The Field Stable’s Portrade, front-running winner of Saratoga Race Course’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) in August, is among a talent-filled group of 10 nominees to the $75,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The Ferguson Memorial is the supporting feature for the action-packed International Gold Cup program at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va. First post time is noon, and pari-mutuel wagering will be offered on all races.
Trained by Elizabeth Voss, Portrade signaled that he was coming into top form when he set most of the pace in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) in early August at Saratoga and stayed well to finish third.
In the New York Turf Writers on Aug. 25, jockey Gus Dahl sent the Irish-bred to the lead at the start and drove Portrade to a one-length victory.
Leading owner Irv Naylor nominated his Charminster for a shot at a second straight victory at Great Meadow. The Irish-bred scored a 3 3/4-length victory in the David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) on the Virginia Gold Cup program on May 7.
Cyril Murphy trains Charminster and Naylor’s second nominee, All That Rules, who was the easy winner of High Hope’s featured optional allowance hurdle on May 22.
Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat has been nominated for a shot at a second straight win in the 2 1/8-mile Ferguson Memorial. Trained by Kate Dalton, Diplomat would be making his first start since a sixth-place finish in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1) last November.
Champion trainer Jack Fisher nominated Edith Dixon’s Schoodic and Woodslane Farm’s Sharp Numbers to the Ferguson Memorial. Winner of the Radnor Hunt Races’ National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3) in May, Schoodic was fourth in the New York Turf Writers and was pulled up in Belmont Park’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) on Sept. 24. Sharp Numbers has been idle since winning an allowance hurdle at the 2015 Virginia Gold Cup meet.
Here are the nominees to the $75,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2). The number in parentheses at the end of each profile is the horse’s National Steeplechase Association rating.
All That Rules (GB). 2009 b. g., Galileo (Ire)—Alba Stella (GB), by Nashwan. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeder: Miss K. Rausing and Balmerino Bloodstock (GB). 2016 record: 1-1-0-0, $15,000. 2015 record: 3-0-1-0, $4,500. Won High Hope’s featured optional allowance hurdle by 16 ¾ lengths to open 2016 season. Finished second in Colonial Cup split Ratings Handicap to conclude 2015 season. Disqualified from win in Montpelier handicap for going off course. (123)
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Rodman W. Moorhead III. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2016 record: 2-0-0-0, $5,250. 2015 record: 3-0-0-0, $3,750. 2014 record: 6-3-3-0, $149,700. Finished fifth in David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at 2016 Virginia Gold Cup, then fourth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Pulled up in 2015 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Lost rider in Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, his 2015 debut, then was disqualified from third to fourth in Iroquois’ Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes. Clinched 2014 novice championship with Foxbrook Champion Hurdle victory. (134)
Balance the Budget. 2009 ch. g., Bellamy Road—Every Day Is Good, by El Corredor. Owner: Stonelea Stable. Trainer: Julie Gomena. Breeder: Liberation Farm & Oratis (Ky.). 2016 record: 4-1-1-0, $51,600. 2015 record: 7-1-1-0, $37,250. 2014 record: 7-1-1-2, $27,000. Kicked off 2016 season with victory in $75,000 Carolina Cup, a novice stakes, then was seventh in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and sixth in Saratoga handicap. Finished second in Shawan Downs Ratings Handicap. Kicked away powerfully to win Aiken Spring’s 2015 Budweiser Imperial Cup (Gr. 3) by 21 lengths. (120).
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g., Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeder: Raymond Cahalane (Ire). 2016 record: 6-1-1-1, $75,000. 2015 record: 5-1-0-1, $63,500. 2014 record: 2-0-1-0, $11,700. Charged to 3 3/4-length win in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup, then was second in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Faded to fifth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished third in 2016 Lonesome Glory (Gr. 1). (135)
Diplomat. 2009 b. g., Kitten’s Joy—Waki Affair, by Miswaki. Owner: Flying Elvis Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Ken and Sarah Ramsey (Ky.) 2015 record: 7-3-0-0, $126,750. Won International Gold Cup’s David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) before sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Claimed from victory in Saratoga optional allowance hurdle on Sept. 2 and finished seventh in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Led at last in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on Aug. 6 and faded to finish sixth, beaten 4 1/14 lengths. Began 2015 season with half-length victory in $75,000 Carolina Cup for novices. Bred by champion owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and is a full brother to stakes-placed Kitten Love. (137)
Orchestra Leader. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew. Owner: S. Bruce Smart Jr. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Breeder: Strategy Bloodstock (Ky.) 2016 record: 6-1-2-0, $30,150. 2015 record: 8-1-5-1, $52,000. 2014 record: 6-1-0-2, $12,500. Won 2016 Foxfield Fall’s featured optional allowance hurdle. Finished second in 2016 Aiken Spring’s Budweiser Imperial Cup optional allowance hurdle and Daniel Van Clief Memorial before being pulled up in High Hope’s optional allowance hurdle. Finished fourth in Monmouth Park Ratings Handicap and fourth in Saratoga handicap. (117)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2016 record: 3-1-0-1, $104,300. 2015 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace. Finished third in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2016 with fifth in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. In final 2014 starts in Ireland, won Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle at Listowel and then was second in a handicap hurdle at Tipperary. (129)
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Edith R. Dixon (Ky.) 2016 record: 6-1-2-0, $60,150. 2015 record: 4-0-2-2, $58,000. 2014 record: 6-2-0-1, $67,500. Won Radnor’s 2016 National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3), then was sixth in Saratoga’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Eased in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap. Finished second in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and Middleburg Spring Ratings Handicap. (135)
Sharp Numbers. 2008 dk. b. or br. g., Johar—Flight Numbers, by Polish Numbers. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Richard C. Granville (Md.) 2016 record: No starts. 2015 record: 2-1-0-1, $29,500. Making first start since victory in an allowance hurdle at the 2015 Virginia Gold Cup. In only other 2015 start, finished third in a Middleburg Spring optional allowance hurdle.
Top Striker. 2009 b. g., Van Nistelrooy—Two’s Cozy, by Cozzene. Owner: Mrs. George M. Sensor. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Breeder: Sycamore Hall Farm (Md.) 2016 record: 5-0-2-2, $39,700. 2015 record: No starts. Lost a tough decision by a nose in Saratoga Ratings Handicap, then was second in another Spa handicap. Finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Finished third in 2016 David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) at Virginia Gold Cup after fourth in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3). Won 2014 Carolina Cup and AFLAC Supreme Hurdle. (127)