With William Dowling aboard, the 6-year-old Concern gelding advanced three wide on the final turn of the 2 1/2-mile test over national fences, taking the lead from Preemptive Strike in the stretch. They held Orison safe to the wire after a little clumsiness on the 10th jump.
Harold A. Via Jr.’s Good Night Shirt had not raced since his May 12 victory in the Iroquois (NSA-I) and was making only his third start of the year. Good Night Shirt also stumbled over the first fence for Dowling. The chestnut was able to keep his balance as he crossed the finish line in 4:42.45.
“I didn’t expect him to run this well today,” said trainer Jack Fisher, who was using this race as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I) at Far Hills, N.J. on Oct. 20. “I thought he would run well in the Breeders’ Cup, that’s more his course. I thought he was probably placed were he should have been in the race. He kind of dove at the last fence. He didn’t jump that one particularly well. I was glad that Willy stayed on.”
Dowling took responsibility for the last jump that nearly caused him to come off.
“The first jump he jumped too soon because he was running off," Dowling said. "That last one was my fault. I wanted to go short to make sure I got over it and we had a bit of miscommunication. It was 50-50 whether I was going to stay on or not. Luckily, he’s such a big horse, I was able to stay on.”
The Lonesome Glory win was worth $101,040 to the winner.
Good Night Shirt, who carried 154 pounds, returned $7.80, $4.50 and $3.30 as the second choice in the field of nine. Orison, three lengths clear in second under Matthew McCarron, paid $5.90 and $4.10. Preemptive Strike, ridden by Paddy Young, was $4.90 to show.
Sweet Shani, Mixed Up, Underbidder, Best Attack and Mon Villez followed. The Looper lost his rider after the next-to-last fence.
Mixed Up, the 2-1 favorite under 158 pounds, failed to respond when roused in the stretch.
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