Demonstrative, winner of the New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (NSA-I), will battle with several veteran runners and new arrivals to American steeplechase racing in the $250,000 Grand National (NSA-I), at Far Hills Races in New Jersey Oct. 20.
First post time is 1 p.m. EDT for the six-race program, which offers five stakes races and purses totaling $500,000.
Trained by Richard Valentine for owner Jacqueline Ohrstrom, Demonstrative will be making his first start since a one-length score in the New York Turf Writers at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 23. He was entered to run in Belmont Park's $150,000 Lonesome Glory Stakes (NSA-I) Sept. 27 but was scratched when regular jockey Robbie Walsh was hurt in the preceding race.
Veteran jockey Matt McCarron takes over the mount. The 5-year-old Elusive Quality gelding is the year's leading steeplechase earner with $136,500 in purses.
The first two finishers in the Lonesome Glory, Pierrot Lunaire and Spy in the Sky, respectively, also will face the starter in the 2 5/8-mile Grand National, the year's richest steeplechase race. Mary Ann Houghland's Pierrot Lunaire prevailed by a nose in the Lonesome Glory at odds of 48-1. Bernie Dalton will be in the saddle again for trainer Blythe Miller Davies. Pierrot Lunaire finished sixth in last year's Grand National.
Randleston Farm's Spy in the Sky ranks second by 2012 earnings with $108,250 in purses. He upset Saratoga's A. P. Smithwick Memorial (NSA-I) at 25-1 odds Aug. 2 before running a respectable third in the New York Turf Writers. Danielle Hodsdon will ride for trainer Jimmy Day.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor, who won last year's Grand National with Black Jack Blues, will have three representatives in this year's edition headed by Charminster. The recent import finished second in the New York Turf Writers and third in the Lonesome Glory. Ross Geraghty gets a return engagement for trainer Brianne Slater.
Also from Naylor’s stable are newcomers You're the Top, who won Norway's champion hurdle race Sept. 23, and Jack Cool, a quality hurdler in England and Ireland last year. Willie Dowling will be atop You're the Top, and Xavier Aizpuru has the call on Jack Cool.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard will have three entries in the Grand National, a race that he won with two Hall of Fame horses, Flatterer in 1983 and Cafe Prince in 1978. Timber Bay Stable's History Boy comes into the Grand National from a win in Saratoga's Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes and a fifth-place finish in the Lonesome Glory. Brian Crowley has the mount.
The other two Sheppard entrants, Divine Fortune and The Price of Love, are owned by Bill Pape. Divine Fortune, a multiple graded stakes winner, finished sixth in the Lonesome Glory, while The Price of Love placed in a Saratoga optional allowance hurdle. Darren Nagle was named on both.
Trainer Tom Voss entered Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Slip Away, who finished second in the 2010 Grand National and was voted that year's Eclipse Award as champion steeplechase horse. He has raced lightly since his championship season and tuned up for his first official start of the year with a win in a training flat race Sept. 29. Champion jockey Paddy Young will ride.
Completing the field is Royal Bonsai, another newcomer to American jump racing. Owned by Riverdee Stable and trained by Valentine, the 4-year-old won a $15,000 handicap hurdle race in England before his arrival in the U.S. He will be ridden by top English jump jockey Dougie Costello.