Two of steeplechasing's top horses are among the six entered for Thursday's A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase Handicap at Saratoga. It's a Giggle, who won at Saratoga three times last season, is favored at 8-5. Earlier this year he won the Royal Chase For The Sport Of Kings Hurdle (NSA-I) at Keeneland. He has raced only once since then, in a 10-furlong race at Colonial Downs on July 23. Last year It's a Giggle won the 19-furlong New York Turf Writers Cup Steeplechase (NSA-I). This year the event is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Also entered is Anofferucantrefuse, winner of the Joe Aitcheson Hurdle Stakes (NSA-I) in May at Pimlico. He finished second in his only other start this year, the 20-furlong Meadow Brook Hurdle Stakes (NSA-I).
Blythe Miller, the regular rider for It's a Giggle, is still recovering from an Aug. 1 fall. G.M. Brown will get the mount in her stead.
Saratoga has made some changes to the steeplechase course. One fence on the Saratoga backstretch has been removed. The new configuration means the 2 1/16-mile races will feature nine hurdles (as opposed to 11) and the 2 3/8-mile races will include 10 instead of 12. The move was made to improve safety, and hasten more competition.
The field for the $75,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial Steeplechase Handicap, from the rail:
PP, jockey, weight, morning line
1--Tres Touche, D. Bentley, 154, 6-1
2--P. C. Plod, N. Morris, 154, 8-1
3--Indispensable, Arch Kingsley Jr., 150, 10-1
4--It's a Giggle, G.M. Brown, 158, 8-5
5--Anofferucantrefuse, R.A. Horgan, 154, 4-1
6--Invest West, R. Massey, 150, 2-1