Mark W. Buyck’s Show Court showed Parx Racing bettors on Saturday that he is as adept on the flat as over fences, and Alcazar de Maram notched his first victory on the flat in the second division of two flat races for hurdlers.
Sent off at 14-to-1, 2017 Carolina Cup winner Show Court powered through the final furlong to score a hard-fought nose victory over pacesetter and 3-to-5 favorite Unsinkable in the first division of Parx’s two $25,000 flat races for hurdlers.
Amy Taylor Rowe’s For Goodness Sake made up ground late to finish third, and Hardrock Eleven was fourth in a field of 10.
Michael Mitchell, just returned from an injury at the Queen’s Cup in late April, kept Show Court in the hunt early as Robert Kinsley’s Unsinkable set a steady pace under Jack Doyle. Irv Naylor’s Hooded and then Virginia Lazenby’s Hardrock Eleven applied modest pressure on the leader through the first mile and a quarter.
Mitchell waited until the furlong pole to ask Show Court to give his best, and the Irish-bred eight-year-old steadily ground away Unsinkable’s lead while racing near the outside rail of Parx’s turf course.
With their heads bobbing for the advantage, Show Court and Unsinkable battled through the final yards, with Show Court appearing to gain a slight advantage in the last strides and prevailing on the nod.
Arch Kingsley Jr., who trains Show Court for South Carolina attorney Buyck, smiled broadly as the longshot was led into Parx’s winner’s circle. Show Court paid $30 to win after running the race’s 1 1/2 miles in 2:36.41 on turf rated as good.
Maram LLC’s Alcazar de Maram, also a longshot, confidently defeated a full field in the second division. The five-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding, a nearly 40-length winner of a Colonial Cup maiden hurdle last November, eased to the front after a mile under Darren Nagle and won by a length at 12.30-to-1.
Flying Elvis Stable’s Diplomat provided Alcazar de Maram’s only competition to the finish line, and his longshot odds triggered a $30.20 place payout. Kinsley’s No Wunder, favored at 8-to-5, finished third under Doyle. Selection Sunday finished fourth in the field of 12.
Trained by Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, Alcazar de Maram paid $26.60 to win after running the 1 1/2 miles in 2:34.11. In his flat-racing career, Alcazar de Maram never hit the board; his three prior placings were over fences.
At the flag drop, Nagle placed Alcazar de Maram in contention, and they stalked Wendy Hendriks’ Any Given Royal through the first mile before passing the pacesetter and opening a four-length lead going into the turn of the seven-furlong turf course.
Diplomat, ridden by Bernie Dalton, appeared poised to engage the leader at the furlong pole, but Alcazar de Maram showed no indication of stopping and maintained a clear lead to the finish line.
Hurdle racing returns to Parx in suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday, with two divisions of a maiden hurdle each carrying a $25,000 purse and a $30,000 handicap. All three races are at 2 1/16 miles, and first post time is 1:05 p.m.