Merriebelle Stable’s Makari, who won Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) in his first U.S. start, has been entered for a shot at winning Thursday’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup, a back-to-back Saratoga double that has not been achieved in 15 years.
The New York Turf Writers will be run this year in memory of trainer Tom Voss, who died in January. Carrying on his stable is his daughter, Elizabeth Voss Murray, who collected her first graded stakes victory with Makari in the Smithwick. England-based jockey Jack Doyle again will ride the seven-year-old.
Post time for the 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers is 12:25 p.m., and TVG will provide live coverage.
Standing in Makari’s way is an accomplished field headed by Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, who finished a nose behind Makari in the Smithwick on July 31. Robbie Walsh again will ride the 2012 New York Turf Writers winner for trainer Richard Valentine.
Also returning from the $100,000 Smithwick Memorial is Virginia Lazenby’s and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables’ Pleasant Woodman, who set the pace to the final fence and held on for third, 7 1/4 lengths behind the top two. Gerard Galligan gets a return call from trainer Doug Fout.
Jack Fisher, currently the sport’s top trainer by wins and earnings, will saddle the duo of All Together, owned by Sheila J. Williams and Andre Brewster, and Michael Moran’s Staying On. Second in last year’s New York Turf Writers, All Together finished fourth in the Smithwick, and Staying On took fifth money. Sam Jones rides All Together, and Paddy Young takes over the mount on Staying On.
Italian Wedding and Barnstorming, both owned and trained by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, will seek to better their performances after finishing sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Smithwick. Italian Wedding, winner of last year’s New York Turf Writers, will be ridden by Bernie Dalton, and leading jockey Willie McCarthy will handle Barnstorming.
Leading owner Irv Naylor and principal trainer Cyril Murphy will be represented by For Non Stop, who finished third in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) at Nashville on May 10, and Charminster, second in a Saratoga optional allowance on July 30. Ross Geraghty rides For Non Stop, and Carol-Ann Sloan will be aboard Charminster.
Campanile was the last horse to achieve the Smithwick-New York Turf Writers double, in 1999. Others to win both races in the same year are Yaw (1991), Warm Spell (1993), and Racing Hall of Fame member Lonesome Glory (1995).
Here is the field for the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1).
Barnstorming. 2006 b. g., Thunder Gulch—Soul of the Cat, by Stravinsky. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 7-1-2-0, $93,500. 2012 record: 2-0-0-1, $8,000. Showed nothing and finished ninth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31. Tired and fell in Stoneybrook Steeplechase’s Sandhills Cup in North Carolina on April 5. Finished second in 2013 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won Saratoga’s 2013 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes.
Italian Wedding. 2005 b. g., Alphabet Soup–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $9,000. 2013 record: 5-1-1-2, $133,000. Defending New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) winner finished sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31. Finished fifth in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 10 after being pulled up in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring on April 19.
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $22,500. 2013 record: 5-1-0-1, $131,000. Unlucky second when beaten a nose in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31. In only other 2014 start, finished sixth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), a race he won in 2013. Ended 2013 season with third in the Grand National (Gr. 1) at Far Hills, N.J., and fifth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) on Nov. 23. Won 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and Colonial Cup. Was 2010 three-year-old champion.
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. 2014 record: 1-0-1-0, $11,700. 2013 record: 2-1-0-0, $14,000. 2012 NSA record: 3-0-1-1, $52,000. In first start in more than a year, finished a good second in Saratoga optional allowance hurdle on July 30. Finished fifth in the 2013 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa. Pulled away to a nine-length win in a Middleburg Spring optional allowance in his only other 2013 start. Ran second in 2012 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), his U.S. debut.
Staying On (Ire). 2005 b. g., Invincible Spirit (Ire)—Lakatoi (GB), by Saddler’s Hall (Ire). Owner: Michael J. Moran. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 record: 3-1-0-1, $39,000. 2013 record: 5-1-2-0, $65,400. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31. Began 2014 season with win in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 26 and then was third in National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) at Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 17. Scored game upset victory last year in Belmont’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then was closing second by a nose in Foxbrook Champion Hurdle in Far Hills, N.J.
All Together. 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owners: Andre W. Brewster and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 3-0-2-0, $14,000. 2013 NSA record: 7-1-3-0, $104,100. 2012 record: 6-0-0-3, $29,000. Performs well at Saratoga and finished fourth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) after two second-place finishes in starter hurdles this past spring. Ran strong second in 2013 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) after win in Saratoga optional allowance claimer for a $30,000 tag. Novice champion in 2010.
Pleasant Woodman. 2008 ch. g., Woodman—Pleasant Sands, by Sandpit (Brz). Owner: Virginia Lazenby and Farm d’Allie Racing Stables. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Gerard Galligan. 2014 record: 4-2-0-2, $90,000. 2013 record: 9-2-1-1, $36,550. Set early pace in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and held on for third, beaten 7 1/4 lengths. Scored front-running victories in $75,000 Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 10 and Aiken Spring’s $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3). Between the wins, finished third in $50,000 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) after leading over last.
For Non Stop (Ire). 2005 b. g., Alderbrook–Lost Link, by Shernazar (Ire): Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2014 record: 2-1-0-1, $30,000. 2013 NSA record: No starts. Finished third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 10. In first U.S. start, ran away to a 27 1/2-length victory in the Sandhills Cup, an allowance hurdle at the Stoneybrook Steeplechase in North Carolina on April 5. Had extensive racing career in England, where he earned more than $230,000, including $52,826 last year. Finished second in the Ryanair Festival Trophy Steeplechase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
Makari (GB). 2007 b. g., Makbul—Seraphim, by Lashkari (GB). Owner: Merriebelle Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. Jockey: Jack Doyle. 2014 record: 1-1-0-0, $60,000. Won head bob to take Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 31 and give trainer her first graded victory. Recent import was coming off two big allowance hurdle victories at small English tracks. Finished a distant 17th (of 28) in Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.