A top-shelf group of 14, including two representing overseas interests, has been nominated to the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), Saratoga Race Course’s premier jump race, on Thursday, Aug. 24.
Representing overseas interests are Mighty Acorn Stables’ Casino Markets and owner-trainer David Dunne’s Colla Pier. Trained by Emma Lavelle in England’s Wiltshire horse country, Casino Markets consistently has been running over the larger steeplechase fences there. He was third in Sandown’s Bet365 Josh Giffords Steeplechase on April 29 and unplaced in the Betfred Summer Plate Handicap on July 22.
Colla Pier, an eight-year-old mare who has been racing at smaller Irish courses, has two wins this year. Her owner-trainer, based in County Meath, was a professional jockey and rode in the U.S.
Among the nominees are the defending New York Turf Writers winner, The Fields Stable’s Portrade, and this year’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) winner, Rosbrian Farm’s Swansea Mile.
Trained by Ricky Hendriks, Swansea Mile won the 2 1/16-mile Smithwick Memorial by two lengths, and Elizabeth Voss-trained Portrade faded to fourth after setting the early pace.
Also nominated to the New York Turf Writers from the Smithwick Memorial were Robert A. Kinsley’s Modem, who was making his first U.S. start for trainer Voss and closed for second, and Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat, the third finisher for trainer Kate Dalton.
Three other nominees also are coming out of the Smithwick Memorial. Irv Naylor’s Charminster was sixth, Ballybristol Farm’s Andi’amu was eighth, and Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose lost his rider. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who trains All the Way Jose, also nominated Maram LLC’s Alcazar de Maram, who finished fifth in a Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 2.
Petticoats Loose Farm’s Choral Society was nominated to the 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers from a victory in a Saratoga handicap on Aug. 9 at the same distance. Trained by Jack Fisher, Choral Society won the 2015 Smithwick Memorial at 16.20-to-1 odds.
Fisher, by far the year’s leading trainer, also nominated Gil Johnston’s Mr. Hot Stuff, the 2013 Smithwick Memorial winner who most recently was pulled up in the three-mile Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 13.
A third newcomer to American racing is Gregg Ryan’s Three Kingdoms, who upset the Curragh’s Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap, a two-mile flat race, at 33-to-1 odds on July 1. New York-based George Weaver currently trains the eight-year-old Street Cry gelding.
Nominated to the New York Turf Writers from a Saratoga victory was Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Show Court, who won the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26 for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
Here are the nominees to the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) in alphabetical order.
Alcazar de Maram. 2012 dk. b. h., Giant’s Causeway—Maram, by Sahm. Owner: Maram LLC. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Hair ’Em Corp. (Ky.) 2017 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $1,950. 2016 NSA record: 4-1-2-0, $29,900. Led to the last fence in a 2017 Saratoga allowance and faded to fifth. Found the front end in his final 2016 start, a $30,000 maiden hurdle at the Colonial Cup, and galloped away to a nearly 40-length victory. Finished second in his first two starts over fences.
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2017 record: 4-1-1-1, $34,300. 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 Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (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.
Andi’amu (Fr). 2010 b. g., Walk In The Park—Sainte Parfaite, by Septieme Ciel. Owner: Ballybristol Farm. Trainer: Leslie Young. Breeder: Therese Bouche (Fr). 2017 NSA record: 4-0-0-1, $21,600. 2016 record: 6-1-2-0, $77,300. 2015 NSA record: 4-1-3-0, $56,400. Opened 2017 with fifth in Tryon Block House Handicap, then was distant third in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Never was a factor when unplaced in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Finished hard-driving second in 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) and was fourth in Grand National (Gr. 1).
Casino Markets (Ire). 2008 br. g., Fruits of Love—Vals Dream, by Pierre. Owner: Mighty Acorn Stables. Trainer: Emma Lavelle. Breeder: Ms. V. Cronin (Ire). 2017 NSA record: No starts. 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 in April.
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 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. Faded to fifth in 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), then was third in 2016 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1).
Choral Society. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Holy Bull—Star Singer, by Awesome Again. Owner: Petticoats Loose Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Mayo West Farm and Liam Benson (Fla.) 2017 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $43,500. 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 4-1-0-1, $82,500. Won 2017 Saratoga handicap. Pulled up in 2017 Tryon Block House handicap and then was sixth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Scored a 16.20-to-1 upset in 2015 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was pulled up in the Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1).
Colla Pier (Ire). 2009 b. m., Hawk Wing—Medalha Milagrosa, by Miner’s Mark. Owner-trainer: David Dunne. Breeder: Simba Holdings (Ire). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Has two wins in Irish handicaps in 2017. County Meath-based owner-trainer rode professionally and has experience in U.S.
Diplomat. 2009 b. g., Kitten’s Joy—Waki Affair, by Miswaki. Owner: Flying Elvis Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Ken and Sarah Ramsey (Ky.) 2017 NSA record: 4-0-0-2, $23,750. 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $3,000. 2015 record: 7-3-0-0, $126,750. Began 2017 with fourth in Georgia Cup optional allowance hurdle, then was fifth in Virginia Gold Cup’s David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and third in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial ratings handicap and Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won 2015 International Gold Cup’s Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3). Bred by champion owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and is a full brother to stakes-placed Kitten Love.
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). 2017 NSA record: 1-0-1-0, $27,000. Finished closing second in Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), his American debut. Arrived in U.S. after allowance victory in provincial Irish track Ballinrobe. Durable gelding has seven wins in 47 career starts.
Mr. Hot Stuff. 2006 dk. b. or br. g., Tiznow—Sweet Damsel, by Turkoman. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: WinStar Farm (Ky.) 2017 record: 2-0-0-1, $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). Won 2015 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) and then was second in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) Won the 2013 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at Saratoga.
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $19,000. 2016 record: 4-1-0-2, $111,800. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. Opened 2017 with game second in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), then faded to fourth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) and fourth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace.
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). 2017 NSA record: 4-2-1-0, $107,500. 2016 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $0. Won Saratoga’s 2017 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths, then finished second in Queen’s Cup MPC ’Chase. Finished distant fifth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Showed respectable flat speed to win Parx race for hurdlers at 14-to-1. Won maiden over hurdles in Ireland in late 2015.
Swansea Mile (Ire). 2010 b. g., Dylan Thomas (Ire)—Hurry Up Helen, by In the Wings (GB). Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: W. Kane (Ire). 2017 record: 4-1-1-1, $100,900. 2016 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $7,500. Won Saratoga’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 28.50-to-1. 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.
Three Kingdoms (Ire). 2009 ch. g., Street Cry (Ire)—Chan Tong, by Hampstead. Owner: Colvin G. Ryan. Trainer: George Weaver. Breeder: Darley (Ire). 2017 NSA record: No starts. Upset at 33-to-1 the 2017 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap at the Curragh, going two miles on the flat, before unplaced finish in Galway Plate Steeplechase. Finished fourth in Guinness Kerry National Steeplechase in September 2016.