Trainer Richard Valentine will want to make sure to come back to Saratoga Race Course next year.
And he’ll want to bring his hurdler Demonstrative. The 5-year-old gelded son of Elusive Quality is 2-2-0 in his four career starts here, and Thursday’s win in the Grade I $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup gave him his second straight win and his biggest.
“He loves it, doesn’t he?” Valentine said. “And he’s a big, rangy horse. You would think he would want more of a galloping track, but he really seems to like this tight track on the inner turf here.”
Demonstrative sat just off the pace throughout the 23⁄8 miles. He kept within a couple lengths, then found an outside seam in the final turn. Charminster entered the stretch with a 11⁄2-length lead, but Demonstrative finished strong to win by a length. Spy in the Sky, the 25-1 surprise winner of the Grade I A.P. Smithwick Memorial here Aug. 2, finished third.
Demonstrative has come close in his two previous tries at the distance, but couldn’t find the late kick he needed to win. Valentine said he’s about 10 lengths better this year than he was last year, though, and can still get even better.
“He’s 5, and in our game, that’s young,” Valentine said. “Last year, he had a big year, we ran him eight times. He’s finally filled out, he’s matured, he’s getting more consistent in his running style. I had a couple anxious moments where I thought he wasn’t going to get out, but once he gets daylight, with his work ethic, he’s not going to pack it in. He’s going to try. He’s got a tremendous heart, a tremendous attitude, and I’m very lucky to train him.”
Heading over the final fence, Divine Fortune fell and tossed rider Brian Crowley to the ground. Left Unsaid followed and fell, sending jockey Paddy Young to the ground. Both horses and riders were OK after the race.
HERE AND THERE
Awesome Feather worked five furlongs in 1:02.77, second fastest of seven at the distance on the Oklahoma Training Track.
The 4-year-old filly trained by Mechanicville native Chad Brown is 9-for-9 in her career, including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the Grade I Gazelle, and has earned more than $1.8 million. There is no word yet on when her next start may be. . . .
The next start for Jackson Bend may still be the Grade I $500,000 Forego on Sept. 1 at Saratoga.
Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito may send last year’s Forego winner out for a workout Monday morning, he said.
“Jackson went to the track this morning and galloped,” he told the New York Racing Association. “Ultrasound, blood, X-rays, he passed all of it. I’m going to try Monday. We’ll just go around 7:30 right here [Oklahoma]. If not, then you know, we’ve just got to wait.”
Jackson Bend was training on the Oklahoma on Saturday when Little Nick spooked and bolted through the entry gap, colliding with Jackson Bend, who ended up on the ground. . . .
Get Stormy, winner of the Grade II Fourstardave, will likely skip the Grade II Bernard Baruch on Sept. 1 and run next at Keeneland.