Favored in his first two outings in North America, the A.P. Smithwick Memorial and the New York Turf Writers Cup, Modem wound up settling for second in both of Saratoga’s two Grade 1 hurdles. The Elizabeth Voss-trained seven-year-old will try again for a top-level breakthrough in Thursday’s $150,000 Lonesome Glory (G1), contested over 2 1/2 miles at Belmont Park.
Two lengths behind 28-1 longshot Swansea Mile in the Smithwick, Modem was well ahead of that rival in the Turf Writers Cup. However, Diplomat, who was nearly 15 lengths adrift of Modem in the Smithwick, captured the Spa’s signature jump event by three lengths. Modem conceded the winners 14 and 18 pounds, respectively.
With Diplomat and early-season division leader Scorpiancer absent, both Modem and Diplomat can enhance their championship credentials. Among those looking to halt the pair in their tracks in Hinterland. Out of action nearly 20 months after finishing a close second to Bob Le Beau in the 2015 edition of the Lonesome Glory, the French-bred nine-year-old returned to action May 13 Iroquois (G1) at Percy Warner Park. Although 16 lengths second to Scorpiancer, Hinterland was another 40 lengths clear of his next rival.
All the Way Jose has shown improvement since adding blinkers in the spring, most recently finishing third in the Turf Writers Cup. Charminster has finished third and fourth in the past two renewals of the Lonesome Glory, while recent European import Casino Markets could improve off a dull Turf Writers Cup try while adding Lasix on Thursday.