Special Skills showed off some special skills when he took command of Saturday’s $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle after a mile and drew away to a 3 1/2-length victory in the first jump race held at Suffolk Downs since 1997. Located in East Boston, Suffolk ran its first live racing since last fall and will have two other Saturday meets in October.
Owned by Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster, Special Skills took a forward position as Ohthgift set the early pace. As the front-runner tired, jockey Sean McDermott sent Special Skills to the lead. The five-year-old Bernstein gelding led Mercoeur by 1 1/2 lengths over the last fence and drew away to the finish line. Mercoeur finished five lengths clear of third-place finisher Cash Crop.
Special Skills ran the about 2 1/16-mile distance in 3:51.49 and gave trainer Jack Fisher his 16th victory of the current National Steeplechase Association season. Well on his way to a fourth straight trainer title, Fisher leads his closest competitors by eight wins.
Amy Taylor Rowe’s Maserati revved up the engines and overtook Wanganui to win Suffolk Downs’s $25,000 flat race for hurdle horses by a nose on Saturday. Mr. Hot Stuff, the 1.10-to-1 favorite, finished third, 1 1/2 lengths farther back. Trained by Leslie Young and ridden by Paddy Young, Brazilian-bred Maserati went off as the 9-to-5 second choice and ran the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:53.28 on firm turf.