Far Hills Spotlight: Gladstone hosts 3-year-old rematch

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You can’t sweep the card unless you win the first race. Far Hills’ record-setting day with $900,000 in total purses gets started with the $50,000 Gladstone Stakes for 3-year-olds. There’s never much to go on, because well . . . they’re 3-year-olds. Eight of the nine (with the scratch of Lonely Weekend) exit the race at Shawan Downs Sept. 29. Roller Rolls On won that one, but this is for real money.

Knockholt: The $70,000 OBS 2-year-old purchase got the quick hook from trainer Jonathan Thomas’ barn to Jack Fisher’s. Won debut on turf at Tampa Bay Downs in February, then lost three in a row at Keeneland, Laurel and Saratoga. Quiet, educational fourth behind three of today’s rivals at Shawan. Go time.

Flushed: Really? His name is Flushed, but it’s not what you think. His dam is Warm Glow and breeder/trainer Jonathan Sheppard – and perhaps his wife Cathy – got creative. Warm Glow won three on the flat, never ran over jumps but her half-brother Italian Wedding sure did (he won a Grade 1). Winless in seven starts, six on the flat at Penn National and Presque Isle. Fifth at Shawan and will improve.

Leopold: Calumet Farm bred the Eye Of The Leopard gelding, whose career began on the flat with Eoin Harty. Won at Presque Isle last summer and finished seventh in Canada’s Grade 3 Grey Stakes. Seventh in jump debut at Shawan and must step forward.

Benevelontdictator: His half-sister Karlovy Vary won almost $500,000 and a Grade 1 on the flat, but he’s still looking for his first win after losing six flat starts with trainer Graham Motion. Was no factor at Shawan, but should be better for it.

Snowie Hill: The race’s only two-time winner (on the flat at Belterra Park) finished a game second at Shawan in her hurdle debut. Breeder/owner/trainer Hill Parker named the filly after his mother, which is a great tribute to a great horsewoman. Half-sister to Get Ready Set Goes, who won three jump races (one at Far Hills). Major player.

Roller Rolls On: Lemon Drop Kid gelding lost three on the flat for owner/breeder Lee Pokoik and trainer Gary Contessa, the team behind top 2-year-old filly Sippican Harbor. Shifted over to Doug Fout in the summer, Kentucky-bred delivered at Shawan and faces most of those rivals again this time. How much will the others improve?

Sim Card: Edition Farm homebred ran three times as a 2-year-old last year for Tom Bush and didn’t get close. Sixth at Shawan for Kate and Bernie Dalton, who have won a race with half-brother Zio Elio. Half-sister Runaway Posse won six races and $373,000. Longshot.

Caldbeck: Fourth over hurdles in heavy ground at Ireland’s Ballinrobe meet in September, which is interesting. Not sure what it means, especially off five losses on the flat. Was in the barn of Gordon Elliott and moves over to Ricky Hendriks in time for this. Nineteen-year-old phenom Jack Kennedy, 2-for-2 in America, comes in for the ride. Not much to go on, but would not be a shock.

Lonely Weekend: Scratched.

Hepcat: Third at Shawan for breeder/trainer Jimmy Day. West Virginia-bred son of Bluegrass Cat is a half-brother to Officer’s Oath, who won this in 2016. Contender, but so are others from same race.