Eldon Farm's Hirapour, a 9-year-old Irish-bred gelding, drew off from Three Carat for a 3 ¾-length victory in the $159,200 New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase Handicap (NSA-I) at 2 3/8 miles over national fences at Saratoga Race Course Friday.
Led by A. P. Smithwick winner Paradise's Boss, nine jumpers are entered for Wednesday's $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase at Saratoga. The race has grade I designation from the National Steeplechase Association.
Eldon Farms' Hirapour, the 2004 Eclipse Award champion steeplechase horse, will have jockey Chip Miller aboard for the first time when he goes up against a veteran field of seven rivals in Monday's $75,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial (NSA-II) at Saratoga.
Four grade I winners, including 2003 steeplechase champion McDynamo, headline the $50,000 Zeke Ferguson Memorial Hurdle Stakes (NSA-II) at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., Sunday.
Kinross Farm's Sur La Tete, the leading steeplechase earner of 2004, won his first open grade I stakes with a stirring stretch run in the $150,000 Iroquois (NSA-I) Saturday at Percy Warner Park.
The $75,000 Georgia Cup (NSA-II) promises to be an uphill battle Saturday. The two-mile stakes is one of the shorter events on the National Steeplechase Association schedule, but the stretch is a rising slope that will provide a steeper test than the distance itself. Preemptive Strike, fifth on the 2004 money list, is ready to rise to the challenge.
Steeplechasers will be part of the Triple Crown show at Belmont Park this week, as a solid field of 11 was entered for Thursday's $100,000 Meadow Brook Stakes (National Steeplechase Association grade I) over National Fences.
Saratoga Notebook: Medaglia d'Oro Works; Mike's Wildcat Update; Zito Pair to Jim Dandy; Wild Steeplechase
Preparing for the Jim Dandy on Aug. 4, Belmont stakes runner-up Medaglia d'Oro worked six furlongs in 1:13.85 handily Thursday morning over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.
Frank Stronach's Perfect Sting, the champion turf female of 2000, will run against top male grass horses Saturday when she contests the Manhattan Handicap (gr. I) on the Belmont Stakes card at Belmont Park.
Michael Dickinson-trained Cetewayo earned his first victory since the 1999 Riggs Handicap, winning the $150,000 Red Smith Handicap over an Aqueduct turf course labeled good.
Charge d'Affaires, coming off a nine-month layoff, won the $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct for the second straight year on Saturday.
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