08/23/2012 1:11PM

Saratoga: Demonstrative takes New York Turf Writers Steeplechase as nasty spill mars stretch run

Barbara D. Livingston
Divine Fortune falls, tossing jockey Brian Crowley in the New York Turf Writers Steeplechase as Demonstrative (No. 3, on right) goes on to victory.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Demonstrative made a strong statement that he is a steeplechase horse with a bright future, winning Thursday’s Grade 1, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Steeplechase at Saratoga by one length over Charminster.

 It was the second straight win at this meet for Demonstrative, who on July 26 took the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes by two lengths.

Demonstrative, who at 5 was the youngest horse in the field of eight geldings, may have benefitted from a spill that involved the two favorites - Left Unsaid and Divine Fortune -  but he certainly responded with a strong late run after clearing the final hurdle.

“He’s finally filled out, matured, he’s getting more consistent in his running style,” winning trainer Richard Valentine said. “I had a couple of anxious moments where I thought he wasn’t going to get out. Once he gets daylight, he’s not going to pack it in, he’s going to try. He’s got tremendous heart, tremendous attitude and I’m very, very lucky to train him.”

After saving ground virtually the entire way under Robert Walsh, Demonstrative was taken off the inside for the final of 10 fences. Divine Fortune, the 2-1 second choice, came to mid-stretch about a head in front, but he stumbled over that jump, unseating jockey Brian Crowley. Left Unsaid, the 3-2 favorite, cleared the fence but stumbled over Divine Fortune, hurling Paddy Young to the turf.

Both horses and jockeys were reported to be uninjured.

After clearing the final fence, Demonstrative may have clipped one of the riders or horses and needed a stride or two to recover. Once he did, he kicked hard and overtook Charminster, who inherited the lead over the final fence.

“Not sure if it was Brian or his horse that caught my horse’s hind legs, it just kind of [knocked] him back a little bit, but he picked up well from there,” Walsh said.

Demonstrative covered the 2 3/8 miles in 4:33.89 and returned $13.60 to win.

“I’d say he’s a good 10 lengths better than he was last year and I still think there’s improvement with him,” said Valentine, who trains Demonstrative for Mrs. George Ohrstrom. “He’s a big horse, I think he’ll carry the weight in a handicap, and he’s an exciting young horse to have.”