From the Spa: July 27 Midlantic-breds in Saratoga stakes
by Joseph Aiello
“From the Spa” returns to keep you up-to-date on horses bred in the mid-Atlantic racing in Saratoga stakes.
Thursday, July 27th Saratoga’s first race is the Grade I A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase Stakes. A two and one sixteenth mile hurdle race on the turf, the A.P. Smithwick has been run at Saratoga since 1995, but only recently in 2012 did it become a Grade I stakes with a purse of over $100,000.
Another big piece of the race’s history is the relative dominance of trainer Jonathan E. Sheppard, who has won six of the past 19 runnings. Sheppard also happens to be the trainer and breeder of the Mid-Atlantic entry in this race, Pennsylvania-bred All the Way Jose. All the Way Jose is a seven year-old gelding owned by Buttonwood Farm who is by Senor Swinger – Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. He has raced at Saratoga three times in his career, winning once, placing another time, and failing to finish in his most recent attempt two years ago.
While steeplechases can commonly have multiple DNF, these “survival of the fittest” races can come down to which jockey can cleanly guide them over the fences. All the Way Jose retains jockey Keri Brion from his last victory at Fair Hill two months ago. All the Way Jose is 10-1 on the morning line.