Smiling Tiger Gets Class Test in Best Pal
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 8/6/2009 8:01:57 PM
Last Updated: 8/9/2009 3:04:43 PM

Russell Baze rides Smiling Tiger for trainer Jeff Bonde in the Best Pal.
Photo: Benoit

Smiling Tiger  , a Northern California shipper whose two wins were by a combined margin of 14 lengths, gets tested for class in the $150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar Aug. 9.

The 6 1/2-furlong event for 2-year-olds is a tune-up for the $300,000 Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) Sept. 7. Four winners, including the Jeff Bonde-trained Smiling Tiger, and two maidens comprise the field for the Best Pal.

Leine & Lebherz's Smiling Tiger blew away eight rivals in the Lost in the Fog Stakes (VIDEO) at Golden Gate Fields, sprinting away from the field on the backstretch as the 9-10 choice en route to an eight-length win in the five-furlong race. The Kentucky-bred chestnut son of Hold That Tiger began his career with a six-length victory over maidens at four furlongs May 1 at Golden Gate. He has been training at Del Mar since late last month.

Rusell Baze, aboard for both of the earlier wins, travels south to ride the undefeated colt. They'll break from the rail.

Joseph LaCombe's homebred Classical Slew is the other stakes winner in the field, capturing the Willard Proctor Memorial Stakes at Hollywood Park in June to make it back-to-back victories to begin his career.

Trained by Doug O'Neill, the Bernstein colt was unable to keep up with his stablemate, the flashy filly Necessary Evil, in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship (gr. III) and checked in third July 12, beaten by 4 1/4 lengths.

Lookin At Lucky  , from the Bob Baffert stable, should get plenty of support at the windows following his game stalking victory in his maiden debut (VIDEO) going six furlongs at Hollywood July 11. The Smart Strike   colt, who won his initial start by three-quarters of a length, continues to train well at Del Mar.

Hurricane Ike also broke his maiden at first asking at five furlongs July 5 (VIDEO) for trainer John Sadler and owners Ike and Dawn Thrash. The Florida-bred son of Graeme Hall lugged out at the three-eighths pole but recovered to come on again for a 1 1/2-length victory at Hollywood Park.

Make Music for Me, a second Bernstein colt in the field, closed to finish fourth at Hollywood in his only start July 5 for trainer Alexis Barba. Make Music for Me broke inwardly before rallying four wide in a green first effort.

Supraman invades from the Midwest after finishing off the board in his first two starts, his latest coming at Arlington following a forgettable debut at Keeneland in April. Supraman rallied a bit in his last start, a seven-furlong race July 16, after striking the gate at the start. Michael Leahy trains the Roman Ruler   colt.

$150,000 Best Pal Stakes (gr. II, Race 4, 3:30 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 6 1/2 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Smiling Tiger   (KY), R. A. Baze, 121, J. Bonde
2. Hurricane Ike (FL), J. Rosario, 119, J. W. Sadler
3. Supraman (KY), D. Mernagh, 117, M. P. Leahy
4. Lookin At Lucky   (KY), G. K. Gomez, 119, B. Baffert 
5. Classical Slew (KY), M. C. Baze, 121, D. F. O'Neill
6. Make Music for Me (KY), T. Baze, 117, A. Barba
 

 



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