drew away to a 3 1/4-length victory in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8 as lesser half of favored 2.95-1 entry, then was third in Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes. Finished second in Fair Hill, Md., filly-mare maiden hurdle on May 25 after a second in a similar maiden hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va., on April 27.
Bittersweetheart (GB). 2007 b. m., Storming Home (GB)—Cruz Santa, by Lord Bud (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 15-1 odds. Finished eighth in the Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., in her first U.S. start. Had been running successfully in hurdle allowances at smaller British tracks, including win at Southwell in August.
Kisser N Run. 2008 b. m., Pleasant Tap—Firm Kiss, by Atticus. Owner: Clarke Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2013 record: 5-1-2-0, $65,400. 2012 NSA record: 3-2-0-0, $55,600. 7-2 odds. Flashed her best form in winning Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes by a half-length. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8 before eighth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords. Has two second-place finishes in 2013, in Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13 and Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11. Won Far Hills’ 2012 Peapack Stakes for new owner and trainer after maiden score at Foxfield Fall Races.
Cubist. 2007 ch. m., Royal Academy–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2013 record: 5-0-0-0, $1,200. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $56,700. 2011 record: 3-0-1-1, $6,450. 10-1 odds. Never a factor in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes on Oct. 19 and finished seventh. Winner of 2012 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes fell back to finish eighth in 2013 edition. Was pulled up in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8. Sheppard homebred fell at last in Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois on May 11. Faded to finish fifth in the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13.
Opera Heroine. 2004 b. m., Partner’s Hero–Soap Opera, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean Flanagan. 2013 NSA record: 3-0-1-0, $18,750. 2012 record: 2-0-1-1, $13,700. 2011 record: 6-2-1-0, $58,200. 9-2 odds. Ran a strong race in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes and finished second, beaten a half-length. Winner of 2011 Mrs. Ogden Phipps finished sixth in this year’s edition and was fifth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords. Mrs. Phipps was her first start since a second in Fair Hill’s 2012 Valentine Memorial.
Casablanca Lily (Ire). 2008 ch. m., Hurricane Run (Ire)—Lady Prominence, by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Mark Watts. 2013 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $3,450. 10-1 odds. Finished fifth in Peapack Stakes. No kick in seventh-place finish in Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 8. Passed tiring horses to finish sixth in her U.S. debut at Fair Hill against filly-mare maidens. Hurdles winner has been racing on heavy ground in Ireland and could benefit from faster going in the U.S.
Class Launch. 2006 gr. or ro. m., Waquoit—Class Babe, by Class Secret. Owner: Marlou C. Gregory. Trainer: Lilith Boucher. Jockey: Richard Boucher. 2013 record: 7-1-3-0, $15,750. 2012 record: 3-0-3-0, $7,200. 2011 record: 3-0-0-1, $2,950. 10-1 odds. Picked up minor check for sixth in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes on Oct. 19 after eighth in Shawan Downs claimer. Found a home in claiming ranks with a 30 1/2-length win at Block House, followed by two second-place finishes. Earned place money in all three 2012 starts.
Sully’s Approach. 2009 dk. b. or br. filly, Partner’s Hero—Push My Luck, by Press Card. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 record: 2-1-0-0, $4,500. 10-1 odds. Apparently confused in first start over fences at Fair Hill, Md., in May, filly co-bred by Pape and Sheppard sailed to a 19-length win in a maiden claimer at Virginia Fall on Oct. 5.