INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 22, 2010)-Trainer Jeff Bonde and owners Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz picked up their second stakes win of the meet when Smiling Tiger captured the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Memorial on Saturday at Hollywood Park.
Bonde, Klein and Lebherz, winners of the Harry Henson on April 21 with longshot Excessive Passion – a turf race in which Smiling Tiger was third in his 2010 debut – saw the chestnut colt go wire-to-wire in the Grade III Barrera.
Ridden to perfection by Victor Espinoza, the 3-year-old son of Hold That Tiger out of the Cahill Road mare Shandra Smiles broke quickly with the Bob Baffert trained duo of Concord Point and Macias in close proximity.
Macias, shortening up in distance and switching to the main track after a pair of turf routes, had room to rally along the inside early in the stretch, but Espinoza tightened things up a bit. This seemed to intimidate Macias, who, ultimately, angled outside the winner, but faltered in the final sixteenth and had to settle for fourth.
Concord Point, the 5-2 favorite, made another bid of his own approaching the wire, but Smiling Tiger, the 5-2 second choice, had enough left to prevail by a half-length. The final time for the seven furlongs was 1:21.34.
Domonation, returning to the scene of his only win, finished well in the middle of the track to gain third, 1 ½ lengths behind Concord Point. A gray son of Maria’s Mon. Domonation has not finished off the board in three races on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track.
A $40,000 yearling purchase in 2008, Smiling Tiger, who was third behind eventual Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky in both the Best Pal, a Grade II, and Del Mar Futurity, a Grade 1, last summer, has won three of six. He’s earned $183,864.
Smiling Tiger, whose two previous wins had come at Golden Gate Fields, paid $7.60, $3.80 and $3.20. Concord Point, who was looking for his third victory in four attempts, paid $3.60 and $3.00. The show price on Domonation, who was nearly 10-1, was $4.80.
“The first time back we took a little chance running on turf because we wanted to get a race into him,’’ said Bonde. The Henson was Smiling Tiger’s first race since the Del Mar Futurity last Sept. 7.
“He had a rough trip on the inside. He was pretty wild in the paddock, but he was more professional today. I was confident he was going to run his race.’’
Joel Rosario, who rode Domonation, won three times on Saturday. He took the first with Enriched, third with Uncle Don and ninth on Sweet And Jazzy.
A half-brother to Lava Man, a three time winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup (2005-2007), Enriched won the $55,000 turf allowance by 9 ¼ lengths as the 2-5 favorite. It was the fifth win in 11 races on grass for the 5-year-old gelded son of High Brite and the Nostalgia’s Star mare L’il Ms. Leonard. He’s owned by W.C. Racing, Westside Rentals.com and Neil Haymes and trained by Doug O’Neill.
The wire-to-wire victory by Uncle Don in a $43,000 allowance was his fourth in a row for owners Antonio Ocampo and Ulises Olguin and trainer Richard Rosales. The 5-year-old is a California bred son of Lemon Drop Kid out of the multiple stakes winning Moscow Ballet mare Soviet Problem. The win Saturday was his first race on turf.
The fifth week of the spring-summer meet concludes with a nine race card Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m.
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