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Barnstorming takes Walsh Stakes for Sheppard
BARNSTORMING CARRIED IRISH JOCKEY Sean McDermott home to victory in last Thursdays $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga for owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard. - photo by Photo courtesy of NYRA
Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Barnstorming surged to the lead on Saratoga Race Course’s final turn, jumped the final fence with a big lead, and powered home for an easy 6 1/4-length victory in the $75,000 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Thursday, Aug. 15.Sacred Soul, half of leading owner Irv Naylor’s favored 1.30-1 entry, held second, 4 1/2 lengths clear of Clorevia Farm’s Extraextraordinary, who overtook owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers for the show spot. Black Quartz, the other half of Naylor’s entry, finished fifth in a field of nine, and Alajmal was sixth in a field of nine.Ridden by Irish jockey Sean McDermott, Barnstorming went off at 5.90-1 and completed the Walsh’s 2 3/8 miles in 4:38.54 on turf rated as good.With the Walsh score, Racing Hall of Fame trainer and part-time Camden resident Sheppard swept both of Saratoga’s steeplechase races for novices, or horses in their first seasons of competition over fences. He sent out Bill Pape’s Martini Brother and Barnstorming for a one-two finish in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 25.Barnstorming was toward the back of the pack early in the Walsh after Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Private Equity jumped out to an early lead, with 2012 novice champion and 2013 Carolina Cup winner Alajmal applying pressure for the first mile and a half.