NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Demonstrative took the lead at the last hurdle and beat Mr. Hot Stuff by a neck Saturday in the $150,000 Iroqouis Steeplechase at Percy Warner Park.
Demonstrative, also the 2013 winner, beat four rivals, including two previous champions, in the three-mile race over 18 hurdles in the first of the National Steeplechase Association's six Grade 1 stakes.
With Irish rider Jack Doyle substituting for the injured Robbie Walsh, Demonstrative sat behind Divine Fortune for 2-3/4 miles before making a move toward the leaders.
Rounding the final turn, Doyle moved inside of Divine Fortune and jumped the final hurdle on even terms with the fast-closing Mr. Hot Stuff and Divine Fortune.
Demonstrative finished in 5 minutes, 47 2-5 seconds on the firm turf.
Divine Fortune faded to fourth.
Doyle, one of the leading riders in Ireland and Britain, inherited the ride on Demonstrative when Walsh went down aboard Bonded in the Marcellus Frost Novice Stake. After being examined and treated for a broken collar bone, Walsh coached Doyle on how to ride the 2013 Eclipse Award winner.
''He gave me everything I needed to know,'' Doyle said. ''I just let the horse to the rest. If Robbie isn't able to ride (Demonstrative) in his next race, I'll be happy to be there.''
The win for the 8-year-old Demonstrative was his 12th from 29 starts over the jumps. The winner's check for $90,000 raised his earnings running in hurdle races to $854,000.
Trainer Richard Valentine said Demonstrative ''will get a rest for a couple of weeks Then we'll start getting ready for Saratoga.''
That training schedule would get Demonstrative a start in the $100,000, Grade 1 A. P. Smithwick Memorial in late July.