All Together, shaking off an uncharacteristically lackluster effort in his previous race, powered to the lead over the final fence of Saratoga Race Course’s $73,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and drew clear to a 2 1/4-length victory on Thursday, July 28.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, the 2010 three-year-old champion for trainer Richard Valentine, toppled the inside wing of a fence on the final run down Saratoga’s backstretch but regained his momentum and overtook front-running Here Comes Art to claim second money by a head. Jonathan Sheppard’s Italian Wedding finished fourth, a half-length behind Carrington Racing Stables’ Here Comes Art, who was making his first start in 15 months.
All Together, last year’s novice champion for owners Sheila Williams and Andre Brewster, won for the first time in four 2011 starts. Sent off as the 3.15-1 second betting choice behind 1.70-1 Demonstrative, All Together ran the Kiser’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:51.50 on a Saratoga inner turf course rated as firm.
The six-year-old Danzig gelding had begun the year with two narrow defeats, by a head in the $50,000 Georgia Cup at the Atlanta Steeplechase on April 16 and by a nose in the $50,000 National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 21. Both novice stakes were won by Mede Cahaba Stable’s Complete Zen.
Trainer Jack Fisher pointed All Together toward Belmont Park’s $70,000 William Entenmann Novice Stakes on July 3, and the gelding ran a disappointing third behind winner Demonstrative, beaten 10 1/4 lengths. “He wasn’t himself. He was never going anywhere,” Fisher said of All Together. “I threw that one out.”
Here Comes Art went to the lead immediately in the Kiser, and jockey Xavier Aizpuru placed All Together in a stalking position more than two lengths behind the front-runner.
“I like him to be close to the pace but not on the pace, so he has something to shoot at. He loves the challenge,” Aizpuru said. “The horse on the lead [Here Comes Art] hadn’t run for a year and a half, and there’s always the concern that he will leave me on the lead.”
Here Comes Art, a New York-bred who was finely tuned for the Kiser by trainer Arch Kingsley Jr., showed no signs of stopping under jockey Bernie Dalton and carried the field through more than 1 3/4 miles.
Demonstrative, near the rear of the field, took an inside route and dislodged the wing on the seventh of nine fences. “It cost me some momentum,” said jockey Robbie Walsh, who moved the four-year-old Elusive Quality gelding to the outside after the eighth fence for an attack on the leaders.
Aizpuru put All Together into high gear on Saratoga’s final turn, and they jumped to the lead over the final fence. “I needed him to give me the big one at the end, and he did,” Aizpuru said. “I’m delighted, for the horse more than anyone else.”
Demonstrative loomed into contention before the final fence, and they gradually wore down 4.60-1 Here Comes Art to claim the place.
The stakes on Saratoga’s first Steeplechase Thursday honored the memory of Jonathan Kiser, a two-time champion jockey by victories who died in a non-racing accident in July 2000.