Cigar Mile H. (gr. I)

(gr. I , 8f ,)

LION TAMER (CH h, 115 lb) $210,000
Will's Way —Tippecanoe Creek , by Olympio
B—Paul Smith, KY.; O—Michael B. Tabor; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Badge of Silver (DK B/ h, 115 lb) $70,000
Silver Deputy —Silveroo , by Silver Hawk
B—Trackside Farm, KY.; O—Ramsey, Kenneth L. and Sarah K.; T—Robert J. Frankel

Pico Central (BRZ) (DK B/ h, 123 lb) $35,000
Spend a Buck —Sheila Purple (BRZ) , by Purple Mountain
B—Haras Fronteira P.A.P., BRZ.; O—Gary A. Tanaka; T—Paulo H. Lobo

Margins: 1¼, nose, 4¾. Others: Unforgettable Max 114($17,500) , Potrisunrise (ARG) 114($10,500) , Purge 116($2,334) , During 116($2,334) , Voodoo 114($2,332) . Winning Jockey, Jose A. Santos.

After Lion Tamer ran second to Mass Media in the Oct. 31 Sport Page Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct, trainer Todd Pletcher decided to “take a shot” with the colt in the Nov. 27 Cigar Mile (gr. I) at the same track. A lucky shot it turned out to be for Pletcher and owner Michael Tabor as Lion Tamer secured a surprise 11/4-length victory over Badge of Silver, with race favorite Pico Central a nose farther back in third.

“I always thought he was the horse good enough to win a grade I,” Pletcher said after the race. “I really didn’t plan on going in here with him, but he ran so well in the Sport Page, he obviously liked the track and he was training so well afterwards. We decided to take a shot.”

The 4-year-old son of Will’s Way covered the mile in 1:33.46 to win his third graded stakes victory this season. He also won the Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland and the Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream.

Tabor purchased Lion Tamer privately from John Fort’s Peachtree Stable after the colt won an allowance race by 71/2 lengths in his 3-year-old debut. Fort originally purchased Lion Tamer for $180,000 at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale from the consignment of Nardelli Sales, agent.

Paul Smith bred Lion Tamer in Kentucky. He and his wife, Robin, own and operate River Run Training Center in Rembert, S.C., near Camden. The Smiths bought and raced the dam of Lion Tamer, Tippecanoe Creek, in partnership with Wayne Harrison’s Twin Oaks Stable. The partners purchased the mare for $27,000 at the 1996 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May select sale of 2-year-olds in training. Hart Farm, agent, consigned the mare to that sale. Tippecanoe Creek won five of 12 starts and placed second in the Kattegat’s Pride Stakes at Laurel Park.

The Smiths privately sold Tippecanoe Creek to the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm after she had produced three foals. She was barren this year to a Seeking the Gold cover. Tippecanoe Creek is currently in foal to Carson City on a March 5 cover.

Will’s Way has one other stakes winner. He previously stood at Fred Seitz’ Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky. He will stand the 2005 season at Dr. William J. Solomon’s Pin Oak Lane Farm near New Freedom, Pa., for a fee of $3,500.—A.W.