OZONE PARK, N.Y.--Bruton Street-US, owner of Snap Decision, trained by Hall of Famer Jack Fisher, hopes the third time will be the charm in the G1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap on Thursday, Sept. 14, a 2 1/2-mile steeplechase on Opening Day of the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
There are eight horses entered, but only three trainers, Fisher, who has three, Arch Kingsley who has four, and Keri Brion with one.
Snap is giving 20 pounds to four of the other horses and 22 pounds to the other three,
The 9-year-old Hard Spun gelding has finished second as the favorite in the last two runnings of the Lonesome Glory, beaten 2 lengths by The Mean Queen in 2021 after a more than two-month layoff, and 9 lengths behind Noah And The Ark last year in his fifth start of a six-race campaign.
“I was disappointed with last year's effort, but the year before that, that was fine,” Fisher said. “Last year, I think it told us we were over the top there. So, I think coming in with a fresh horse we should be good.”
The popular bay has a formidable steeplechase record of 20 starts with 12 wins and 7 seconds that includes G1 wins in the three-mile Iroquois, in 2021and 2022 and last year’s 2 3/8-mile Jonathan Sheppard at Saratoga that he won by 13 1/4-lengths in a powerful performance.
SNAP DECISION, to be ridden by Graham Watters, at 162 pounds, enjoyed a strong season in 2022 with the only time he didn't finish in the top three coming in the G1 Grand National over yielding going in October at Far Hills – a race won by the Irish-bred Hewick, who would be named Champion Steeplechaser.
Fisher said he believes Snap Decision should have earned year-end honors.
“He won two Grade 1s last year and the horse they gave it to won one,” Fisher said. “This year at Far Hills, I hope it won't be as soft as it was last year. The winners all day, including the one I had, Cool Jet, was an Irish horse, so I think it tells you a lot about the ground. I knew I was in trouble going to the first fence.”
Snap Decision won his seasonal debut in the 2 1/2-mile G2 Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Handicap in April at Middleburg and then was second to European invader Scaramanga in his title defense in the Iroquois with Sean McDermott up in place of regular rider Graham Watters.
After Iroquois, Fisher gave Snap some time off.
But it wasn’t purely for rest, relaxation, and to avoid giving away large amounts of weight to his foes.
Fisher told the NYRA press office that Snap Decision “made a noise” coming up the hill late in the 3-mile Iroquois, according to McDermott, and had surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis following the race.
Fisher said Snap is arriving at Thursday’s test in good shape.
Bred by Phipps Stable, Snap Decision, by Hard Spun and out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Unbridled mare Salute, made 18 starts over the flat for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
Fisher will also send out Proven Innocent, ridden by Thomas Garner at 142 pounds, for Bruton Street-US and Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer, ridden by Harrison Beswick with 142 pounds].
Proven Innocent, a 5-year-old Blame gelding out of the multiple stakes-placed A. P. Indy mare Meghan’s Joy, is a half-brother to multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Ironicus.
The grey won a maiden race in his final start on the flat in September 2021 and has since won three times over jumps, including a score in last year’s William Entenmann Novice at Belmont at the Big A, beating the 2021 Champion Steeplechaser The Mean Queen.
Proven Innocent was a distant fourth in his seasonal debut in the Queen’s Cup on April 29 at Charlotte and was pulled up last out on short rest in the Green Pastures on May 13 at Percy Warner.
“We ran at Charlotte and he had heat stroke and then we ran him back too quickly, so I blame it all on that,” Fisher said. “Now, we have a fresh horse. I don't think he'll like facing Snap Decision, but if he can finish second I'd be delighted with him.”
The Irish-bred City Dreamer, a 9-year-old Casamento gelding, has a record of 28 starts with 5 wins, 6 seconds and 5 thirds over fences and enters from a distant sixth in the Iroquois.
Restitution, ridden by Bernard Dalton, 140 pounds, has a record of 14 starts with 3 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds over fences and adds blinkers while in search of his first win since December at Doncaster for his former conditioner Alan King.
Now trained by Keri Brion, who won this event in 2021 with The Mean Queen, the 5-year-old Frankel gelding was a non-factor last out in his stateside debut when pulled up in the Jonathan Kiser Novice at odds of 8-1 on Aug. 2 at Saratoga.
Rounding out a talented group are four from Archibald Kingsley, Jr. in L’Imperator, ridden by Stephen Mulqueen, 142 pounds, Merry Maker, ridden by Parker Hendriks, 142 pounds, Barbados, ridden by Gerard Galligan, 140 pounds and Cibolian, ridden by Jamie Bargary, 140 pound].
The Lonesome Glory is Race 1 on Thursday’s 10-race card with a post time of 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
The race can be seen on FOX Sports and the National Steeplechase website.