Today’s feature goes as the first race, and if you want to pass, feel free. But I like steeplechasing because it’s different, it’s fun and it’s formful. I once conducted a five-year study of results and found, to my amazement, that favorites won at a 50 percent rate. Extraordinary when you consider that horses leave the ground.

As with any race being conducted on a turf surface, those that have distinguished themselves along class lines often have their pictures taken. And so it is with jumpers. The bad news is that this group in particular is very hard to classify, coming from all over the map to compete. The two “best horses” in today’s Grade 2 A.P. Smithwick, the traditional prep for the G1 New York Turf Writers’ at meet’s end are last year’s winner, Mixed Up (3-1) and talented flat runner Salford City (7-2).

We’re betting on the latter. On the flat in his history are turf efforts in which he earned excellent performance figures. Now running isn’t jumping but Salford City has won while chasing in Ireland. He gets an American makeover today, adding Lasix and blinkers. He gets the respect of the handicapper Bill Gallo at 154 pounds, four pounds less than highweight Mixed Up.

Taking Salford City to win at 3-1 or greater, exacta box with Jonathan Sheppard’s Mixed Up.

Running Totals: (247) 77-51-28. Total Dollar Return: $467.30 [win selections only]