The following was written by Don Clippinger and appeared at www.nationalsteeplecase.com. Photo below was courtesy of Tod Marks. The 99th running of the Middleburg Spring Races is Saturday April 20th at Glenwood Park.
Bruton Street-US’s Scorpiancer, 2017’s Eclipse Award champion, will carry the 158-pound highweight in Saturday’s talent-packed edition of the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 1), the featured race of the 99th annual Middleburg Spring Races at Glenwood Park.
Also on the program is the $30,000 Middleburg Hunt Cup, which will be headlined by Two’s Company, the 2016 timber champion who also is owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Jack Fisher. First post time is 1 p.m. for the seven-race program.
Scorpiancer, who will be making his first start in almost two years, will be reunited with regular jockey Sean McDermott for the 2½-mile Temple Gwathmey. McDermott rode the Irish-bred to victories in the 2017 Temple Gwathmey and the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1).
Fisher also will saddle Bruton Street-US’s Moscato, the 2017 novice champion who also missed the 2018 season, and Jaleo, who will be making his first start for the champion trainer. Michael Mitchell rides Moscato, and Willie McCarthy will be aboard Jaleo. Both carry 146 pounds.
The Fields Stable’s Portrade, a game second behind Scorpiancer in the 2017 Temple Gwathmey, also is coming back after missing last season. Trainer Elizabeth Voss named Jack Doyle to ride the 2016 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) winner, who carries 144 pounds.
Sharing the second highweight at 148 pounds are Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose, winner of the 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1), and Apple Equipment’s Winner Massagot, runaway winner of Montpelier’s Noel Laing Handicap in November.
Keri Brion rides All the Way Jose for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, and Thomas Garner will be aboard Winner Massagot for trainer Richard Valentine.
Ricky Hendriks, who finished a close second in the trainer standings last year behind Fisher, will saddle Rosbrian Farm’s and Meadow Run Farm’s Clarcam, who most recently was fourth in the Noel Laing. Ross Geraghty will ride.
The Temple Gwathmey’s fourth Grade 1 winner is Mark Buyck Jr.’s Show Court, winner of last summer’s A. P. Smithwick Memorial at Saratoga Race Course. Barry Foley has the mount for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
Completing the field are Belisarius, winner of a division of the Far Hills Races’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices in October, and Osmoz, third in the Noel Laing.
Here is the field for the $75,000 Temple Gwathmey Handicap in post-position order. Their handicap weights are in parentheses at the end of their profiles.
Clarcam (Fr). 2019 b. g., Califet (Fr)—Rose Beryl, by Lost World. Owner: Rosbrian Farm and Meadow Run Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. Breeder: Jean Michel & Dominique LeBreton. 2018 NSA record: 3-0-0-0, $5,250. Finished distant fourth in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Distanced in 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) for trainer Gordon Elliott. Lost all chance in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) when he stumbled at the third from last fence and his jockey lost an iron. Set pace in Belmont’s Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1) and faded to finish sixth. In final overseas start, won €250,000 Galway Plate Steeplechase by six lengths at 33-to-1 odds. (146)
Winner Massagot (Fr). 2011 ch. g., Muhaymin—Winnor (Fr), by Lesotho. Owner: Apple Equipment. Trainer: Richard Valentine. Breeders: Christian Ballet and Jean Luc Terrieres (Fr). 2018 NSA record: 2-1-1-0, $33,000. Won Montpelier’s 2018 Noel Laing Handicap impressively after second in Far Hills ratings handicap, his U.S. debut. Won lower-level handicap at England’s Fontwell Park before export. (148)
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Buttonwood Farm. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Breeder: Jonathan Sheppard (Pa.) 2018 record: 6-0-0-1, $ 68,200. 2017 record: 7-2-1-3, $179,300. Finished second in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Finished third in 2018 Grand National Gr. 1) for second straight year, after fifth in A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) and sixth in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1) at Saratoga. Began 2018 with fourth in Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 2) at Middleburg Spring, then fell in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Won 2017 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). (148)
