November 28, 2022

Scorpiancer, Moscato headline Iroquois Steeplechase

Scorpiancer won the Iroquois (G1) by 16 lengths in May 2017 (Harry Furlong photo)

After being pulled up in his first outing in nearly two years in last month’s Temple Gwathmey (G3), former Eclipse champion steeplechaser Scorpiancer looks to regain better form on familiar ground Saturday in the $150,000 Calvin Houghland Iroquois (G1).

The first and longest of the Grade 1 hurdles in the country, the Iroquois will be contested over three miles at Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennessee.

Now 10, Scorpiancer earned championship honors in 2017 after capturing both the Temple Gwathmey and Iroquois, the latter by 16 lengths. Sidelined the remainder of that season and all of 2018, the Jack Fisher trainee was racing prominently in the April 20 Temple Gwathmey before backing out over very soft ground.

The winner of the Temple Gwathmey by three lengths, Moscato, has won five of his past six starts. Also trained by Fisher, Moscato was the dominant novice steeplechaser of 2017 and captured the Temple Gwathmey following a 19-month spell.

Gibralfaro steps ups in class from restricted stakes company, most recently a 1 3/4-length triumph in the $100,000 Queens Cup in Charlotte. Another with more appearances in restricted stakes than not is Surprising Soul, winner of the 2018 National Hunt Cup (G3) but a tiring fourth in a handicap at Camden in his season debut March 30.

The German-bred Jaleo was a well-beaten fifth in the Grand National (G1) and third in the Temple Gwathmey in his two U.S. appearances so far. Former Grade 1 winner All the Way Jose was a leading championship contender in 2017 but has struggled since.

The Iroquois is the last of seven races at Percy Warner Park on Saturday. The estimated post time for the feature is 4:35 p.m. (CDT).