Leading owner Irv Naylor will field the formidable team of Bedrock and Sempre Medici on Thursday for Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), which attracted an oversubscribed field of 13.
Trained by Leslie Young, six-year-old Bedrock will be making his first start of the year and his American debut in the 2 1/16-mile Smithwick. He closed out the overseas phase of his career for trainer Iain Jardine with back-to-back stakes victories in Ireland. Sean McDermott will ride the Smithwick’s 154-pound highweight.
Sempre Medici, trained by Cyril Murphy, has been chasing Rosbrian Farm’s Optimus Prime, who was nominated to the Smithwick but will miss the remainder of the season due to a training injury. French-bred Sempre Medici finished second to Optimus Prime in the Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on May 4. Darren Nagle will ride.
Last year’s Smithwick winner, Mark Buyck’s Show Court, will be shooting for another upset victory. Now 10, Show Court won at 14.10-to-1 last year and will be seeking his first victory of the year. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. named Barry Foley to ride.
Jack Fisher, who is running away with the year’s training titles by wins and purses, will take four shots at the Smithwick. Danny Mullins will ship in from Ireland to ride Gill Johnston’s Peppay Le Pugh, a highly consistent eight-year-old who has two wins and three seconds in six starts this year in the U.K.
Another Fisher entrant, Vosne Romanee, also will be making his first U.S. start. Owned by the Foxtrot NH Racing Partnership, the eight-year-old won a handicap steeplechase stakes at Ascot last fall and has been competitive in stakes handicaps over the big fences this year. He will have his regular jockey, Sam Twiston-Davies, in the saddle.
Michael Mitchell, currently sporting a comfortable lead in the jockey standings, will be aboard Riverdee Stable’s Gibralfaro, who won the Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase on April 27 but had little interest in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and finished a distant sixth two weeks later.
Also representing Fisher will be Sonny Via’s Hinterland, who most recently finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial on May 25. Willie McCarthy has the mount.
Owner Robert Kinsley will be represented by No Wunder, the Valentine winner, and Modem, whose most recently jumps start was a sixth to Show Court in last year’s Smithwick. Kieran Norris will ride No Wunder, and Jack Doyle has the mount on Modem.
Both Kinsley starters are trained by Elizabeth Voss, who also entered The Fields Stable’s Portrade, the Smithwick’s also-eligible. Ross Geraghty was named on Portrade, winner of the 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) but winless since then.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered Buttonwood Stable’s All the Way Jose and Hudson River Farms’ Winston C. All the Way Jose is looking for his first win since the 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park, and Winston C finished a late-running third in the Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices on May 11.
Gerard Galligan rides All the Way Jose, and Thomas Garner has the mount on Winston C.
Completing the field is Belisarius, who finished ninth in the Marcellus Frost and is also entered for Wednesday’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Trainer Kate Dalton named Geraghty to ride.
