July 16, 2024

Moscato rallies to take Smithwick Memorial

Moscato earned his first Grade 1 win by taking the A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G1) at Saratoga (c) Coglianese Photo

Moscato ran down Optimus Prime in deep stretch to win Thursday’s $100,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial (G1) at Saratoga. Off as the slight 1.70-1 favorite in the 2 1/16-mile steeplechase event, Moscato notched his second straight victory after taking the first graded hurdle race of the year, the June 13 Temple Gwathmey (G3) at Middleburg.

Michael Mitchell was up on the 9-year-old gelding for trainer Jack Fisher. An English-bred son of Hernando, Moscato is campaigned by Bruton Street-US. The Smithwick marked his fifth stakes triumph, and the classy gray improved to 3-2-1-0 at Saratoga after posting a win and a second in a pair of novice stakes in 2017.

Moscato rated more than 10 lengths off the pace during the early stages and launched his move on the far turn, scoring by three-quarters of a length. Optimus Prime, the 1.95-1 second choice among eight contestants, got first run on the leaders in the stretch after being last early and easily held second. Optimus Prime was making the first start since last July and had his three-race win streak snapped.

Gibralfaro wound up another 2 1/2 lengths back in third. Redicean and Chief Justice came next under the wire. Pravalaguna, Surprising Soul, and Winner Massagot were eased.

The $100,000 New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase (G1) is the next major event over hurdles at Saratoga.