Moscato (GB). 2011 gr. or ro. g., Hernando (Fr)—Alba Stella, by Nashwan. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Miss K. Rausing (GB). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 6-4-2-0, $156,000. Novice champion of 2017 did not start in 2018. Won Belmont Park’s 2017 William Entenmann Novice Stakes and Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes impressively after strong closing second in Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. Won Queen’s Cup maiden by 7 1/4 lengths and Iroquois allowance hurdle by 6 1/2 lengths. (146)
Jaleo (Ger). 2012 ch. g., New Approach (Ire)—Jambalaya (Ger), by Samum (Ger). Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Gestut Karlshof (Ger). 2018 NSA record: 1-0-0-0, $18,000. Finished fifth in 2018 Grand National (Gr. 1) after setting early pace. Had been racing well in moderate allowance steeplechases in England for up-and-coming trainer Ben Pauling. (146)
Show Court (Ire). 2009 b. g., Vinnie Roe—Sparking Gem, by Revoque. Owner: Mark W. Buyck Jr. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Breeder: Grange Stud (Ire). 2019 record: 1-0-0-0, $0. 2018 record: 6-2-0-0, $122,000. 2017 NSA record: 5-2-1-0, $112,000. Opened 2019 with disinterested sixth in Carolina Cup Handicap. Won Saratoga’s 2018 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1) by a length, then was fourth in New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Gr. 1) and fell in Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Won Steeplechase at Callaway allowance hurdle after fourth in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Handicap (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. Began 2018 season with sixth in Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup (Gr. 1). Won 2017 Carolina Cup by seven lengths. (144)
Belisarius (Ire). 2011 b. g., Montjeu—Lasting Chance, by American Chance. Owner: Gary Barber, Brous Stable, and Wachtel Racing Stable. Trainer: Kate Dalton. Breeders: Lynch Bages Ltd. And Camas Park Stud (Ire). 2018 NSA record: 5-2-1-2, $106,200. Won 2018 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle by 6¼ lengths. Set all the pace and won 2018 Monmouth Park maiden hurdle by two lengths. Never has finished off the board in five jumps starts. (142)
Portrade (Ire). 2009 b. g., Trade Fair (GB)—Portorosa, by Irish River (Fr). Owner: The Fields Stable. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss. Breeder: Keene Bloodstock (Ire). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 3-0-1-0, $19,000. Coming back after more than 20 months, following fourth in 2017 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1). Opened 2017 with game second in Middleburg Spring’s Temple Gwathmey (Gr. 3), then faded to fourth in Radnor’s National Hunt Cup (Gr. 3). Won the 2016 New York Turf Writers (Gr. 1) after setting all the pace, then was third in David L. “Zeke” Ferguson Memorial (Gr. 2) at International Gold Cup. (144)
Scorpiancer (Ire). 2009 b. g., Scorpion (Ire)—Janebailey, By Silver Patriarch. Owner: Bruton Street-US. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Breeder: Mary O’Connor (Ire). 2018 record: No starts. 2017 record: 2-2-0-0, $150,000. Claimed 2017 Eclipse Award with victories in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) and Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3). Won Belmont Park’s 2016 Lonesome Glory Handicap (Gr. 1). Finished good second in Saratoga’s 2016 A. P. Smithwick Memorial (Gr. 1), then was third in New York Turf Writers Cup (Gr. 1). Finished second in Middleburg Spring’s 2016 Temple Gwathmey Handicap (Gr. 3), then fourth in Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1). Finished second in Fair Hill’s Valentine Memorial Ratings Handicap. Won 2015 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. (158)
Osmoz. 2012 dk. b. or br. g., Birdstone—Wichitoz, by Affirmed. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. Breeder: Wertheimer et Frere (Ky.) 2018 record: 4-1-0-2, $18,000. 2017 record: 3-1-0-0, $24,400. Finished third in 2018 Noel Laing Handicap at Montpelier Hunt Races. Won 2018 Fair Hill allowance hurdle by 23 lengths and then was third in Far Hills ratings handicap. Finished seventh in 2018 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle. Opened 2017 with win in Middleburg Spring ratings handicap, then finished fifth in Iroquois ratings handicap and Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle. Made two starts on the flat in California for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, with a fourth as his best showing. (142).