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Brilliant Match gives Sheppard second Spa chase win in 2 days
BRILLANT MATCH and Darren Nagle lead Cat Feathers and Bernie Dalton over the final fence in last Thursdays $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes at Saratoga. the two horses finished in that same order in the final steeplechase at this years Saratoga meet. - photo by Photo by Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Brilliant Match turned back a determined challenge by Cat Feathers to win Saratoga Race Course’s $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths last Thursday afternoon.The 2 3/8-mile Mrs. Jeffords for fillies and mares, the final steeplechase race of the current Saratoga meet, provided a second straight victory for Racing Hall of Fame member and part-time Camden resident Sheppard, who had won Wednesday’s $65,000 allowance hurdle with Rodman W. Moorhead III’s All the Way Jose.The Saratoga finale also marked the successful comeback of jockey Darren Nagle, who had sustained a broken leg in a training accident in March. In the hunt for the 2013 riding championship to the year’s very last hurdle race, Nagle scored his first 2014 victory in the Mrs. Jeffords.Sent to the starter at 3.20-to-1 odds after a third-place finish behind Camden owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers, who had Dalton’s husband, Bernie Dalton in the saddle, in the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes on Aug. 7, Brilliant Match ran the Mrs. Jeffords’ distance in 4:39.05 on firm turf. Irv Naylor’s Bittersweetheart finished third, 1 3/4 lengths farther back, and Opera Heroine was fourth.Bred in Pennsylvania by Sheppard, six-year-old Brilliant Match is by Partner’s Hero and out of the Gemini Dreamer mare Gemini’s Gem.

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