Here is the field for the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) in post-position order. Their NSA ratings are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Hinterland (Fr). 2008 b. g., Poliglote (GB)—Queen’s Place, by Diamond Prospect. Owner: Harold A. “Sonny” Via Jr. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Eric Aubree and Christian Bresson (Fr). 2019 record: 3-0-1-0, $12,950. 2018 record: 4-0-1-0, $63,750. 2017 record: 2-0-1-0, $36,000. Finished second in 2019 Valentine Handicap after fourth in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and fifth in Carolina Cup. Finished closing second in Belmont Park’s 2018 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), then was fourth in Far Hills’ Grand National (Gr. 1). (125)
Peppay Le Pugh (Ire). 2011 b. g., Arakan—Pinaflore, by Formidable. Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: John Kennedy (Ire). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Raced extensively in lower-level hurdle and steeplechase handicaps in England. Closed out that phase of his career with a second at Carlisle in April 2019 after a win at Ayr. (135)
Winston C (Ire). 2014 b. g., Rip Van Winkle (Ire)—Pitirizza, by Machiavellian. Owner: Hudson River Farms. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Patrick F. Kelly (Ire). 2019 NSA record: 1-0-0-1, $10,000. Opened his U.S. career with third in 2019 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices. Won three straight starts in winter-spring season in England before fifth in Betway Top Hurdle. (136)
Sempre Medici (Fr). 2010 b. g., Medicean—Sambala, by Danehill Dancer. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeders: Myriam Bollack, Noel Forgeard, and E.A.R.L. du Haras de Pierrepont (Fr). 2019 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $13,500. 2018 record: 4-0-1-0, $24,500. Finished second in 2019 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup. Finished second in 2018 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) after fifth-place finishes in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and Semmes. Competed in England and Ireland for trainer Willie Mullins before being imported. Female-line descendant of foundation mare Best in Show, by Traffic Judge. (140)
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). 2019 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $3,500. 2018 record: 6-2-0-0, $122,000. Opened 2019 with sixth in Carolina Cup Handicap, then was pulled up in Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) and fourth in Valentine Memorial Handicap. Won Saratoga’s 2018 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) and fell in Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Won Steeplechase at Callaway allowance hurdle after fourth in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Handicap (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Won 2017 Carolina Cup. (126)
Vosne Romanee (GB). 2011 ch. g., Arakan—Vento Del Oreno, by Lando (Ger). Owner: Foxtrot NH Racing Partnership. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Mrs. L.M.G. Walsh (GB). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Won an Ascot steeplechase handicap in November 2018 and most recently finished fifth in a Warwick handicap. (151)
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). 2019 NSA record: No starts. 2018 record: 2-0-1-0, $41,250. Making first 2019 start over fences after 10th in Par flat race. Finished second in 2018 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) before sixth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Finished second in four 2017 Grade 1 races. (142)
No Wunder (GB). 2011 b. g., Rock of Gibraltar (Ire)—Iwunder, by King’s Best. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Executors of the late J. Ellis (GB). 2019 record: 2-1-0-0, $27,000. 2018 NSA record: 6-0-3-0, $43,200. 2017 NSA record: 8-2-1-1, $67,150. Won Fair Hill’s 2019 Valentine Memorial Handicap after sixth in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Finished fourth in Belmont Park’s 2018 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes, then was sixth in Steeplechase at Callaway’s Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Finished close second in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. (126)
Bedrock (GB). 2013 b. g., Fastnet Rock (Aus)—Gemstone, by Galileo (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeders: Highclere Stud and ORS Bloodstock (GB). 2019 NSA record: No starts. Begins his U.S. career after two victories in Irish hurdle stakes at Tipperary and Down Royal in fall of 2018. (157)
Belisarius (Ire). 2011 b. g., Montjeu—Lasting Chance, by American Chance. Owner: Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Racing Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Lynch Bages Ltd. And Camas Park Stud (Ire). 2019 NSA record: 2-0-1-0, $13,500. 2018 NSA record: 6-2-1-2, $106,200. In 2019 debut, finished second in Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), then was ninth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices. Won 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle by 6¼ lengths. Set all the pace and won 2018 Monmouth Park maiden hurdle by two lengths. Never has finished off the board in five jumps starts. (132)
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $11,250. 2018 record: 6-0-1-1, $ 68,200. 2017 record: 7-2-1-3, $179,300. In 2019 debut, finished fourth in the Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), then was fourth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Finished third in 2018 Grand National Gr. 1) for second straight year, after fifth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and sixth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. Won 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (133)
Gibralfaro. (Ire). 2012 b. g., Dalakhani (Ire)—Ronda, by Bluebird. Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Sarl Darpat France (Ire). 2019 record: 2-1-0-0, $64,500. 2018 record: 5-1-3-0, $77,250. Opened 2019 with victory in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase for novices, then was sixth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in Far Hills’ 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle division and Aflac Supreme Hurdle. Finished second in Iroquois’ 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle for novices, then was sixth in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Set pressured pace and won 2018 Tryon Block House allowance hurdle. (134)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2019 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $19,000. Pulled up after tiring in 2019 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) and David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2). Missed 2018 season after fourth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1). (124)