Arcadia Stable’s Take Her Tothe Top will attempt a rare Saratoga Race Course stakes double when she meets a high-powered field of mares in the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes on Aug. 29, the final Steeplechase Thursday of the current Upstate meet.
Also on the Steeplechase Thursday program will be a $65,000 optional allowance claimer that, like the Mrs. Jeffords, attracted a field of nine.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Take Her Tothe Top successfully made the steep step from maiden over fences to stakes winner in the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug 8. A $20,000 claiming winner on the flat at Belmont Park last September, she had finished a good second in a filly-and-mare maiden hurdle at Fair Hill, Md., on May 25.
She put her speed to good use in the Mrs. Phipps and drew clear after the final fence to a 3 1/4-length victory under Xavier Aizpuru, who will again ride the five-year-old More Than Ready mare.
Take Her Tothe Top will be coupled in the wagering with Arcadia’s Opera Heroine, the 2011 Mrs. Phipps winner who finished sixth in this year’s edition. David Crosse again will be in the saddle.
Among the entry’s opponents will be the winners of last year’s Mrs. Phipps and Mrs. Jeffords. Owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers upset the Mrs. Phipps at 23.30-1 and then finished a good second in the Mrs. Jeffords to claim the National Steeplechase Association’s filly and mare championship.
Third in Colonial Downs’ $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) in June, the five-year-old Catienus filly most recently finished fourth in Saratoga’s $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Aug. 15. The owner’s husband, veteran jockey Bernie Dalton, will ride.
Dalton also will saddle Riverdee Stable’s Lillehammer, the fifth finisher in the Mrs. Phipps. The maiden winner will be ridden by Danielle Hodsdon.
Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard will saddle his Cubist, who turned back Cat Feathers for a neck victory in last year’s Mrs. Jeffords. The six-year-old Sheppard homebred by Royal Academy most recently was pulled up in the Mrs. Phipps. The Racing Hall of Fame trainer named Richard Boucher to ride.
Also coming out of the Mrs. Phipps is Gregory Hawkins’ The Grey Express, who led at the final fence but could not hold off Take Her Tothe Top. Ross Geraghty has a return call aboard The Grey Express for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot.
Doug Fout will send out the betting entry of Well Fashioned and Quiet Flaine, both owned by Virginia horsewoman Magalen O. Bryant. Well Fashioned finished third in the Mrs. Phipps after a victory in the Margaret Currey Henley at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11.
Quiet Flaine, a Bryant homebred, will be making her first start since finishing fourth in the Henley, a race she won in 2012. Willie McCarthy rides Well Fashioned, and Paddy Young takes over the mount on Quiet Flaine.
Clarke Ohrstrom’s Kisser N Run will be seeking her first 2013 victory in the Mrs. Jeffords. Nosed out for the victory in the Henley, she had a wide trip in the Mrs. Phipps and tired to finish fourth. Robbie Walsh again will ride for trainer Richard Valentine.
Here is the field for the 2 1/16-mile Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords in post-position order.
Cat Feathers. 2008 dk. b. or br. f., Catienus—Mistress Hemming, by Quiet American. Owner-trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2013 record: 3-0-0-1, $8,750. 2012 record: 4-1-1-0, $58,500. 2011 record: 2-1-0-0, $6,000. 2012 Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare Champion. Tried the novice ranks and finished fourth in the Michael G. Walsh at Saratoga on Aug. 15. Finished third in Colonial Downs’ $50,000 David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 3) on June 8 after an unplaced finish in an Iroquois flat race. Upset Saratoga’s 2012 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes at 23.30-1 over top field, then finished close second in Mrs. Jeffords.
Quiet Flaine. 2008 b. f., Real Quiet–Flaine, by Chenin Blanc. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2013 record: 2-0-0-0, $2,500. 2012 record: 4-2-0-0, $42,500. 2011 record: 2-0-0-0, $0. Winner of Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley in 2012 finished fourth this year. Was pulled up in only other 2013 start, the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13.
Kisser N Run. 2008 b. m., Pleasant Tap—Firm Kiss, by Atticus. Owner: Clarke Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2013 record: 3-0-2-0, $18,150. 2012 NSA record: 3-2-0-0, $55,600. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8. Has two second-place finishes in 2013, in Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13 and Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11. Won Far Hills’ 2012 Peapack Stakes for new owner and trainer after maiden score at Foxfield Fall Races.
The Grey Express. 2005 gr. or ro. m., King’s Theater (Ire)—Poppet (GB), by Trempolino. Owner: Gregory Hawkins. Trainer: Janet Elliot. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2013 record: 3-0-1-1, $16,500. 2012 NSA record: No starts. Finished second in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps after leading at the last fence. Tired and was pulled up in Iroquois’ Margaret Currey Henley on May 11. Finished third in the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13.
Take Her Tothe Top. 2008 dk. b. or br. m., More Than Ready—Ceiling, by Boundary. Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Xavier Aizpuru. 2013 record: 4-1-2-0, $50,400. 2012 record: No NSA starts. Drew away to a 3 1/4-length victory in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8 as lesser half of favored 2.95-1 entry. Finished second in Fair Hill, Md., filly-mare maiden hurdle on May 25 after a second in a similar maiden hurdle at the Foxfield Spring Races in Charlottesville, Va., on April 27.
Opera Heroine. 2004 b. m., Partner’s Hero–Soap Opera, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: David Crosse. 2013 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $2,250. No starts. 2012 record: 2-0-1-1, $13,700. 2011 record: 6-2-1-0, $58,200. Winner of 2011 Mrs. Ogden Phipps finished sixth in this year’s edition. The Saratoga race was her first start since a second in Fair Hill’s 2012 Valentine Memorial.
Cubist. 2007 ch. m., Royal Academy–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Richard Boucher. 2013 record: 3-0-0-0, $1,200. 2012 record: 5-2-0-0, $56,700. 2011 record: 3-0-1-1, $6,450. Winner of 2012 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes was pulled up in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8. Sheppard homebred fell at last in Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois on May 11. Faded to finish fifth in the Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 13.
Well Fashioned. 2007 b. m., Cozzene–Crypos’ Best, by Cryptoclearance. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2013 record: 3-1-0-1, $38,400. 2012 record: 7-1-0-3, $45,500. 2011 record: 3-2-3-1, $60,600. Finished third in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 8. Nosed out Kisser N Run for a victory in the $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley at Iroquois Steeplechase on May 11. Finished sixth in Georgia Cup in her 2013 debut. Collected her second straight win in Callaway’s Crown Royal Stakes last November after third-place finishes in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial and Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps and Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords.
Lillehammer. 2008 b. f., North Light (Ire)—Desert Dad, by Exploit. Owner: Riverdee Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2013 record: 4-1-0-1, $17,250. 2012 record: 3-0-0-1, $9,000. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes on Aug. 8. Easily won her maiden victory at Colonial Downs in Virginia on June 8 after fourth in Fair Hill maiden. Finished third in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes last October.