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HORSE RACING

Smith Gets Big Ride and American Victory

July 05, 2002|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mike Smith's riding fortunes were boosted this week before he ever rode in a race. After Smith worked Came Home five furlongs Wednesday morning at Santa Anita, trainer Paco Gonzalez named him to replace the recently retired Chris McCarron on the colt for the $500,000 Swaps Stakes on July 14.

Then Thursday the hits kept coming for Smith, who rode an old friend, The Tin Man, to victory in the $150,000 American Handicap at Hollywood Park. The Tin Man beat Devine Wind and Alex Solis by a neck, then Smith and trainer Richard Mandella had to sweat out an inquiry by the stewards, who allowed the result to stand.

"When we were coming to the wire," Smith said, "my horse was looking around so much, I went left-handed [with the whip] just to shake him up a little bit. Alex was about two or three [horses] away from me, and I was hoping that we'd get over to Alex a little bit, so that my horse would see him and go on. That's what happened, but it did get a little too close for comfort. There was no real contact, nothing like a bump or anything like that."

The Tin Man, running 1 1/8 miles on grass in 1:46 4/5, paid $10.40. Devine Wind finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Kappa King, the even-money favorite, and Native Desert, at 9 trying to become the race's oldest winner, ran fourth in the seven-horse field.

The victory ended a stakes drought for trainer Mandella, who hadn't won an added-money race in almost three months.

Earlier on the card, trainer Mel Stute ended an even longer stakes void when he saddled Buffythecenterfold, a 6-1 shot, for a one-length victory over Tricks Her in the $110,600 Landaluce. Ridden by Matt Garcia, Buffythecenterfold added to her debut, a win against maidens on June 15.

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Good Journey, brought from behind by Pat Day, beat Morluc for a 1 1/4-length win in the $250,000 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill Downs. Even The Score finished third.

Good Journey, paying $6.40 as the second choice, ran one mile on grass in 1:34 4/5.

The 6-year-old hadn't run since winning the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park last November when trainer Wally Dollase shipped him to Kentucky, where he won a prep for Thursday's race on June 15. Since leaving France and joining Dollase in California in 2000, Good Journey has five wins, two seconds and two thirds in nine starts.

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In 100-degree heat at Belmont Park, Owsley won the $250,000 New York Handicap, right after Left Bank broke the track record with a 1:20 seven-furlong clocking in the $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap.

Left Bank, paying $5.20 and ridden by John Velazquez, beat Affirmed Success by 6 1/4 lengths.

Owsley, a 4-1 shot ridden by Edgar Prado, beat Volga by a neck. Janet, the shipper from Santa Anita, finished third.

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Lost At Sea, owned in part and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, paid $46 after outfinishing See How She Runs in the $150,000 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows. See How She Runs had gone into the day with a five-race win streak.... The Jenine Sahadi-trained La Martina, owned by Team Valor, won the $125,000 Walmac Lone Star Oaks.... In a spectacular spill during the stretch run of Hollywood's seventh race, Marcutio ducked through the inner rail, tearing up 56 feet of the aluminum fence. The apprentice Omar Figueroa was carried off on a stretcher and taken to Centinela Hospital, where he was being examined for injuries to his right wrist and elbow and left forearm. An outrider caught Marcutio not far from one of the infield lakes and the 3-year-old gelding did not appear to be seriously injured.... Proud Girly broke down on the backstretch of the Landaluce, suffered a fractured pelvis and was euthanized.

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