Saratoga Steeplechase: Smithwick First Jump Race of the Meet

By | July 18, 2022

Saratoga is unique for so many reasons. Undoubtedly the inclusion of jump racing is a top the list. Wednesday will feature a grade 1 steeplechase race.

Steeplechase

Steeplechase racing has a deep history in the equine sports world. It is widely believed that the first race of its kind was run back in the mid 1700s. The discipline started in the European country sides where horses would have to avoid fences and ditches to complete the race.

From Church to Church

Given the roots of the sport it is not surprising to know that churches played a role in the name of the discipline. In the European country side it can be a challenge to mark a long grass course, especially one laden with obstacles. The solution was to mark the course by the various church steeples which sprung up in otherwise remote locations. The horses were literally chasing steeples and the steeplechase was born.

High Jumping Horses

3 horses jump the fence at Saratoga
Saratoga Steeplechase Runners | Photo Credit: Chelsea Durand (NYRA)

When Kentucky Derby season rolls around each year handicappers ask the question who can get the mile and 1/8th distance because so few are bred to go that far. In steeplechase that would be a sprint race.

The steeplechase races run at Saratoga will be run at distances over 2 miles. Making things more challenging will be the brush hurdles that the horses have to clear throughout the race. The forgiving top portion of the hurdle allow horses to brush through without altering course in air.

The races are truly a test of stamina more than of true speed.

Wednesday Full Card Analysis

Saratoga- Race 1- Steeplechase

Post: 1:05 PM ET; $150k A. P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase Stakes going 2 1/16 miles on hurdle; Entries: 7

  • Steeplechase analysis not provided.

Selections: 7 – 6 – 2 – 1

Saratoga- Race 2

Post: 1:39 PM ET; $45k Claiming going 7 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 7

  • #4 MARIAH’S FORTUNE (6-5) gets the top selection. She shouldn’t have trouble with the 7 furlong distance. This one has the top overall power rating in the group.
  • #1 EVOKING (8-5) appears to be a major player in this race. She has been really solid in recent starts and should be ready to run a big one here.
  • #7 INFRINGEMENT (15-1) could be in with a shot in this race. She looks to be the class of the field. The price is right on this runner.
  • #3 HOLIDAY JAZZ (5-1) feels like a fringe contender in this spot. She could get the right setup in this race and classes up well at a price here.

Selections: 4 – 1 – 7 – 3

Saratoga- Race 3

Post: 2:13 PM ET; $50k Maiden Claiming going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf; Entries: 13

  • #7 IZEAMALIBUMOON (7-5) gets the top selection. She makes sense on speed figures. This one could get the right setup in this race.
  • #8 GRACEFULLY WILD (6-1) appears to be a major player in this race. She seems to fit well enough here. This one should enjoy the trip.
  • #2B LAUGHTER (20-1) isn’t without hope. She makes sense on speed figures.
  • #9 RENT CONTROL (8-1) is probably best to put underneath on most tickets. She seems to fit well enough here and speed figures that fit alright.

Selections: 7 – 8 – 2B- 9

Saratoga- Race 4

Post: 2:49 PM ET; $100k Allowance Optional Claiming going 1 mile on turf; Entries: 7

  • #1 OUT OF SIGHT (2-1) gets the top selection. She has races good enough to beat this group. This one may get the absolute dream flow of the race in this spot.
  • #6 INSTINCTIVE (5-2) appears to be a major player in this race. She has the perfect run style for this type of race and may just get the right trip here. This one has proven to be able to handle these conditions in previous starts.
  • #4 HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (4-1) should be competitive in this spot. She should be in the right spot to be in with a chance late.
  • #2 SWEET FRANNY LU (6-1) could be in with a shot in this race. She seems to fit well enough here.

