Multiple Grade 1 Winner Snap Decision ‘Fresh’ For Third Attempt In Lonesome Glory

Snap Decision, trained by Hall of Famer Jack Fisher for owner Bruton Street-US, will hope to make the third time the charm in Thursday’s Grade 1, $150,000 Lonesome Glory Handicap, a 2 1/2-mile steeplechase for older horses on Opening Day of the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

The 9-year-old Hard Spun gelding has finished second as the mutuel favorite in the last two runnings of the Lonesome Glory, landing two lengths back of The Mean Queen in 2021 when racing from a more than two-month layoff and nine lengths back of 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 boasts a formidable 20-12-7-0 record over the jumps led by Grade 1 wins in the three-mile Iroquois [2021-22] at Percy Warner and last year’s 2 3/8-mile Jonathan Sheppard at Saratoga Race Course in which he romped home by 13 1/4-lengths in a powerful performance.

Snap Decision [post 1, Graham Watters, 162 pounds] enjoyed a strong season in 2022 with his only off-the-board effort [6-2-2-1] coming in the Grade 1 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 Grade 2 Temple Gwathmey Hurdle Handicap in April at Glenwood Park at Middleburg ahead of a last-out second in his title defense in the Iroquois with Sean McDermott up in place of regular rider Graham Watters.

Fisher said Snap Decision had surgery to repair an entrapped epiglottis following the Iroquois and is arriving at Thursday’s test in good order.

“We didn’t have his normal rider that day – nothing against the rider – but he said he [Snap Decision] made a noise coming up the hill, but it was a good effort,” Fisher said. “He’s doing well. I don’t think we can have a better performance than he had at Saratoga last year, but if we have a repeat of that performance, I’d be happy.”

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 former McGaughey trainee Proven Innocent [post 5, Thomas Garner, 142 pounds] for Bruton Street-US and Riverdee Stable’s City Dreamer [post 6, Harrison Beswick, 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 graduated 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, besting 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, boasts a record of 28-5-6-5 over the jumps. He enters from a distant sixth in the Iroquois.

Restitution [post 7, Bernard Dalton, 140 pounds] sports a ledger of 14-3-2-2 over the jumps 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 August 2 at Saratoga.

Rounding out a talented group are a quartet from Archibald Kingsley, Jr. in L’Imperator [post 8, Stephen Mulqueen, 142 pounds], Merry Maker [post 4, Parker Hendriks, 142 pounds], Barbados [post 3, Gerard Galligan, 140 pounds] and Cibolian [post 2, Jamie Bargary, 140 pounds].

The 28-day Belmont at the Big A fall meet, which runs through Sunday, October 29, offers a total of 44 stakes worth $9.275 million in total purses and includes four Grade 1 events and six Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifiers.

The Lonesome Glory is slated as Race 1 on Thursday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of every day of Belmont at the Big A on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit

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