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It’s good to be King-sley

Camden trainer follows Smithwick score by taking $65,000 allowance chase

Posted: August 2, 2018 9:59 a.m.
Updated: August 3, 2018 1:00 a.m.
Chelsea Durant/NYRA photo

SHOW COURT AND JOCKEY Michael Mitchell thunder to the wire in winning Monday’s $175,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Chase at Saratoga.

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A flawless week at Saratoga Race Course continued Wednesday for Camden trainer Arch Kingsley Jr. and jockey Michael Mitchell when Carrington Holdings’ Boss Man bossed around the field in a $65,000 allowance hurdle.

Two days earlier, the trainer-jockey combination had scored a victory with Mark W. Buyck’s Show Court in the $175,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial Handicap (Gr. 1).

Show Court, sent to the starter at long odds in Monday’s $175,000 A. P. Smithwick Memorial Handicap (Gr. 1), moved up impressively on Saratoga Race Course’s final turn, took command early in the stretch, and fended off favored Iranistan to win by a length.

Hudson River Stables’ Iranistan, never headed in his three prior starts, jumped well and ran on in the stretch under vigorous urging from jockey Darren Nagle, but the 11-to-10 favorite had no answer for Show Court, winner of the 2017 Carolina Cup. 

Woodslane Farm’s Overwhelming, 10.60-to-1, closed from last to take third place, six lengths behind Iranistan, and pacesetter Personal Start finished fourth, another 12 3/4 lengths back, in a field of seven. All the Way Jose finished fifth, Modem was sixth, and overseas invader Oskar Denarius was eased to the finish line after tiring from his early exertions.

Michael Mitchell, winner of last year’s A. P. Smithwick aboard longshot Swansea Mile, again spotlighted his talents in the 2 1/16-mile race over National Fences. A day before last year’s A. P. Smithwick, he had won the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes aboard Show Court.

“He’s a nice horse and he was doing really well. I couldn’t have been happier with my horse,” said Kingsley who, in 1998 won the A.P. Smithwick aboard the Jonathan Sheppard-trained Romantic. “Everything just felt right. I can’t explain it more than that. There are no variables I can measure it, it’s just a feeling.”

Show Court scored his first victory in top company after sixth-place finishes in Grade 1 races, Saratoga’s New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap last August and the $150,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in late March. He ran the A. P. Smithwick distance in 3:49 flat on turf rated as good and paid $30.20 to win.

Magalen O. Bryant’s Personal Start, who had won the David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 2) and the $75,000 Carolina Cup (Gr. 2) in March, after shadowing the early speed, went to the front immediately under Barry Foley. Right behind him were Iranistan and Oskar Denarius, who was making his first U.S. start after success in lower-level handicap hurdles in England for trainer Ben Pauling.

Mitchell, an English-born jockey who had a successful stint in New Zealand, kept Show Court in fourth position while Buttonwood Farm’s All the Way Jose was farther off the pace than usual, and 156-pound highweight Modem followed in sixth, with Overwhelming at the back.

“I thought it was going quite quickly in front, so I waited for them to come down in the backstretch and kind of wait for that one burst of speed he has. I’m very pleased with the run. I’m very happy with the horse.

“Being one of the only horses who has gone around this track (previously),” said Mitchell, who was in the irons for Show Court’s Carolina Cup victory in 2017, “I thought he was paying a good price. I was pleased with my prospects going into the race. With his speed around the turns and speed over the jump, he was full of run the whole away, so it was very reassuring as a jockey to have that horse under you coming two furlongs out. He has speed, but it’s only a finite type of speed, so you have to use it wisely.”

After the next-to-last fence on the final backstretch run, Oskar Denarius made a very brief move on Personal Start before beginning his retreat through the field. Personal Start jumped the last with a one-length lead over Iranistan.

Personal Start began to tire on the turn, but Nagle was hard at work on Iranistan to go past. Mitchell tipped Show Court to the inside, and they drew into contention late on the final turn before taking the lead early in the stretch.

Mitchell kept Show Court under a drive through the stretch, and the nine-year-old Vinnie Roe gelding fought off Iranistan, a four-year-old making his first start in top company. Overwhelming, ridden by Sean McDermott, closed past tiring horses to take third.

Show Court suffered an injury after running in the Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in Camden in March. Kingsley gave his jumper a go over the flat at Suffolk Downs on July 8 to get a feel for where the horse was and whether he was ready for Saratoga. All signs pointed in the right direction that day and, at the Spa, as well.

“It had been a while and he had gotten hurt in the Colonial Cup in his last run and he needed something,” Kingsley said of Show Court’s return to chasing. “He had basically been out of training for two months and he had only been back in training for a month before that Suffolk race and I needed something to fast track him to get him here today. I was lighting a fire under him.”

Show Court showed late speed, but Boss Man was on the lead except for a bit more than a furlong after the next-to-last of eight fences, when Mitchell gave the eight-year-old English Channel gelding a brief break before taking over again as the field of six neared the homestretch for the final time.

Boss Man easily repelled a late move by Serendipity Stables’ Dark Gemini and won by 2 1/4 lengths. Peggy Steinman’s First Friday, who stalked Boss Man’s pace and led over the last fence, finished third, and Whitman’s Poetry was fourth.

While Show Court went off at long odds and paid $30.20 for a $2 win ticket, Boss Man was no secret after his maiden victory over good company on April 28 at the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase, which is directed by Carrington Holdings’ Bill and Carrington Price. Boss Man, the third betting choice behind 9-to-5 Whitman’s Poetry and 5-to-2 Dark Gemini, paid $7.90 to win.

Mitchell put Boss Man on the lead at the drop of the flag, with First Friday right behind him. Whitman’s Poetry and Dark Gemini, both trained by Jack Fisher, tarried toward the back of the field.

Boss Man and Mitchell appeared intent on setting all the pace, but Barry Foley pushed First Friday to the front after the next-to-last fence. Trained by Doug Fout, First Friday opened 1 1/2 lengths on Boss Man as they broke away from the rest of the field entering the far turn.

Mitchell shifted Boss Man to the outside, and they drove to the lead nearing the top of the lane. First Friday did not give up without a fight, but he was beginning to tire and losing ground in midstretch.

Willie McCarthy put Dark Gemini into a drive through the stretch, and they cleared First Friday while making no impression on the winner, who was gearing down through the final strides. Dark Gemini, a maiden winner at the Fair Hill Races in May 2017, finished six lengths ahead of First Friday.

Boss Man, who was pulled up in inaugural start over fences at the Tryon Block House meet on April 14, ran the 2 1/16-mile distance in 3:52.73 on firm turf. Before his new career over jumps, Boss Man was trained by Jason Servis and previously won a Monmouth Park turf allowance in June 2016.

Boss Man was bred in Florida by Kinsman Farm, owned by prominent breeder George Steinbrenner Jr., who was best known as the owner of the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010. Steinbrenner was popularly known as “The Boss” during his Yankees tenure.

The NSA summer campaign continues at Monmouth Park, N.J. with two chase on Aug. 9, before returning to Saratoga on Aug. 22 with the 74th running of the $175,000 New York Turf Writers Cup scheduled to take to the course Thursday, Aug. 23.

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