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Smithwick reunion planned for Thursday’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup race

Posted: August 21, 2012 3:55 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The top five finishers from a spirited edition of the $100,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) return at a new distance on Thursday, Aug. 23, in the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1), the richest steeplechase race on Saratoga Race Course’s 2012 schedule.
Randleston Farm’s Spy in the Sky, upset winner of the 2009 New York Turf Writers, will be shooting for a double after his 25-1 victory in the A. P. Smithwick at 2 1/16 miles on Aug. 2. The New York Turf Writers is run at 2 3/8 miles over National Fences on Saratoga’s inner turf course.
Danielle Hodsdon, who guided Spy in the Sky to a nose victory in the Smithwick, will again ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Sky in the Sky turned back a determined late rush by The Fields Stable’s Left Unsaid, who was making his first start of the year. The National Steeplechase Association’s novice champion in 2009, Left Unsaid again will be ridden by champion jockey Paddy Young.
Tom Voss, who trains Left Unsaid, also will saddle Armata Stable’s Dynaski, who finished 10th in the Smithwick. Willie Dowling has the mount on Dynaski, who pressed the Smithwick’s early pace before fading on the final turn.
Trainer Jack Fisher will send out Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s All Together, who stalked the Smithwick pace and held on well to finish third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Spy in the Sky. Xavier Aizpuru will be in the saddle.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor will be represented in the New York Turf Writers by a proven veteran and a newcomer to American racing. Decoy Daddy, a two-time graded stakes winner last year and an Eclipse Award finalist, finished fourth in the Smithwick, a length behind All Together. Trainer Joseph W. Delozier III named Ross Geraghty to ride.
Delozier also will saddle Naylor’s Charminster, who has been racing in England. The Irish-bred gelding won a handicap hurdle race at Warwick in May after losing his rider in the Novice Handicap Steeplechase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Carl Rafter will be aboard the front-runner for his American debut.
Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune, denied a third straight Smithwick victory when he finished fifth, will seek to take advantage of the longer distance in the New York Turf Writers. In his previous start, he had finished a good second in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) over three miles at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Brian Crowley will ride for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Divine Fortune and Decoy Daddy share the 154-pound highweight in NSA Director of Racing Bill Gallo Jr.’s handicap, with Spy in the Sky at 152.
Pape and Sheppard also will be represented by Sermon of Love, the 2010 New York Turf Writers winner, and Nationbuilder. In his previous start, Sermon of Love finished sixth in the $75,000 Marcellus Frost (Gr. 2) at the Iroquois meet. Nationbuilder finished third in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois.
Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative enters the New York Turf Writers from a stylish two-length victory in Saratoga’s $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 26. Trained by Richard Valentine, the NSA’s 2010 novice champion will be ridden by Robbie Walsh, who guided Mabou to an upset victory in last year’s New York Turf Writers.
History Boy rolls in Walsh Stakes: Timber Bay Farm’s History Boy jumped to the lead at the final fence of Saratoga Race Course’s $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes and drew away to an overpowering 9 1/4-length victory in last Thursday’s featured steeplechase race.
Kinross Corp.’s Saint Dynaformer ran strongly through the final quarter-mile to take second place from The Fields Stable’s Wanganui, who finished 2 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard and ridden by Brian Crowley, History Boy went off as the 2.85-1 second betting choice and ran the Walsh’s 2 3/8 miles in 4:35.36
Armata Stable’s Cornhusker finished an amazing fourth after he stumbled a stride past the final fence, slid to his knees with jockey Kieren Norris grasping his neck, regained his footing, and resumed running to the finish line.
The Walsh was the second of two steeplechase races on the Thursday program. In the first, a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle, Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s Virsito set all the pace under Willie Dowling and drew clear to a 3 3/4-length victory over Bill Pape’s The Price of Love, the 2.40-1 favorite.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Virsito won a $25,000 maiden hurdle at the Iroquois Steeplechase in Nashville on May 19.

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