Steeplechasing’s rising stars compete as novices, or horses in their first seasons of competition over fences, and several leading prospects will take the stage in Saratoga Race Course’s $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on Thursday, July 26.
The Kiser, named for the champion steeplechase jockey who was killed in a non-racing accident in 2000, will be the first race on Saratoga’s first Steeplechase Thursday. Well-known steeplechase commentator Jimmy Duggan will provide a preview of the Kiser on Thursday on TVG, which televises the Saratoga races.
Among the Kiser’s 11 prospective starters are a current champion, two past three-year-old champions, and a rising star riding a two-race win streak. Leading steeplechase owner Irvin S. Naylor will be represented by Lake Placid, the reigning novice champion who has easily won starter allowances in his two previous starts. Carl Rafter will ride for trainer J. W. Delozier.
The seven-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding will be coupled in the wagering with Naylor’s Black Quartz, who also has won his last two starts, a maiden victory at Foxfield Spring Races in Virginia on April 28 and an allowance race on May 19 at the Radnor Hunt Races in suburban Philadelphia. Ross Geraghty will ride for Delozier.
The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, last year’s three-year-old champion, has been narrowly beaten in his most recent two starts, optional allowance races at Parx Racing on June 12 and Penn National Race Course on June 30. Champion jockey Paddy Young will ride for trainer Tom Voss.
The 2010 three-old champion, Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, is trying to get his season on track after finishing sixth in Colonial Downs’ David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 2. Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative won the William Entenmann Novice Stakes at Belmont Park last July. Robbie Walsh has the mount.
High Hope Stables’ Baltic Shore has shown an affinity for the Saratoga turf course and comes into the Jonathan Kiser on a two-race win streak. The six-year-old Johar gelding won an optional allowance race at the Carolina Cup Races in Camden, S.C., on March 31 and then took the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 28. Baltic Shore just missed while finishing second in a Saratoga optional allowance last August. Willie McCarthy will ride for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
American Steeplechasing’s two active Racing Hall of Fame trainers will have starters in the Kiser. Sergeant Karakorum will make his first start in the silks of Hudson River Farms, owned by Albany developer Edward Swyer, for Jonathan Sheppard.
In Sheppard’s colors, the New York-bred won the Georgia Cup by five lengths at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 14. In his previous start, he had been second to Baltic Shore in the Carolina Cup allowance race. Brian Crowley will ride Sergeant Karakorum. Sheppard also will be represented by Bill Pape’s maiden winner El Season, who will be ridden by Darren Nagle.
Trainer Janet Elliot will send out Gene Weymouth’s Wild for Gold, who won the Parx optional allowance by a head over Wanganui on June 12. Bernie Dalton has the mount. Prospective starters for the Jonathan Kiser Novice are:
Call You in Ten. 2006 b. g., Ten Most Wanted–Georgiana Lake, by Regal Classic. Owner: Beverly R. Steinman. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2011 record: 3-0-0-0, $7,000. Making first start since finishing a distant fifth in the William Entenmann Novice Stakes at Belmont Park on July 3, 2011. Finished a well-beaten fourth in 2011 Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3) at Middleburg Spring Races.
Wanganui. 2008 ch. g., Love of Money–Distant Drumroll, by Eastern Echo. Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Tom Voss. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2012 record: 3-0-2-0, $10,800. 2011 NSA record: 2-2-0-0, $30,000. Champion three-year-old. Hard-luck story of the summer season with close second-place finishes in optional allowances at Penn National Race Course on June 30 and Parx Racing on June 12. Lost his rider in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup on May 19. Won his debut over hurdles, the Gladstone Stakes at Far Hills, by 24 3/4 lengths on Oct. 22 and sealed his championship with a 1 1/4-length win in the Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial at the Colonial Cup on Nov. 19.
Brave Prospect. 2007 b. g., Purge—Issaqueena, by Mr. Prospector. Owner: Woodslane Farm. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Willie Dowling. 2012 record: 5-1-1-0, $18,300. Stumbled and lost his rider in a Penn National optional allowance on June 30. In a busy spring season, won an optional allowance at the Middleburg Spring Races on April 21. Finished third and was placed second in Virginia Gold Cup optional allowance on May 5 and lost his rider in a Colonial Downs allowance race on June 2.
Lake Placid. 2005 b. g., Giant’s Causeway–Saranac Lake, by Smart Strike. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph Delozier III. Jockey: Carl Rafter. 2012 record: 3-2-0-0, $23,000. 2011 record: 12-6-0-1, $114,750. Novice champion of 2011. Riding a two-race win streak, in starter allowances at Iroquois in Nashville and Virginia Gold Cup, after fourth in Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 28. Secured the 2011 novice championship with a front-running 2 1/4-length victory in the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle on Oct. 22. Claimed for $10,000 at Colonial Downs on Sept. 18.
Demonstrative. 2007 b. g., Elusive Quality–Loving Pride, by Quiet American. Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2012 record: 2-0-0-0, $1,500. 2011 record: 8-2-4-2, $96,300. Finished sixth in the David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial 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 on Oct. 1. Was 2010 three-year-old champion.
En Fuego. 2006 gr. or ro. g., El Prado (Ire)—Meridiana (Ger), by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Gillian Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2012 record: 3-1-2-0, $22,200. Won his maiden victory by 3 1/4 lengths at 6-5 odds in Parx Racing maiden hurdle on June 12 after two second-place finishes.
Baltic Shore. 2006 ch. g., Johar–Ballence, by Saint Ballado. Owner: High Hope Stables. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2012 record: 2-2-0-0, $48,000. 2011 NSA record: 5-1-2-0, $25,850. Won the Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase by a half-length over strong field near Charlotte on April 28. Won his first 2012 start, the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover optional allowance at the Carolina Cup meet in Camden, S.C., on March 31. Won his maiden victory over fences at Colonial Downs last May and finished second by a nose in an optional allowance at Saratoga Race Course in August.
El Season. 2007 b. g., El Prado—Spring Season, by Seeking the Gold. Owner: William Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $26,500. Won his maiden victory over fences at the Middleburg Spring Races on April 21. Two-time winner in modest company on the flat in 2010.
Sergeant Karakorum. 2006 ch. g., Thunderello–Premier Account, by Mt. Livermore. Owner: Hudson River Stables. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2012 record: 2-1-1-0, $29,400. 2011 record: 8-1-3-1, $25,100. Making first start for Albany-based owner Edward Swyer’s stable. Broke through with a five-length victory in the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 14. Began 2012 season with a second to Baltic Shore in the $30,000 Woodward-Kirkover optional allowance at the Carolina Cup in Camden, S.C., on March 31. Scored maiden victory at the Colonial Cup on Nov. 19.
Wild for Gold. 2003 ch. g., Wild Rush–After the Glitter, by Screen King. Owner: Eugene Weymouth. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2012 record: 1-1-0-0, $25,200. 2011 record: 4-1-1-2, $24,300. In only 2012 start, won Parx Racing optional allowance by a head over Wanganui on June 12. Wound up 2011 season with two third-place finishes, in the Budweiser Holiday Cup allowance race at Aiken, S.C., and the Charleston Cup optional allowance on Nov. 13. Won maiden race over fences by 4 3/4 lengths at Penn National Race Course last June.
Black Quartz (Fr). 2007 b. g., Danehill Dancer—Mirina, by Pursuit of Love. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Joseph Delozier III. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2012 record: 3-2-0-0, $27,000. Won Radnor Hunt Cup’s Vita C. Thompson allowance hurdle on May 19 after maiden score at Foxfield Spring on April 28.