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Smiling Tiger, Bonde, Baze Featured In Palos Verdes Simulcast Saturday
Trainer Jeff Bonde of Pleasanton and jockey Russell Baze of Woodside are expected to win the $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita Saturday with their top sprinter Smiling Tiger.
Golden Gate Fields will simulcast the entire nine-race card from Santa Anita and post time for the Palos Verdes, the seventh event on the program, is 3:37 p.m. First post at Santa Anita is 12:30 p.m.
Golden Gate Fields will also present a nine-race card Saturday and post time for the first local event is 12:45 p.m.
Smiling Tiger is an even-money favorite on the morning line to capture the Grade 2 Palos Verdes, a six-furlong dash for 4-year-olds and up. Smiling Tiger won a pair of Grade 1 six-furlong stakes last year, the Bing Crosby at Del Mar and the Ancient Title at Hollywood Park.
Smiling Tiger lost his final two starts of 2010 but ran huge in both races, finishing third in the six-furlong Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs and second in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. Smiling Tiger held a one-length lead in midstretch of the Malibu but ended up losing by a nose to Twirling Candy, who set a track record of 1:19.70.
“Smiling Tiger ran too good to get beat in the Malibu,” said Baze. “The Palos Verdes is six furlongs and that’s good. Cutting back in distance is going to benefit this horse. I think we have yet to see the best of him, and hopefully, we’ll see it Saturday. This horse has the potential to be one of the best sprinters in the country.”
Smiling Tiger will break from post position one and face six rivals in the Palos Verdes.
“The post isn’t going to bother him,” said Baze. “He’s got enough speed to get a position, no matter where he draws.”
The Palos Verdes field, in post position order with riders, morning-line odds and weight assignments, is as follows: Smiling Tiger, Baze, even money, 123; Euroears, Mike Smith, 8-to-1, 118; Ventana, Rafael Bejarano, 4-to-1, 120; Captain Cherokee, Joe Talamo, 12-to-1, 118; Gato Go Win, Patrick Valenzuela, 5-to-1, 118; Hunch, Joel Rosario, 8-to-1, 118; and Don Tito, Corey Nakatani, 8-to-1, 118.
Duran Wins Three Straight Races -- Jockey Francisco Duran posted a “natural” riding hat trick Friday at Golden Gate Fields when he swept races four through six.
Duran won the fourth race with Mizzen You ($3.80), the fifth with Smokin Fame ($11.40) and the sixth with Dima ($19.20). The $1 Duran Pick 3 covering those races returned $141.20.