More Smoke started the new year the way he ended the last one, winning this time against newly turned 3-year-olds in Saturday's $50,000 Dancing Count Stakes at Pimlico.
Now three for four lifetime, the grey/roan son of Smoke Glacken
left the rail post in a hurry, raced ahead of Primal Storm into the stretch, then re-broke and pulled away to a 3-3/4 length triumph. Timely Impulse rallied to take second, 6 1/4 lengths clear. Primal Storm narrowly held onto third by a nose over Seeyoubychance.
Under journeyman jockey Mario Pino, the John Zimmerman trainee covered the six furlongs in 1:11.81 and paid $3.80. He earned $30,000 for owners Thomas McClay and Harry Nye.
At Mountaineer Park in his previous start, More Smoke was also in total control, winning off by thirteen lengths.
Friel's For Real, who won five of six starts a year ago, made a triumphant return after a 7 1/2- month layoff, scoring a popular score ($2.40) in the sixth race. Trained by Ned Allard, the 5-year old won a pair of added money races in Maryland in 2004, including the Pimlico Distaff (gr. III) on the Preakness undercard.
Saturday, she was confidentially ridden by Abel Castellano defeating a determined Anyplace Anytime by a measured half-length. She completed the 1 1/16 mile in 1:46.11. Friel's For Real is now nine of 16 lifetime with 14 in-the-money finishes.