Demonstrative, a gelded son of Elusive Quality, rallied late and held off fast-closing Parker's Project for a one-length triumph in the Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park Sept. 18. The race named after one of the all-time North American steeplechase greats, has a grade I designation from the National Steeplechase Association (WATCH VIDEO).
The 7-year-old who was winning his second straight steeplechase in New York this year raced in third, behind reigning steeplechase champion Divine Fortune and Barnstorming, before moving into second while racing on the backstretch for the second and final time in the 2 1/2-mile race. He passed Divine Fortune entering the far turn before being overtaken by Spy in the Sky, who led coming into the stretch.
At the 11th fence in the 12-fence marathon, Demonstrative shot past Spy in the Sky and continued to the finish over Parker's Project, the 18-1 longest shot in the eight-horse field.
As the 17-10 second choice, Demonstrative returned $5.40, $5.00, and $6.50. Parker's Project was worth $26.20 and $29.80, with another longshot, Spy in the Sky, also closing well for third at $16.60.
Divine Fortune, who had led until after the 11th fence when the 11-year-old son of Royal Anthem faced pressure, jumped too early at fence 12 and fell. He was subsequently walked off the course. Divine Fortune, Barnstorming, and Bluegrass Summer comprised a three-horse entry favored at even money.
Bred in Kentucky by Gainsborough Farm, Demonstrataive has won 11 of 37 starts and has total earnings of $675,074. In 26 jump starts, Demonstrative has a record of 9-5-3 and earnings of $659,800.
Trainer Richard Valentine credits a surgical procedure for correcting a breathing problem at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine with having helped Demonstrative, who took the New York Turf Writers Cup at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 25. Previous to that victory, he was second by a nose in the A. P. Smithwick Memorial , also an NSA-I race, and was sixth in the Iroquois (NSA-I).
"We discovered he had been entrapping his epiglottis," Valentine said. "We did the tie-back operation at Cornell. Everybody who has scoped the horse has been really impressed with the job they did. I didn't have him fit for the Iroquois, and that was my fault. He's a good horse, a class horse. He just does everything. Now he's staying a little bit closer in his races. His running style needed to change a little bit."
Valentine said the winner is under consideration for the Oct. 18 Grand National (NSA-I) at Far Hills, but it depends upon the course conditions.
"If the ground were to come up firm at Far Hills we would probably go, but if it were soft we'd stay home. He wants firm turf."
"He's a big, strong horse, who can carry a lot of weight," Walsh said of Demonstrative, who carried high weight of 158 pounds. "He was up close today, which, as it turned out, is where you wanted to be. I was confident he would win turning for home."