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Sheppard off to strong start at Saratoga
MARTINI BROTHER CARRIES Darren Nagle (2) over a fence en route to victory in last Thursdays $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Stakes at Saratoga. Camden's Bernie Dalton and Barnstorming (3, far left) finished first in the inaugural steeplechase of the 150th year of racing at the Spa. - photo by Photo courtesy of NYRA
Racing Hall of Fame trainer and part-time Camdenite Jonathan Sheppard invariably does well at Saratoga Race Course, and he kicked off the track’s first steeplechase last Thursday with a 1-2 finish by Bill Pape’s Martini Brother and the trainer’s Barnstorming in the $75,000 Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes.With Darren Nagle in the saddle, Martini Brother moved up from last of 11 on the final run down Saratoga’s backstretch, drew into contention on the final turn, jumped to the lead at the final fence, and repelled Barnstorming to win by a half-length at odds of 2.65-1.Barnstorming, an 18.40-1 longshot with Camden’s Bernie Dalton up, came storming into Saratoga’s stretch and trailed only Martini Brother at the final fence. But Barnstorming was unable to cut into Martini Brother’s lead through the final furlong.Clorevia Farm’s Extraextraordinary also charged from the back of the field with jockey Willie McCarthy to take third, two lengths behind Barnstorming. Extraextraordinary was part of a 2.55-1 favored entry with Dr. Skip, who had a wide trip and faded to finish fifth after pressing the early pace under Jody Petty.