Demonstrative does it again in Lonesome Glory

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When Demonstrative runs the way he did Thursday,  you almost have to ask – What’s going to beat him?

“Not a horse,” said jockey Robbie Walsh, a few minutes after capturing the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory at Belmont Park. “Something else might beat him. He’ll beat himself or a racetrack will beat him. On that form, the way he is right now, it’s going to be very hard for anyone to come and beat him.”

The 7-year-old Elusive Quality gelding sat close – and totally relaxed – to a slow early pace in the 2 1/2-mile Grade 1. Divine Fortune set that cadence, followed by entrymate Barnstorming. Demonstrative was third, on the inside, waiting, among a field of eight. The race didn’t really start until the second trip up the backside. After the ninth of 12 fences, Spy In The Sky left his spot in the back and came around horses. Divine Fortune still led and the others bunched.

Bounced around a bit after the ninth, Demonstrative bulled his way out from behind Divine Fortune coming to the 10th. The winner flew it, and had company as Spy In The Sky attacked going into the turn. The 10-year-old veteran, the first jump starter for flat trainer George Weaver, kicked to a lead as Demonstrative backed off. The winner never let Spy In The Sky get too clear, however, and responded to Walsh’s cue coming off the turn.

In six strides, they was even. Demonstrative touched down at the second-last and surged again – ending Spy In The Sky’s bid and attacking the last fence from way back. He landed running and had Parker’s Project measured to the wire while winning by a length. Spy In The Sky stayed for third. Divine Fortune fell at the last fence but did not appear to be injured as the even-money Jonathan Sheppard entry finished off the board.

Demonstrative (right) leads Spy In The Sky (left) and Parker’s Project over the last. (Tod Marks photo)
Owned by Jacqueline Ohrstrom, Demonstrative pocketed $90,000 in the Loneseome Glory to reach $659,800 in career steeplechase earnings. He’s just the ninth horse to pass the $600,000 mark – joining McDynamo, Good Night Shirt, Lonesome Glory, Victorian Hill, Sur La Tete, Mixed Up and Divine Fortune. It’s only one measuring stick, and obviously changes with time (nobody’s comparing Demonstrative to Flatterer or Zaccio just yet) but it’s a milestone.

“How about it?” said Valentine Thursday. “The bookkeeper is happy, but it’s only part of it. I thought Bee Charmer was going to be our big horse and that really hit us hard when we lost him (to a breakdown in 2009). Things like that are in the back of your mind sometimes, but we’re pretty lucky, pretty damn lucky to have a horse this good.”

 Valentine bought the Kentucky-bred at England’s Tattersalls July Sale in 2010 and has steered a steeplechase career that has included wins over jumps at 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Over the years, the big bay has changed and developed, as Walsh can attest.

“Today he was switched off, completely,” said the jockey. “With the weight we were carrying (158 pounds, 4-18 more than the others) I didn’t want to give too much ground away. He’s proven that he doesn’t mind being close. Before if I did that I’d be in front after two fences or I’d be running into the back of horses. Now he switches off. Boom, he’s asleep. It worked out, because of the pace we went, it was pedestrian. Pedestrian.”

Aboard Divine Fortune, Darren Nagle kept that pace slow while trying to control the race. The Iroquois winner had no answer when the real running started, however, and yielded after the 10th fence – where Demonstrative and Spy In the Sky (with Tom Foley aboard) met.

“I had to pull out to the third-last because we were going so slow,” said Walsh. “I needed daylight. If Darren keeps going, he keeps going but I needed daylight. I got that to the third-last, he winged it, landed and Tom arrived on my outside. I was there too soon but I had to go. Darren missed it and my company was gone. Then Tom arrived; I was delighted.”

Demonstrative followed Spy In The Sky around the turn, then won a sprint over the final furlong.

The last fence came up long, but Demonstrative locked on to his takeoff stride well out, got plenty of height and barely touched the top few inches of brush with his hind feet.

