Three steeplechase races with total purses of $290,000–beginning with Monday’s rescheduled $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1)—are on tap for the final week of racing at historic Saratoga Race Course. Also on the week’s schedule is a $65,000 allowance hurdle on Wednesday and the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes for fillies and mares on Thursday.
Post time for the New York Turf Writers is 1 p.m., and the Wednesday and Thursday races will go off at 12:25 p.m. TVG will provide live coverage of those races with expert commentary by retired steeplechase jockey Jimmy Duggan.
Wednesday’s 2 3/8-mile contest will feature two second-place finishers in earlier Saratoga races. Dr. David Richardson’s Harrods Creek, a Saratoga stakes winner on the flat, returns from a runner-up finish in an Aug. 18 allowance hurdle at that distance. Trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. will put Jack Doyle in the saddle.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will send out Rodman W. Moorhead III’s All the Way Jose, beaten only a neck in an Aug. 6 allowance hurdle. Leading jockey Willie McCarthy has the mount.
Joining the field for Thursday’s Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords is Irv Naylor’s Bittersweetheart, who will be making her first start since winning the Iroquois Steeplechase’s $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley Stakes for fillies and mares on May 10. Trainer Leslie Young named her husband, four-time champion jockey Paddy Young, to ride.
Owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers was a confident winner of Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes on Aug. 7 and is poised to make a run at a second Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare championship, which she won in 2012. The trainer’s husband, top jockey Bernie Dalton, has the mount for the 2 3/8-mile Mrs. Jeffords.
Last year’s female champion, Clarke Ohrstrom’s Kisser N Run, ran a solid second in the Mrs. Phipps and returns for the Mrs. Jeffords with Robbie Walsh riding for trainer Richard Valentine.
Also coming out of the Mrs. Phipps are the third- and fourth-place finishers, Sheppard’s Brilliant Match and Arcadia Stable’s Opera Heroine, respectively.
Sheppard again will put Darren Nagle in the saddle of Brilliant Match, and current leading trainer Jack Fisher named Sam Jones to ride Opera Heroine. Sheppard also will saddle Sully’s Approach, who was pulled up in the Mrs. Phipps. Owned by 2013 champion owner Bill Pape, the five-year-old Partner’s Hero mare will be ridden by McCarthy.
Here is the field for the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords in post-position order.
Bittersweetheart (GB). 2007 b. m., Storming Home (GB)—Cruz Santa, by Lord Bud (Ire). Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Leslie Young. Jockey: Paddy Young. 2014 record: 2-1-0-0, $31,500. 2013 NSA record: 2-0-0-1, $5,000. Moved into the top rank of her division with victory in Iroquois Steeplechase’s $50,000 Margaret Currey Henley Stakes on May 10. Began 2014 with fourth-place finish in $30,000 Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19. Finished third in Steeplechase at Callaway’s 2013 Crown Royal Stakes after eighth in Peapack Stakes at Far Hills, her U.S. debut. Had been running successfully in hurdle allowances at smaller British tracks, including win at Southwell in August 2013.
Cat Feathers. 2008 dk. b. or br. f., Catienus—Mistress Hemming, by Quiet American. Owner-trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2014 record: 4-1-0-1, $52,700. 2013 record: 6-0-2-1, $32,758. 2012 Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare champion. Broke through with a stylish victory in Saratoga Race Course’s $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 7. Finished fourth in an open Parx Racing allowance hurdle on July 1. Finished third in Carolina Cup for novices in 2014 debut and then was fifth in an Atlanta Steeplechase optional allowance hurdle. Won 2012 Mrs. Ogden Phipps at Saratoga.
Sully’s Approach. 2009 dk. b. or br. filly, Partner’s Hero—Push My Luck, by Press Card. Owner: Bill Pape. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2014 NSA record: 2-0-0-0, $0. 2013 record: 3-1-0-0, $7,000. Pulled up in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 7 and Georgia Cup at Atlanta Steeplechase on April 19. Finished fourth in Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal Stakes in final 2013 start.
Opera Heroine. 2004 b. m., Partner’s Hero–Soap Opera, by Theatrical (Ire). Owner: Arcadia Stable. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Sam Jones. 2014 record: 3-0-1-1, $14,150. 2013 NSA record: 4-0-1-0, $20,750. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 7 and gets a new jockey. Began 2014 with second in Georgia Cup, then was third in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley Stakes on May 10. Winner of 2011 Mrs. Ogden Phipps.
Brilliant Match. 2008 dk. b. or br. m., Partner’s Hero—Gemini’s Gem, by Gemini Dreamer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Darren Nagle. 2014 NSA record: 1-0-0-1, $7,500. 2013 NSA record: 3-1-0-0, $9,750 Finished third, beaten six lengths, in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 7. Homebred broke through with a runaway victory in an Aiken Fall maiden race for fillies and mares. Had two solid performances on Presque Isle Downs’ Tapeta Footings synthetic surface, including a victory in a maiden flat race for fillies and mares on June 26.
Kisser N Run. 2008 b. m., Pleasant Tap—Firm Kiss, by Atticus. Owner: Clarke Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Jockey: Robbie Walsh. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $34,000. 2013 record: 6-2-2-0, $95,400. Finished second in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 7, beaten 3 3/4 lengths. Never found her best stride in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Margaret Currey Henley Stakes and finished a distant fourth. Opened 2014 with 6 1/4-length victory in $30,000 Georgia Cup on April 19. Claimed the 2013 Life’s Illusion Filly and Mare Champion award with late-season wins in Far Hills’ Peapack Stakes and the Steeplechase at Callaway’s Crown Royal.