Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative, a three-time Grade 1 winner this year, will square off with reigning Eclipse Award champion Divine Fortune in the 45th running of the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup at the Springdale Course in Camden on Saturday.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative already has locked up this year’s earnings championship with his three Grade 1 victories --- Saratoga Race Course’s $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup on Aug. 25, the $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park on Sept. 18, and the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 18. His earnings for the year total $352,500.
Valentine narrowly leads the trainer standings by purse earnings over leading trainer Jack Fisher, and a strong showing by Demonstrative would lock up the Virginia horseman’s first trainer championship. Both trainers entered a strong contingent for the Colonial Cup races.
Demonstrative certainly knows his way around the Springdale Course. He won the 2 3/4-mile Colonial Cup with a dramatic late rally in 2012, and he finished fifth last year. Robbie Walsh will ride the seven-year-old Elusive Quality gelding, who has climbed to fourth position on the National Steeplechase Association’s all-time earnings list.
Bill Pape’s Divine Fortune won the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) in May and ran a valiant second in the Grand National, finishing 3 3/4 lengths behind Demonstrative after setting all the early pace. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard named Darren Nagle to ride last year’s earnings leader, who finished fourth in the 2013 Colonial Cup.
Sheppard will have three other entrants in the Colonial Cup. Parker’s Project, owned by Hudson River Farms, finished third in the Grand National, and the trainer’s Barnstorming took fourth. Pape’s Bluegrass Summer, last year’s novice champion, finished seventh in the New Jersey race. Ross Geraghty rides Parker’s Project, 2014 NSA leading rider champion and part-time Camden resident Willie McCarthy will be aboard Barnstorming, and Paddy Young takes over the mount on Bluegrass Summer.
Top Striker, boasting strong Camden connections, completes the field. Owned by Camden resident Sue Sensor, the 2014 Carolina Cup winner regained top form in the $50,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway on Nov. 1. Trained by Camden-based Arch Kingsley Jr., Top Striker will be ridden by another Camden resident, Bernie Dalton.