Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship H. (gr. II)

(gr. II , 7f ,)

LION TAMER (CH h, 116 lb) $120,000
Will's Way —Tippecanoe Creek , by Olympio
B—Paul Smith, KY.; O—Michael B. Tabor; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Coach Jimi Lee (CH g, 115 lb) $40,000
Roar —Princess Lili , by My Gallant
B—Brenda Jones, KY.; O—Battaglia, Lee and Divito, James P.; T—James P. DiVito

Wacky for Love (DK B/ g, 114 lb) $22,000
Gold Fever —Bluff for Bluff , by Pine Bluff
B—Carol M. Davis, KY.; O—Hammer Time Stable LLC; T—Keith Sirota

Margins: ¾, ½, head. Others: Gygistar 117($12,000) , Valid Video 118($6,000) , True Direction 114 , Multiple Choice 113 . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

Owner Michael Tabor had two chances to be king of the jungle on March 6. His colt Lion Heart didn’t make it to the winner’s circle that day and instead finished second in the San Rafael Stakes (gr. II), but another one of his runners, Lion Tamer, won the Richter Scale Breeders’ Cup Sprint Championship Handicap (gr. II) by three-quarters of a length over Coach Jimi Lee. Todd Pletcher trains Lion Tamer for Tabor.

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. Paul Smith has been involved in the Thoroughbred business since 1979 and has owned River Run with Robin for about 10 years. The two met in Ocala, Fla., where Smith previously co-owned Vintage Acres Farm.

The Smiths bought and raced Tippecanoe Creek, the dam of Lion Tamer, in partnership with Wayne Harrison’s Twin Oaks Stable. The three picked the mare out of the 1996 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May select sale of 2-year-olds in training and paid $27,000 for her. Hart Farm, agent, consigned her to that auction.

Tippecanoe Creek won 5 of her 12 starts and placed in the 1996 Kattegat’s Pride Stakes. After her racing career was over, the Smiths bought Harrison’s interest in the mare before breeding her to Will’s Way, the sire of Lion Tamer. The Richter Scale winner is her first foal. The Smiths broke Will’s Way for his owners Don and Anne Rudder and William Clifton Jr.

“We felt like our owners have always backed us and we were backing them,” said Robin Smith of the choice to breed to Will’s Way. “Mr. Clifton and Mr. Rudder have been our clients the whole time we’ve had River Run Farm.” The Smiths currently have another broodmare due to produce a Will’s Way foal this spring.

The Smiths bred three foals from Tippecanoe Creek before they sold her privately to the Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm. She produced a Polish Numbers filly in Kentucky last year for Claiborne.

The Smiths still own two broodmares, but the focus of their operation is breaking as many as 45 2-year-olds each year. Their two mares are boarded in Lexington with Tim Tevis at his Ann’s Way Farm.

Will’s Way is the sire of two stakes winners, Lion Tamer and Gang, winner of last year’s Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico. Will’s Way stands at Fred Seitz’ Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky., for a $5,000 fee.—K.I.G.