Selections: 1 – 6 – 4 – 2

Saratoga- Race 5

Post: 3:21 PM ET; $83k Maiden Special Weight going 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 9

  • #3 NUMERO SEIS (4-1) gets the top selection. She goes out for the Sharp barn and gets Saez in the irons.
  • #2 U GLOW GIRL (5-2) should be competitive in this spot. She has to be respected going out for the combination of Cox and Prat.
  • #4 WHATCHAMACALL (5-1) isn’t without hope. She makes sense on speed figures. This one could get the right setup in this race.
  • #5 LEAVE NO TRACE (4-1) seems like she is running for the minor placings. She gets Ortiz up but is trained by the Serpe barn which has yet to make too much noise at the meet.

Selections: 3 – 2 – 4 – 5

Saratoga- Race 6

Post: 3:55 PM ET; $72k Claiming going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 7

  • #2 COPPER TOWN (3-1) gets the top selection. He makes sense on speed figures. This one has to be respected going out for the combination of Kantarmaci and Ortiz.
  • #5 ARISTOCRATIC (3-1) appears to be a major player in this race. He has races good enough to beat this group.
  • #6 HAPPY FARM (2-1) appears to be a major player in this race. He seems to fit well enough here. This is the kind of hard knocking horse you can always root for.
  • #1 PRINCE JAMES (10-1) should be competitive in this spot. He has races that make 10-1 a great price. The question will be can he find one of those here.

Selections: 2 – 5 – 6 – 1

Saratoga- Race 7

Post: 4:29 PM ET; $105k Maiden Special Weight going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf; Entries: 10

  • #2 CROWDING OUT (3-1) gets the top selection. She comes into the race in really good form. This one makes sense on speed figures.
  • #3 HEY THERE (5-2) should be competitive in this spot. She shouldn’t have trouble with the 5 1/2 furlong distance. This one may get the absolute dream flow of the race in this spot.
  • #6 MRS. GREEN (9-2) isn’t without hope. The speed figures fit with this group. This one should be in the right spot to be in with a chance late.
  • #9 LIBRETTO (8-1) is probably best to put underneath on most tickets. She has been up against some really strong runners in recent races.

Selections: 2 – 3 – 6 – 9

Saratoga- Race 8

Post: 5:05 PM ET; $120k Allowance Optional Claiming going 6 furlongs on dirt; Entries: 10

  • #4 SECRET LOVE (10-1) gets the top selection. She has some sneaky good class numbers and could really relish running against this group.
  • #9 MISCHIEVOUS DIANE (4-1) appears to be a major player in this race. She makes sense on speed figures.
  • #6 BETSY BLUE (6-1) appears to be a major player in this race. She should be in the right spot to be in with a chance late. This one has kept good company of late.
  • #8 MOVIE MOXY (8-1) should be competitive in this spot. She shouldn’t have trouble with the 6 furlong distance.

Selections: 4 – 9 – 6 – 8

Saratoga- Race 9

Post: 5:39 PM ET; $125k Suzie O’Cain Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf; Entries: 9

  • #5 SHE’S A MIA (7-5) gets the top selection. She could get the right setup in this race. This one makes a ton of sense on speed figures.
  • #2 DUFRESNE (8-1) could be in with a shot in this race. She seems to fit well enough here.
  • #3 LISA’S VISION (5-2) isn’t without hope. She could get the right setup in this race.
  • #4 CLASSIC LYNNE (4-1) isn’t without hope. The figures a bit light but there is room to improve early in the career.

Selections: 5 – 2 – 3 – 4

Saratoga- Race 10

Post: 6:13 PM ET; $52k Maiden Claiming going 5 1/2 furlongs on turf; Entries: 10

  • #2 RUM ‘N TONIC (5-1) gets the top selection. He has been really solid in recent starts and should be ready to run a big one here. This one shouldn’t have trouble with the 5 1/2 furlong distance.
  • #8 NAKED AND FAMOUS (8-1) feels like a fringe contender in this spot. He comes into the race in really good form. This one has proven to be able to handle these conditions in previous starts.
  • #4 RUGGED UNION (6-1) has a speed figure to suggest this one can run with these. The question will be what the ceiling is compared to some of the foes.
  • #7 BIG WOO (15-1) isn’t without hope. He goes out for the Catalano barn and gets Ortiz in the irons.

Selections: 2 – 8 – 4 – 7

Daily Saratoga Coverage

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