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Makari Seeks Saratoga Steeplechase Double

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Merriebelle Stable's Makari, who won the A. P. Smithwick Memorial on July 31 in his first North American start, is the 2-1 favorite to win Thursday's Grade 1, $150,000 New York Turf Writers Cup and score a back-to-back Saratoga Race Course double that has not been achieved in 15 years.


The New York Turf Writers will be run this year in memory of trainer Tom Voss, who died in January. Carrying on his stable is his daughter, Elizabeth Voss Murray, who collected her first graded stakes victory with Makari in the Smithwick, who was ridden by Jack Doyle.


Post time for the 2 3/8-mile New York Turf Writers is 12:25 p.m., and TVG will provide live coverage.


Campanile was the last horse to achieve the Smithwick-New York Turf Writers double, in 1999. Others to win both races in the same year are Yaw (1991), Warm Spell (1993), and Racing Hall of Fame member Lonesome Glory (1995).


Standing in Makari's way is an accomplished field headed by Jacqueline Ohrstrom's Demonstrative, 3-1, the 2012 Turf Writers Cup winner who finished a nose behind Makari in the Smithwick. Also returning from the $100,000 Smithwick Memorial is Virginia Lazenby's and Farm d'Allie Racing Stables' Pleasant Woodman, 15-1, who set the pace to the final fence and held on for third, 7 1/4 lengths behind the top two.


Jack Fisher, the sport's top trainer by wins and earnings in 2014, will saddle the duo of All Together, 8-1, second in last year's Turf Writers and fourth in the Smithwick, and Staying On, 12-1, who was fifth in the Smithwick.


Italian Wedding and Barnstorming, both owned and trained by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, will seek to better their performances after finishing sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Smithwick. The entry of Italian Wedding, winner of last year's New York Turf Writers, and Barnstorming is 5-1 on the morning line.


Leading owner Irv Naylor and principal trainer Cyril Murphy will be represented by the Irish-bred entry of For Non Stop, who finished third in the Grade 1, $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois, and Charminster, second in a Saratoga optional allowance on July 30, listed at 7-2 on the morning line.


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