The 8-year-old Theatrical gelding owned by Carl Barnes and trained by Doug Fout, held position on the inside as favored Salford City (IRE) set the pace to the final fence. There, jockey Paddy Young powered his mount home for the win in 3:53.45.
At Colonial Downs on June 15, High Action was a 4 ½-length winner. He handled Saratoga race Course’s turf course Thursday with equal aplomb, despite intermittent showers.
“The only thing that worried me was the rain,” Fout said. “This horse hates soft ground. The owners flew in from England last night, and unless the course was going to be hock-deep, we had to run. About an hour before the race, I was having a bloody fit. I was walking around the stall like you wouldn’t believe. His class helped him dramatically, especially at Saratoga.”
Young was also pleased with his horse’s professionalism.
“It rained today, so obviously the ground was a bit softer out there,” Young said. “I tried to hold on a little bit longer. It went okay. He didn’t go crazy. I just wanted to save a little bit for after the last jump. I thought he was struggling going around the top bend. He’s a tough little horse, and I got a run up the inner (path). He jumped the last fence great, and stuck his head out all the way down the lane from there.”
High Action, who will likely come back for the Grade 1, $150,000 New York Turf Writers’ Cup Handicap Steeplechase on Thursday, August 28, is the second Smithwick winner for trainer Doug Fout, who won this race and the Turf Writers ‘Cup in 2006 with 10-year-old champion Hirapour.
Dark Equation got up for second, with Salford City third. Trailing were Spy in the Sky, the mare Guelph, Duke of Earl, Orpington and Meneef.
Class Shadow and last year’s Smithwick winner Mixed Up were scratched.