Western Smoke repeated a feat accomplished by his daddy 13 years ago, winning the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Monmouth Park Sept. 5 for his third consecutive stakes score. Now, if the 2-year-old colt can go on to do what Smoke Glacken did in his sophomore season, he will really be in business.
Smoke Glacken won the Sapling in 1996 and went on to become a champion sprinter the following year after winning six of eight starts. It remains to be seen what his son will do as a 3-year-old, but he is certainly off to a good start in his young career.
Sent off as the odds-on favorite in a field of eight in the six-furlong Sapling, Western Smoke stumbled briefly but went straight to the lead under Elvis Trujillo until Awesome Son quickly surged to the front. Awesome Son sizzled during a :21.43 opening quarter with Western Smoke sitting just behind the aggressive leader. Not long after that, Western Smoke took command through a taxing :43.88 half mile. He opened up a clear lead at the eighth pole and was never threatened in the stretch.
The gray/roan colt scored by 1 3/4 lengths while stopping the clock in a solid final time of 1:09.55 on a track labeled “fast.” Not Macho Any More rallied late for second, finishing a length in front of El Rocco.
“I tried to rate him a little, but I didn’t want to fight him,” Trujillo said. “After that, I decided to just let him run. He ended up taking me all the way around the track. This colt sure can run and he showed that this afternoon. He has natural speed and sure can carry (it).”
Western Smoke, who entered off stakes victoies at Charles Town and Prairie Meadows, is now 4-1-0 from six starts and has already earned $226,687 for Kirk and Judy Robison. He is trained by Steve Asmussen. Bred in Kentucky by Hopewell Investments, Western Smoke is out of the Boston Harbor mare Echo Harbor.
The winner paid $3.60, $2.40, and $2.10. The exacta (5-2) returned $12.10 and the trifecta (5-2-1) was $35.40.