08/26/2008 11:00PM

Fout's pair face a threat from Be Certain

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Given the lack of success winners of the A.P. Smithwick have had in the New York Turf Writers Cup, it's a good thing trainer Doug Fout is running two horses in Thursday's Grade 1 steeplechase feature at Saratoga.

On Aug. 7, High Action and Dark Equation finished one-two in the Smithwick, with High Action finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front. Only Campanile (1999) has won both the Smithwick and Turf Writers in the same year. The Turf Writers is run at 2 3/8 miles over 10 national fences.

Entering the Smithwick, Fout's biggest concern was how both of his horses would run, with each coming off the second throat operation of his career. Thursday, Fout's biggest concerns are the eight pounds High Action is picking up off his Smithwick victory and the presence of the novice steeplechaser Be Certain in the field. Fout should also concerned that Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard has three horses in the field. Sheppard has won this race 12 times since 1979.

High Action is 2 for 2 for Fout this year, but will be trying 2 3/8 miles for the first time. The 150 pounds will be the most he has carried in seven jump races. Dark Equation will carry 152 pounds, two more than he did in the Smithwick. He too is unproven at the distance. Fout said the distance does not concern him as much as that Dark Equation and High Action are giving 13 and 11 pounds, respectively, to Be Certain.

"When you start getting into the 10's and 12's that will [make] the difference," Fout said. "There's such a short run from the last fence to the wire it's vitally important to hit that last fence running."

Be Certain, a 4-year-old New York-bred son of Thunder Gulch, comes off a late-running second in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes at 2 1/16 miles here on July 31. Before that he won at 2 3/8 miles and 2 1/2 miles.

"The farther he goes the better he goes," Voss said. "The company is a question mark, but it's not a great handicap division this year, so we thought we'd take a shot."

Sheppard is using the same logic for starting the William Pape-owned entry of Free Admission and Look at Him as well as Luongo, a separate betting interest. Look at Him is coming off a win at this distance two weeks ago and gets in with 142 pounds.

"You hope with the three of them, one of them might jump up and outrun himself," Sheppard said.

Salford City, third in the Smithwick and the 154-pound highweight here, Four Schools, and Duke of Earl complete the field.