By Tod Marks
Wednesday’s $75,000 Michael G. Walsh novice stakes at 2 ⅜ miles is an intriguing contest that pits up-and-coming hurdlers against proven competitors at this level.
Leading the list of contenders are Irv Naylor’s Scorpion’s Revenge and Holwood Stable’s Decisive Triumph. In his brief, five-race career Scorpion’s Revenge, trained by Cyril Murphy, has three victories. He became a stakes winner in his first try, in the Green Pastures novice hurdle at Iroquois in May, his most recent start. In that race, at the slightly shorter distance of 2 ¼ miles, Scorpion’s Revenge ran down Decisive Triumph for a 3 ¼-length victory.
Unlike lightly raced Scorpion’s Revenge, Decisive Triumph is a hard-knocking seasoned veteran, who has earned more than a quarter-million dollars on the flat and over jumps. While he’s still looking for his first stakes score, the nine-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, trained by Mark Beecher, has come oh-so-close, with three seconds and a third in novice company. Earlier this month he was second to Howyabud, beaten less than two lengths, in the Jonathan Kiser novice stakes at the Spa.
Leading NSA trainer Leslie Young, who captured both ends of Monday’s steeplechase double-header at Colonial Downs in Virginia, saddles Leipers Fork Steeplechasers’ Perfect Tapatino and Fast Vision, and Maranto Manor’s newcomer Lydford. Perfect Tapatino, an eight-time winner of $162,000, was in the hunt for the first mile and a half of the Kiser before tiring. He also hit the board in two allowance races at the Spa last year. British-bred five-year-old Lydford, who made his U.S. debut in the Kiser, wasn’t a factor. Fast Vision is coming off a career-best effort, a 7 ¼-length romp in a handicap for horses rated at 115 or less at Iroquois.
Keri Brion saddles a pair in the Walsh. Atlantic Friends Racing’s Theocrat exits a length-and-a-half victory in a 115 handicap at Colonial Downs on July 18. Upland Flats Racing’s Freddy Flintshire, a four-year-old son of Flintshire, is two for three this year, and turned heads at Saratoga earlier in the meet with a come-from-behind 4 ¾-length tally in a non-winners of two allowance. This is his first stakes try.
For full entries, click here: https://nationalsteeplechase.com/racing/
Post time for the Walsh is 1:05 p.m. NYRA races are broadcast live on Fox2 TV, with replays available on NYRA website, https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/replays. You can also live stream via the NSA website, www.nationalsteeplechase.com.