Joe McSorley’s Lune de Caro took the inside path into the final fence of Parx Racing’s $35,000 Ratings Handicap Hurdle and closed powerfully under Willie McCarthy to win by 2 1/2 lengths last Tuesday at the suburban Philadelphia track.
Bruce Smart Jr.’s Orchestra Leader, who had taken over the lead from pacesetter Ryvit, trained by Camden’s Arch Kingsley, at the next to last fence, finished second, 3 1/2 lengths clear of Augustin Stables’ Young Bohemian, who made a strong bid into the final fence. Irv Naylor’s Nearby finished fourth.
Sent to the starter at odds of 2.90-1, Lune de Caro ran the Ratings Handicap’s 2 1/16 miles in 3: 44 1/5 on firm turf.
Jack Doyle continued to chip away at Paddy Young’s lead in the jockey standings when he rallied Gil Johnston’s Miguel Grau on Parx’s final bend and overtook free-running front-runner Mizyen to win the first division of the $30,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle.
In the second division, Michael Estes’ Curmudgeon closed relentlessly to snatch victory away from Yellow Mountain, who had taken the lead after the last fence.
Trained by Richard Valentine, Miguel Grau spotted Mizyen 10 lengths at the next-to-last fence but quickly reeled in the Irish-bred front-runner, jumped the last with a five-length lead, and won by 10 1/2 lengths. Noble Bull finished third, 10 lengths behind Mizyen.
Miguel Grau, a five-year-old City Zip gelding, won in his fourth start over fences after a flat career in England.
Winner of two jump races at Monmouth Park on June 19, Doyle secured his eighth win of the current National Steeplechase Association season and now trails four-time champion jockey Young by four victories. Owner Johnston leads the owner standings with more than $200,000 in current-year earnings.
Doyle, who left his native Ireland in late spring to ride the remainder of the 2015 schedule, leads the jockey standings by earnings with more than $270,000. In the second division, North Star Boy set the pace from the start and yielded the advantage grudgingly to Riverdee Stable’s Yellow Mountain, who grabbed the advantage in midstretch and appeared to be headed for victory under Ross Geraghty.
Curmudgeon, reserved at the back of the field in the early going, quickly found his best stride after the last fence under Gus Dahl, split the leaders inside the sixteenth pole, and defeated Yellow Mountain by a nose.
Trained by Desmond Fogarty, Curmudgeon went to the winner’s circle after his third start over fences, Curmudgeon had had a successful flat career while trained by his owner.
Demonstrative on point for summer starts: Jacqueline Ohrstrom’s Demonstrative demonstrated emphatically that he is ready for the summer season when he swept to a 2 1/4-length victory in the first division of a $25,000 flat race for hurdlers at Parx Racing on Sunday, July 12.
In the second division of the 1 1/4-mile turf race, Grade 3 stakes winner Bob Le Beau drew clear to a three-length score over All Together.
Demonstrative, the 2014 Eclipse Award and Lonseome Glody Champion award winner, entered the Parx race from a victory in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 9 and went off as the 2.30-to-1 favorite, narrowly ahead of 2.40-to-1 Alwaary, who set the pace into midstretch.
Ridden by Robbie Walsh, Demonstrative never was far back as Jack Doyle dictated a slow pace with Merriefield Farm’s Alwaary. The eight-year-old Elusive Quality trailed Alwaary by 1 1/2 lengths at the furlong pole but surged through the stretch of the suburban Philadelphia track and won going away. Alwaary finished second, 1 1/2 lengths clear of Rosbrian Farm’s Magical Moon in a field of 10. Trained by Richard Valentine, Demonstrative ran the distance in 2:48.51 on firm turf and paid $6.60 to win.
Denied the victory on the lead, Doyle closed from well back in the early going to claim the second division with Bob Le Beau for owner The Fields Stable and trainer Elizabeth Voss. Like Demonstrative, Bob Le Beau was coming off a stakes win, in the National Hunt Cup at the Radnor Hunt Races in Malvern, Pa., on May 16.
Owner-trainer Janet Elliot’s Hiwasee Gem set the pace in the second $25,000 division, with Sheila Williams’ and Andre Brewster’s veteran All Together stalking the pace in second.
Doyle rallied Bob Le Beau on the final turn, moved past All Together in early stretch, grabbed a 1 1/2-length advantage in midstretch and widened to the finish line. Irv Naylor’s Charminster finished third in field of nine. Irish-bred Bob Le Beau paid $14.60 to win as the 6.30-to-1 fourth betting choice after running the distance in 2:43.37.
NSA series heads north: After having run chases at Monmouth Park and Parx Racing, the National Steeplechae Associations stays at the major race tracks as the circuit heads for its annual 10-weeksummer stay at Saratoga.
The first of 12 chases at the Spa will be run on July 29. The two signature events for the jump set at Saratoga will be the $125,000 A.P. Smithwick Stakes on Thursday, Aug. 6 and the $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup to be run on Thursday, Aug. 27.