An Eclipse Award winner, three other Grade 1 winners, and a novice champion are among the 10 nominees to the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2), the featured race of the 99th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park on Saturday, April 20.
Topping the prospective lineup for the 2½-mile race over National Fences are the two champions from Bruton Street-US and trainer Jack Fisher: 2017 Eclipse winner Scorpiancer and 2017 novice champion Moscato. Both would be making their first starts back after missing the 2018 season.
Scorpiancer won his title with victories in the Temple Gwathmey and the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). The Irish-bred was assigned the 158-pound highweight in the handicap of Bill Gallo Jr., the National Steeplechase Association’s director of racing, and would be conceding at least 10 pounds to his opponents.
Moscato locked up his title by winning Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes.
Fisher, off to a fast start for the current National Steeplechase Association season, also nominated Bruton Street-US’s Jaleo, who finished fifth in the 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) for his former trainer, Ben Pauling.
The three Grade 1 winners made their marks in the last three racing seasons. The Fields Stable’s Portrade won the 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) on the lead. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, the Irish-bred most recently finished fourth in Saratoga Race Course’s 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1).
Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, won Belmont Park’s 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and finished third in the Grand National that year and in 2018.
Mark W. Buyck Jr.’s Show Court won last year’s Smithwick Memorial. A member of Arch Kingsley Jr.’s stable, he finished sixth in the Carolina Cup Handicap on March 30.
Apple Equipment’s Winner Massagot turned heads when he won the Montpelier Hunt Races’ Noel Laing Handicap last November by an impressive 16 lengths over All the Way Jose. The French-bred eight-year-old is trained by Richard Valentine.
Also coming out of the Noel Laing is Irv Naylor’s Osmoz, who finished third, another 16 lengths behind All the Way Jose, for trainer Cyril Murphy.
Ricky Hendriks, who finished a close second to Fisher in last year’s trainer standings by wins and earnings, nominated Rosbrian Farm’s and Meadow Run Farm’s Clarcam, a major winner in Ireland but winless in the U.S. The veteran finished fourth in the Noel Laing.
Completing the nominees is the speedy Belisarius, who won a division of the Far Hills Races’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for trainer Kate Dalton. Owned by Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Stable, the Irish-bred Montjeu gelding has never finished off the board in five hurdle starts.
Here are the nominees for the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap in alphabetical order. Their handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2018 record: 6-0-0-1, $ 68,200. 2017 record: 7-2-1-3, $179,300. Finished second in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Finished third in 2018 Grand National Gr. 1) for second straight year, after fifth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and sixth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. Began 2018 with fourth in Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) at Middleburg Spring, then fell in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Won 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (148)
Belisarius (Ire). 2011 b. g., Montjeu—Lasting Chance, by American Chance. Owner: Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Racing Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Lynch Bages Ltd. And Camas Park Stud (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 5-2-1-2, $106,200. Won 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle by 6¼ lengths. Set all the pace and won 2018 Monmouth Park maiden hurdle by two lengths. Never has finished off the board in five jumps starts. (142)
Clarcam (Fr). 2019 b. g., Califet (Fr)—Rose Beryl, by Lost World. Owner: Rosbrian Farm and Meadow Run Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: Jean Michel & Dominique LeBreton. 2018 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $5,250. Finished distant fourth in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Distanced in 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) for trainer Gordon Elliott. Lost all chance in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) when he stumbled at the third from last fence and his jockey lost an iron. Set pace in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and faded to finish sixth. In final overseas start, won €250,000 Galway Plate Steeplechase by six lengths at 33-to-1 odds. (146)
Jaleo (Ger). 2012 ch. g., New Approach (Ire)—Jambalaya (Ger), by Samum (Ger). Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Gestut Karlshof (Ger). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $18,000. Finished fifth in 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) after setting early pace. Had been racing well in moderate allowance steeplechases in England for up-and-coming trainer Ben Pauling. (146)
Moscato (GB). 2011 gr. or ro. g., Hernando (Fr)—Alba Stella, by Nashwan. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Miss K. Rausing (GB). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 6-4-2-0, $156,000. Novice champion of 2017 did not start in 2018. Won Belmont Park’s 2017 William Entenmann Novice Stakes and Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes impressively after strong closing second in Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won Queen’s Cup maiden by 7 1/4 lengths and Iroquois allowance hurdle by 6 1/2 lengths. (146)
Osmoz. 2012 dk. b. or br. g., Birdstone—Wichitoz, by Affirmed. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeder: Wertheimer et Frere (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-1-0-2, $18,000. 2017 record: 3-1-0-0, $24,400. Finished third in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Won 2018 Fair Hill allowance hurdle by 23 lengths and then was third in Far Hills ratings handicap. Finished seventh in 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Opened 2017 with win in Middleburg Spring ratings handicap, then finished fifth in Iroquois ratings handicap and Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Made two starts on the flat in California for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, with a fourth as his best showing. (142).
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $19,000. Coming back after more than 20 months, following fourth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2017 with game second in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), then faded to fourth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace, then was third in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. (144)
Scorpiancer (Ire). 2009 b. g., Scorpion (Ire)—Janebailey, By Silver Patriarch. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Mary O’Connor (Ire). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $150,000. Claimed 2017 Eclipse Award with victories in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3). Won Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished good second in Saratoga’s 2016 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was third in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Finished second in Middleburg Spring’s 2016 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3), then fourth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Won 2015 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. (158)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 6-2-0-0, $122,000. 2017 NSA record: 5-2-1-0, $112,000. Opened 2019 with disinterested sixth in Carolina Cup Handicap. Won Saratoga’s 2018 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) by a length, then was fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) and fell in Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Won Steeplechase at Callaway allowance hurdle after fourth in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Handicap (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Began 2018 season with sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths. (144)
Winner Massagot (Fr). 2011 ch. g., Muhaymin—Winnor (Fr), by Lesotho. Owner: Apple Equipment. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeders: Christian Ballet and Jean Luc Terrieres (Fr). 2018 NSA record: 2-1-1-0, $33,000. Won Montpelier’s 2018 Noel Laing Handicap impressively after second in Far Hills ratings handicap, his U.S. debut. Won lower-level handicap at England’s Fontwell Park before export. (148)