August 12, 2022

Show Court vies for repeat in competitive A.P. Smithwick

Third time was the charm in Grade 1 company for Show Court (Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)

Active since posting a 14-1 upset of the $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G1) last summer, Show Court will have to rediscover his best form in his attempt to repeat in Thursday’s renewal of the about 2 1/16-miles hurdle at Saratoga.

Show Court has started nine times since his one-length victory a year ago, with his only success coming in flat allowance at Pine Mountain. He’s failed to place or finish in the other eight outings.

“He’s been a long time looking to get respect from the bettors,” said trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. of the 10-year-old. “He won the (Jonathan) Kiser (Novice) the year before at a good price.

“For Show Court, we haven’t had quite the right set up for him so far this year, but he likes Saratoga and is doing well. Hopefully, it’s a moment where everything comes together for us.”

Modem is arguably overdue for Grade 1 success in North America. The nine-year-old placed in the Smithwick, New York Turf Writers Cup (G1), Lonesome Glory (G1), Grand National (G1), and Iroquois (G1) in his first five starts on these shores in 2017-18, but was only sixth to Show Court in last year’s Smithwick. His only outing in the interim was a last-place finish in a flat allowance prep at Parx earlier this month.

All the Way Jose has the back class to make an impact, but the Grade 1 veteran finished a distant fourth in both the Temple Gwathmey (G3) and Iroquois to start this season’s campaign. Also not faring well in the Iroquois was Gibralfaro, who could contend with a return to his best novice form from last year.

Hinterland finished second in the Lonesome Glory last September and was a solid second to No Wunder at Fair Hill last out. European invaders Peppay Le Pugh and Vosne Romanee can probably contend in their first U.S. outing, while Winston C looms a threat after a close third in the $100,000 Marcellus Frost Champion Hurdle at Percy Warner Park in his U.S. debut.

The Smithwick lifts the lid on Thursday’s Saratoga program with a scheduled post time of 12:45 p.m. (EDT).