The top five finishers from a spirited edition of the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) return at a new distance on Thursday, Aug. 23, in the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), the richest steeplechase race on Saratoga Race Course’s 2012 schedule.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, upset winner of the 2009 New York Turf Writers, will be shooting for a double after his 25-1 victory in the A. P. Smithwick at 2 1/16 miles on Aug. 2. The New York Turf Writers is run at 2 3/8 miles over National Fences on Saratoga’s inner turf course.
Danielle Hodsdon, who guided Spy in the Sky to a nose victory in the Smithwick, will again ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Sky in the Sky turned back a determined late rush by The Fields Stable’s Left Unsaid, who was making his first start of the year. The National Steeplechase Association’s novice champion in 2009, Left Unsaid again will be ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young.
Tom Voss, who trains Left Unsaid, also will saddle Armata Stable’s Dynaski, who finished 10th in the Smithwick. Willie Dowling has the mount on Dynaski, who pressed the Smithwick’s early pace before fading on the final turn.
Trainer Jack Fisher will send out Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s All Together, who stalked the Smithwick pace and held on well to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Spy in the Sky. Xavier Aizpuru will be in the saddle.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor will be represented in the New York Turf Writers by a proven veteran and a newcomer to American racing. Decoy Daddy, a two-time graded stakes winner last year and an Eclipse Award finalist, finished fourth in the Smithwick, a length behind All Together. Trainer Joseph W. Delozier III named Ross Geraghty to ride.
Delozier also will saddle Naylor’s Charminster, who has been racing in England. The Irish-bred gelding won a handicap hurdle race at Warwick in May after losing his rider in the Novice Handicap Steeplechase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Carl Rafter will be aboard the front-runner for his American debut.
Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, denied a third straight Smithwick victory when he finished fifth, will seek to take advantage of the longer distance in the New York Turf Writers. In his previous start, he had finished a good second in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) over three miles at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Brian Crowley will ride for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Divine Fortune and Decoy Daddy share the 154-pound highweight in NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr.’s handicap, with Spy in the Sky at 152.
Pape and Sheppard also will be represented by Sermon of Love, the 2010 New York Turf Writers winner, and Nationbuilder. In his previous start, Sermon of Love finished sixth in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois meet. Nationbuilder finished third in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative enters the New York Turf Writers from a stylish two-length victory in Saratoga’s $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26. Trained by Richard Valentine, the NSA’s 2010 novice champion will be ridden by Robbie Walsh, who guided Mabou to an upset victory in last year’s New York Turf Writers.
Here is the New York Turf Writers field in post-position order:
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $46,500. 2011 record: 8-2-4-2, $96,300. Pulled away to a two-length victory in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice on July 26. Finished sixth in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on June 2 after losing rider in the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase, his first 2012 start. Scored biggest victory of his career in 2011 William G. Entenmann Novice, then was second in Saratoga Race Course’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes and Virginia Fall’s Dorothy Fred Smithwick. Was 2010 three-year-old champion.
Charminster (Ire). 2006 b. g.,Broadway Flyer—Monteleena, by Montelimar. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: J. W. Delozier. Jockey: Carl Rafter. 2012 NSA record: 0-0-0, $0. Recent import won a hurdle handicap at Warwick in May after losing his rider in the Novice Handicap Steeplechase over bigger fences in March. Most recently ninth in a Cartmel hurdle handicap on July 21.
Spy in the Sky. 2004 ch. g., Thunder Gulch—Monaassavaat, by Zilzal. Owner: Randleston Farm. Trainer: Jimmy Day. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $66,250. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $12,000. Upset A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) at 25-1 on Aug 2. Has two fourth-place finishes on his 2012 record, in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12 and David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) at Colonial Downs on June 2. Won the 2009 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1).
Divine Fortune. 2003 ch. g., Royal Anthem–My Tombola, by Northern Fling. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2012 record: 3-1-1-0, $46,000. 2011 record: 4-1-1-0, $64,000. Finished fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in A. P. Smithwick (Gr. 1) on Aug. 2. Finished good second in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) after an easy victory in an allowance race in Tryon, N.C., on April 21. In 2011, won A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 2) for second straight year.
Nationbuilder. 2004 dk. b. or br. g., Came Home–Seattle Bay, by Opening Verse. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2012 record: 1-0-0-1, $15,000. 2011 record: 6-0-0-3, $34,000. Making first start for veteran owner. Third for second straight year in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). In 2011, finished third in A. P. Smithwick before fifth (placed fourth) in New York Turf Writers.
Decoy Daddy (Ire). 2002 ch. g., Lord of Appeal–Young Bebe, by M. Double M. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph W. Delozier III. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2012 record: 2012 record: 2-0-0-0, $9,500. 2011 record: 7-3-2-0, $124,100. Finished fourth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, in the A. P. Smithwick. Finished sixth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1), his first 2012 start. Had two 2011 graded victories, in the Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Iroquois Steeplechase and Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at the Middleburg Spring Races. Also won Montpelier’s Noel Laing Stakes for a second straight year.
All Together. 2005 b. g., Danzig–Unify, by Farma Way. Owners: Andre W. Brewster and Sheila J. Williams. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2012 record: 4-0-0-3, $23,000. 2011 record: 7-1-3-2, $85,800. Attended early pace and held on well for third in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) on July 26. Novice champion in 2010 finished third in Colonial’s Zeke Ferguson (Gr. 3) after setting early pace. Most recent victory was the 2011 Jonathan Kiser Novice at Saratoga.
Dynaski. 2003 b. g., Dynaformer–Ski Racer (Fr), by Ski Chief. Owner: Armata Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Willie Dowling. 2012 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2011 record: 4-0-0-2, $38,000. Pressed pace in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) before tiring on the final turn and finishing tenth. Showed affinity for Saratoga course in 2011 when he improved from fifth in A. P. Smithwick to be third in New York Turf Writers Cup. Finished 2011 with a third in the Grand National (Gr. 1) and seventh in Colonial Cup (Gr. 1).
Sermon of Love. 2003 b. g., Pulpit–Plenty of Sugar, by Ascot Knight. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2012 record: 3-0-0-0, $6,250. 2011 record: 3-0-1-0, $8,200. Finished sixth in the Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12 after fourth in the Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) and sixth in Carolina Cup (Gr. 3). Won the 2010 New York Turf Writers and Jonathan Kiser Novice at Saratoga.
Left Unsaid. 2005 b. g., Dynaformer–Hello Soso (Ire), by Alzao. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2012 record: 1-0-1-0, $18,000. 2011 record: 1-0-1-0, $13,500. Beaten only a nose in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), his 2012 debut. Novice champion of 2009 finished second to Decoy Daddy in 2011 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase.