Making almost all of the running under top weight of 164 pounds, Snap Decision proved the easiest of winners on Wednesday in Saratoga’s premier jump event, the $150,000 Jonathan Sheppard H. (G1).
The odds-on favorite in a field of seven, Snap Decision cleared the final hurdle on the backside with a 3 1/2-length advantage and extended it to 13 1/4 lengths at the finish. Under Graham Watters, Snap Decision covered 2 3/8 miles on firm ground in 4:32.88 and paid $3.10.
Going Country, who was getting 24 pounds from Snap Decision, finished second by 3 1/2 lengths over Redicean, who claimed third by a neck over Belfast Banter. Completing the order of finish was Song for Someone, Down Royal, and Chief Justice.
“One of the owners of Snap Decision wanted to go in the John’s Call,” said trainer Jack Fisher, referring to the 1 5/8-mile restricted stakes on the flat at Saratoga scheduled for Aug. 24. “That would have been cool, until I saw who was nominated. This would have been easier, with 164 (pounds), than that would have been.”
Snap Decision is owned by Testing Again: Bruton Street-US, for whom Snap Decision has developed into one of the division’s stalwarts in recent seasons. The Sheppard was Snap Decision’s ninth stakes win over hurdles, his other top-level scores having come in the 2021 and 2022 renewals of the Iroquois (G1) in Nashville.
Snap Decision won the Temple Gwathmey (G2) and Iroquois last season, but was second best to eventual champion The Mean Queen in both the Lonesome Glory (G1) and Grand National (G1).
“He may go to Aqueduct (for the Lonesome Glory), he’ll definitely go to Far Hills (for the Grand National),” Fisher said of Snap Decision’s immediate plans.
The pro tem leader for champion steeplechaser honors in 2022, Snap Decision kicked off this term with a second-place finish to Iranistan in his title defense of the Temple Gwathmey in April. He turned the tables on that rival and five others in the Iroquois in May, and prepped for the Sheppard three weeks ago when a solid-third on the flat, in the 1 1/2-mile Colonial Cup at Colonial Downs.
Snap Decision is an eight-year-old gelding bred in Kentucky by Phipps Stable. Produced by the Unbridled mare Salute, he’s a Hard Spun half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mr Speaker and Grade 3 scorers Fire Away and Vigilantes Way. His second dam was undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.