SARATOGA SPRINGS — Baltimore Bucko led wire to wire Thursday to win the Grade 1, $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial, the first steeplechase of the Saratoga Race Course season.
Baltimore Bucko carried Thomas Garner over the hurdles on the 2 1/16-mile inner turf course to a 5 3/4-length victory. Trained by Keri Brion, he defeated stablemate French Light, who completed the exacta by beating out Gibralfaro by 2 3/4 lengths.
Baltimore Bucko picked up his first win in five starts paid $7.80 to win. Brion, an assistant under top jumps trainer Jonathan Sheppard for 11 years, earned her first Grade 1 victory.
Friday’s 10-race card at Saratoga features the Grade 3, $150,000 Lake George for 3-year-old fillies. The 1-mile circuit on the inner turf is the ninth race. First post is set for 1:05 p.m.