Ninepins Upsets Campanile in Turf Writers Cup

Ninepins Upsets Campanile in Turf Writers Cup
Photo: Associated Press / New York Racing Association / Adam Coglianese
Ninepins (left) clears the final hurdle en route to a 3 1/2-length victory over Camapnile (right) in the New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (NSA-IT) Thursday at Saratoga.
Hudson River Farms' Ninepins sprinted away from Camapanile after clearing the final hurdle en route to a 3 1/2-length victory in the $109,200 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap (NSA-IT) Thursday at Saratoga. Over soft turf, Ninepins completed the 2 3/8 miles in 4:21.07. Odds-on favorite Campanile finished second, 4 1/4 lengths clear of Allgrit, a stablemate of the winner. Approaching Squall, Golden Rule, Aggro Crag, Soaringoverseattle, and Romantic completed the order of finish.

Ninepins was ridden by Archibald Kingsley Jr. and is trained by Jonathan Sheppard. Ninepins is the 10th Sheppard trainee to win the New York Turf Writers Cup. The 13-year-old gelding was bred in Great Britain by Newtonbarry House Stud. Ninepins (Niniski--Martinova, by Martinmas) earned $65,520 for the win, his 11th from 43 races over hurdles and 14th overall win from 53 career races.

"This horse will run over broken glass," said Kingsley. "I didn't think the turf had that much give in it. I got the start I wanted and he fenced superbly."

Ninepins upset of Campanile prevented the latter from becoming the first horse to sweep Saratoga's premiere steeplechase races, the A.P. Smithwick Memorial Handicap (NSA-IIT) and the New York Turf Writers Cup. Earlier this month, Campanile won the Smithwick by 2 3/4 lengths over Golden Rule. Ninepins finished fifth in the Smithwick, beaten by 14 1/4 lengths.

"He was spotting a lot of weight (10 pounds) to Ninepins and still ran a huge race," said Blythe Miller, Campanile's jockey. "He's a tough horse and never gave up."

The entry of Ninepins and Allgrit was sent of as the third choice among bettors and returned $10, $3.80, and $4.60. The winning exacta combination was worth $25.60. (Chart, Equibase)

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