With Time Running Out, Smith Gets Saratoga Stakes Win

Going into the final day of the Saratoga meet on Monday, Labor Day, jockey Mike Smith found himself in the rare position of having no stakes victories and only three wins overall during the meet.

Smith redeemed himself when he rode Gary A. Tanaka's Noble Stella to a two-length victory in the meet's final stakes race, the 11th running of the grade III, $112,100 Glens Falls Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course.

"It's the only way to go out this meet, because I have never been at Saratoga a whole meet without winning a stakes race," said Smith, New York's leading jockey in 1991, '92 and '93 and three times Saratoga's leading rider. "I got her to settle behind Sabellina; she settled so nicely. It was perfect. It was like she was on the lead. She's run some dynamite races on the lead, but she's also run some good races off the pace."

Sabellina opened up five lengths to set a pace of :24.77; :49, 1:14.49 and 1:38.97. Smith kept his mount second over the good going, made a move to the lead three furlongs from home, and rode her strong to the finish to hold off Latice in 2:03.63. Noble Stella paid $10.40 to win.

"I've been everywhere with her this summer," said Rachel Halden, assistant to winning trainer Roger Attfield. "I've had a lot of fun. Mike (Smith) gave her a great ride. This filly has been running well on the lead, but she doesn't need the lead. Mike knows her now, and he puts her where she is comfortable. She really kicked on nicely."

Louvre Royale ran third, followed by Wait it Out, Sabellina, Quiero Ganar, favored Olaya, Milwaukee, and Rowdy. Shared Dreams and Tisket a Tasket were scratched.

The winner is a 5-year-old, German-bred daughter of Monsun.

Smith, who has seven riding titles at Belmont Park and five riding titles at Aqueduct, recently hired former trainer Phil Hauswald to be his agent when Belmont Park's fall meet begins on Friday, Sept. 8.

(Chart, Equibase)