Champali wins the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder's Summit of Speed.

Champali wins the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder's Summit of Speed.

Skip Smith

Champali Throws Final Punch in Smile Sprint

Champali set a fast pace but had enough left to hold off the late challenge of Clock Stopper by a nose in an exciting four-horse photo finish to the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Calder Race Course Saturday.

In the most exciting finish to Calder's "Summit of Speed" series, Champali, ridden by Jerry Bailey won in a time of 1:10 after setting all the fractions – :21 4/5, :44 3/5 and :57.

Champali was in deep water as he battled Built Up through the fast fractions and My Cousin Matt closed on the outside in the stretch run. Clock Stopper, with Pat Day aboard, slipped up along the inside to provide the biggest threat of them all. However, Champali refused to give way, surging under the wire first in the final strides.

At the wire, Champali was a nose better than Clock Stopper, with Built Up and My Cousin Matt each a neck farther behind.

"He showed a lot of courage," Bailey said. "Clock Stopper came to him hard within the sixteenth pole and he re-broke. He just refused to lose."

Trained by Greg Foley, the 4-year-old son of Glitterman, who won the Aristides Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in his last start paid $7.20, $3.80 and $3.20. Clock Stopper, with Pat Day aboard, sat off the early pace before launching his rally, and paid $3.20 and $2.60. Built Up, with Sebastian Madrid in the saddle, finished a quarter-length back in third and paid $4.60.

Owned by the Lloyd Madison Farms, Champali earned $294,000 to increase his career bankroll to $889,119. The win was his 10th in 18 career starts and his third strikes triumph.

"Jerry and I talked after the seventh race and decided to go for the lead," Foley said. "We figured to be up close even if we didn't make the front. This is the best horse I've ever trained. I was concerned when he tried to get out a little at the top of the stretch. He's done that before, but Jerry gave him a couple of taps and he straightened right out."

(Chart, Equibase)