“You don’t gun him, you just support him,” Walsh said of the final fence. “He knows (the long stride) is there and up he’ll come. If it’s wrong and he decides to go short, well he’s quick to do that too. I’m not interfering with him, just trying to support him as much as I can. It was the same type of last fence at the Iroquois (in 2013). Just give him the support he needs and he goes.”

Demonstrative leads all jumpers with $202,500 earned this year and has the inside path to his first Eclipse Award with two wins and a nose defeat in the last three Grade 1 stakes. The $250,000 Grand National, Oct. 18 at Far Hills, is next on the agenda. Demonstrative is winless in four starts there, including the last two Grand Nationals.

 

Address Unknown finds his way

Five weeks after getting thumped by Schoodic at Saratoga, classy English import Address Unknown got his revenge in the $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial to open Thursday’s card at Belmont.

The 7-year-old improved to 3-for-4 over jumps – all this year – and leapt into the conversation about the year’s top novice hurdlers. Bred by Juddmonte Farm in England, the son of Oasis Dream came to jump racing with plenty of buzz as a winner of the Chester Cup going 2 5/16 miles last year and the Shergar going 2 miles in 2012. On the pedigree side, the bay with four white feet, knee-high front socks and a long blaze is related to Juddmonte stalwarts Warning, Dushyantor and Commander In Chief among others.

Address Unknown (right) leads Schoodic early in the William Entenmann at Belmont. (Tod Marks photo0
Owned by Irv Naylor, Address Unknown won his jump debut at Fair Hill in May, blasted allowance foes one start later at Monmouth in June and then couldn’t kick with Schoodic at Saratoga. Things were different Thursday as Address Unknown relaxed in fourth early before outrunning a pack in the stretch. The winner arrived at the last full of run and picked up from a long spot. He dove through a bit, picked up and carried on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over All The Way Jose with Dr. Skip third. Schoodic was never settled and faded to last of seven.

Trainer Cyril Murphy talked to jockey Ross Geraghty before the race and issued a word of caution.

“You know, if you meet the second-last right, you meet the last wrong,” Murphy told Geraghty. “We flew the second-last and I thought of Cyril. I kept going for it. I gave him a smack, keep the revs up and go. In fairness, he picked up. But he’s a nice horse. He can do that.”

Aboard for all four jump starts, Ross Geraghty was impressed – again.

“He’s a nice horse,” said the jockey. “He’s always impressed me. I wasn’t disappointed in Saratoga when he was second to Schoodic. Schoodic’s a nice horse. You could flip-flop the results between them. I like my horse and next year he’s going to be better still.”

NOTES: The Lonesome Glory produced notable show payoffs as Sheppard’s three-horse entry of Barnstorming (fifth), Bluegrass Summer (sixth) and Divine Fortune (fell) finished out of the first three in a race with just six betting interests. Demonstrative paid $6.50 to show but only $5.40 to win. Parker’s Project (17-1 to win) paid $29.80 to show and Spy In The Sky (13-1 to win) paid $16.60 to show. A $2 show bet on the other five entrants would have produced a profit of $42.90 . . . The steeplechase season moves to the race meets for the fall with the first stops at Maryland’s Shawan Downs and Virginia’s Foxfield Races Sept. 27 and 28, respectively. Rich stops include Far Hills Oct. 18, International Gold Cup Oct. 25, Montpelier and Callaway Gardens Nov. 1 and the Colonial Cup Nov. 15. For more see nationalsteeplechase.com . . . The jockey and trainer races have tightened a bit with Willie McCarthy (14 wins) leading Ross Geraghty (12) and Paddy Young (nine) among the jocks; Jack Fisher (14) leads Cyril Murphy by two among the trainers, with Valentine third with nine wins . . . Leading Australian jump jockey Steven Pateman, who rode at Saratoga, is coming back over to the U.S. in October. 

 

Belmont Replays
Address Unknown wins the Entenmann.

Demonstrative wins the Loneseome Glory.

 

Tod Marks Photos from Belmont steeplechase day.