John Bowers Jr.'s New Jersey homebred Smart N Classy, winless in five starts this season for trainer John Tammaro III, seeks a repeat of her victory last year in the $150,000 Eatontown Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park Saturday.Few would challenge her record of consistency with 21 in-the-money performances, but the 6-year-old daughter of Smart Strike --Teenage Queen, by Regal Classic, is running out of opportunities before she goes off to the breeding shed.Smart N Classy is part of a field of 10 entered for the 1 1/16-mile turf event, although one filly, Career Oriented, is entered for the main track only.
Smart N Classy used her powerful late kick to beat Lentil by a nose in last year's renewal. But that was over the old course, which was soft for the 2005 running. The new turf course has been firm so far this season, making life hard on late closers.
"I just hope things set up well for her this time," Tammaro said. "She needs a good pace up front, because making a stretch run is her style, and she needs horses to run at. She always gives everything she's got."
So far this year, the New Jersey-bred mare was second in the Dahlia Stakes at Laurel and in the Politely Stakes at Monmouth. She ran fifth in the Gallorette (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico and sixth in the New York Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont. Last out, she finished sixth in Monmouth's Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT).
In her two races at Monmouth, the Politely and the Matchmaker, she was compromised by the lack of real pace.
"The pace has been very slow her last two starts," Tammaro said. "In the Matchmaker, it was so slow that the jockey (Jose Lezcano) had to lay her up close early. He had no choice, but that's just not her race. Being up so close, she didn't have the usual late kick."
In the Politely, Tammaro got a scare after the finish when Smart N Classy pulled herself up on the backstretch and was unsaddled on the turf course.
"She clipped another horse and suffered a puncture wound on her left shin," the trainer said. "I saw her pull up on the backstretch, and it scared me to death. When I got there, she was bleeding badly.
"But it turned out not to be serious," Tammaro said. "She didn't miss a day of training and she's as good as ever. We really dodged a bullet there."
Smart N Classy will join the broodmare band at Bowers' Roseland Farm in nearby Colts Neck, N.J., after this season.$150,000 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 4:52 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Thetactics Ofdance (FL), 119, Christopher P. DeCarlo
2. Wrapped Up in You (KY), 117, Alan Garcia
3. Smart N Classy (NJ), 117, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
4. Humoristic (KY), 117, Luis Garcia
5. Prop Me Up (FL), 117, Joe Bravo
6. Rahys' Appeal (NY), 117, Rajiv Maragh
7. Dream Lady (KY), 119, Jose Lezcano
8. Brunilda (ARG), 117, Eddie Castro
9. Career Oriented (KY), 117, Joe Bravo
10. Pommes Frites (KY), 123, Jose A. Santos
Career Oriented entered for main track only/