Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem, twice second in his U.S. debut races, will carry the 156-pound highweight in Thursday’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park.
The 2 1/2-mile Lonesome Glory is one of two Grade 1 hurdle races on the National Steeplechase Association’s fall championship season schedule, followed by the $400,000 Grand National (Gr. 1) on Oct. 21. The Lonesome Glory will be the second race on the Belmont card, with a 2:01 p.m. post time.
Trained by Elizabeth Voss, British-bred Modem went off as the favorite in Saratoga Race Course’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 27 and Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) on Aug. 24, and in both races was overtaken by a longshot winner.
Jack Doyle has the mount on Modem, who arrived in the U.S. after a victory at Ireland’s Ballinrobe Race Course in late May.
Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile defeated Modem by two lengths in the Smithwick Memorial at 28.50-to-1 but ran fifth in the New York Turf Writers. Trainer Ricky Hendriks named Michael Mitchell to ride Swansea Mile, who carries 144 pounds in the Lonesome Glory.
Hendriks also will saddle Rosbrian’s Simenon, who was pulled up in the Smithwick. Ross Geraghty will ride Irish-bred Simenon, also at 144.
Leading trainer Jack Fisher also will saddle a pair of contenders, Sonny Via’s Hinterland and Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff. Hinterland was second in the 2015 Lonesome Glory, missed last season, and returned with a second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May.
The French-bred nine-year-old will carry the second highweight at 152 pounds and will be ridden by Sean McDermott.
Mr. Hot Stuff, winner of the 2013 Smithwick, also missed the 2016 season and returned with a third-place finish in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) in April. Pulled up in the Iroquois, the former Triple Crown competitor finished seventh in the New York Turf Writers.
The 11-year-old Tiznow gelding, assigned 148 pounds in the handicap, will be ridden by top Irish jockey Danny Mullins.
Mighty Acorn Stables’ Casino Markets will get another shot at top-level American jump racing in the Lonesome Glory. Trained by English trainer Emma Lavelle, the Irish-bred finished eighth in the New York Turf Writers. He will carry 144 pounds in the Lonesome Glory and will be ridden by Leighton Aspell.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, who set the New York Turf Writers pace and held on gamely for third, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. Darren Nagle, currently atop the jockey standings, will ride.
Prominent owner Irv Naylor will be represented by the veteran Charminster, who finished sixth in the Smithwick Memorial. Carol-Ann Sloan will ride the Irish-bred Grade 2 winner for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Here is the field for the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). The horses’ handicap weights 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. Jockey: Darren Nagle. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2017 record: 5-1-1-2, $49,300. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. 2015 record: 3-0-0-0, $3,750. 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). Finished third in 2017 Tryon Block House handicap, then was second in Iroquois ratings handicap. Clinched 2014 novice championship with Foxbrook Champion Hurdle victory. (142)
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Michael Mitchell. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2017 record: 5-1-1-1, $108,900. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. Won Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-to-1, then finished fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Opened 2017 with second in Steeplechase of Charleston’s featured optional allowance hurdle and then was fourth in Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Finished third in High Hope’s featured optional allowance hurdle. Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) in U.S. debut. (144)
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Jockey: Carol-Ann Sloan. Breeder: Raymond Cahalane (Ire). 2017 record: 3-0-1-1, $23,000. 2016 record: 6-1-2-1, $93,000. Began 2017 with solid second in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2), a race he won in 2016, and then was third in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Brushed in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and finished sixth. Was third in 2016 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1). (142)
Simenon (Ire). 2007 b. g., Marju (Ire)—Epistoliere, by Alzao. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. Breeder: Max Morris (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 3-0-0-1, $7,500. 2016 NSA record: No starts. Pulled up in 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Finished respectable third in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup. Had two wins last summer in England, one on the flat and the other over hurdles. Has world-class speed over a distance and has a second and two fourth-place finishes in Ascot Gold Cup (Eng-Gr. 1) at 2 1/2 miles. (144)
Hinterland (Fr). 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen’s Place, by Diamond Prospect. Owner: Harold A. “Sonny” Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sean McDermott. Breeder: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2017 record: 1-0-1-0, $36,000. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 NSA record: 2-0-1-0, $27,000. Finished distant second in 2017 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in 2015 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), his second U.S. start after seventh in Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). (152)
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Danny Mullins. Breeder: WinStar Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 3-0-0-1, $5,000. 2016 record: No starts. Finished third in 2017 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3) after missing 2016 season, then was pulled up in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and seventh in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2015 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3). Won the 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. (148)
Casino Markets (Ire). 2008 br. g., Fruits of Love—Vals Dream, by Pierre. Owner: Mighty Acorn Stables. Trainer: Emma Lavelle. Jockey: Leighton Aspell. Breeder: Ms. V. Cronin (Ire). 2017 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Was no factor in 2017 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1), his U.S. debut, and finished eighth. From Wiltshire stable of innovative National Hunt trainer, had three consecutive wins in 2016 and two third-place finishes in the spring of 2017 at Cheltenham and Sandown. (144)
Modem (GB). 2010 b. g., Motivator—Alashaan, (GB), by Darshaan (GB). Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Jockey: Jack Doyle. Breeders: Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Deer (GB). 2017 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $27,000. Finished second in Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), his American debut, and New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) as favorite in both races. Arrived in U.S. after allowance victory in provincial Irish track Ballinrobe. Durable gelding has seven wins in 47 career starts. (156)