Steeplechaser of the Year candidate jumps into the season

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 5:04pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Demonstrative, the 2012 runner-up for steeplechaser of the year, will make the $150,000, Grade 1 Iroquois Steeplechase his first race over jumps this year.

The 6-year-old gelding will face six rivals over the undulating 3-mile course with 18 national hurdles at Percy Warner Park Course in the feature race of the 72nd annual meet from the Volunteer State Horsemen's Association. Arcadius won this race a year ago only to collapse and die as he was being cooled down at a station just beyond the finish line.

Trainer Richard Valentine prepared Demonstrative for the Iroquois by running a mile and a quarter race on the Queen's Cup card in Mineral Springs, N.C. With regular rider Robbie Walsh aboard, Demonstrative won that race by three quarters of a length in 2 minutes, 20 seconds over a turf course labeled good.

"He galloped out all the way around the turn. So, that race was more like a mile and half," Valentine said when asked if that race would be enough of a test.

Valentine said the gelding, owned by Mrs. Jacqueline Ohrstrom, Jr. of The Plains, Va., had two good runs on a 1-mile gallop uphill in Virginia.

"He should be ready," the trainer said.

A win for Demonstrative would be his third in Grade 1. He already owns the trophies from last year's New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga and the Marion DuPont Scott Colonial Cup at Camden, S.C.

Divine Fortune, who was third in the steeplechaser of the year voting, is expected to be Demonstrative's main challenger. Racing in the colors of William L. Pape of Unionville, Pa. for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, the 10-year-old prepped for the Iroquois with a win in an allowance contest at Stoneybrook, N.C. last month. Darren Nagle will ride again Saturday.

The field will include the Irish-bred Organisateur with Ross Geraghty, Cornhusker with Kieran Norris, the French-bred Molotof with Bernie Dalton, Lake Placid and James Slater and Slip Away with Paddy Young.

The Iroquois will be the eighth and final race Saturday at the event benefitting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.


2 Comments on this post:

By: Vuenbelvue on 5/12/13 at 7:24

A good article about the horses running if one has knowledge about that sort of thing since a Steeplechase horse run is one day a year in Tennessee. I looked at the "Tennessean" on-line and then checked the "Nashville City Paper" and no articles on the size of the crowd or if it was just limited to Zip Code 37205. The "Tennessean" has pictures of the fashionable crowd and no pictures of the site itself and the open seating that used to be popular. I guess it is another event that Nashville lost. I remember boisterous crowds of 10,000 to 15,000 screaming people all having a good time.

By: Vuenbelvue on 5/12/13 at 7:26

My mistake, I just saw the other article stating crowd estimate of 25,000.