In hindsight, one of the better overlays of 2003 was the 5-1 odds on Stalking Tiger in the eighth race May 29 at Hollywood Park.
The 2-year-old gelded son of Twin Spires dominated nine rivals in his debut, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in 57 2/5 seconds for the five furlongs.
The California-bred was bet down to 9-5 odds when he won the Haggin Stakes about three weeks later, and he'll almost certainly be at an even shorter price today at Del Mar in the $125,000 Graduation Stakes.
Trained by Paul Aguirre and owned by a partnership that includes television producer-writer David Milch, Stalking Tiger will be facing a field restricted to state breds for the first time in the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation.
The $4,700 yearling purchase was as dominant in the Haggin as he was in his bow.
He won by three lengths over runner-up Perfect Moon, who came back to win the Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
The rest of the field, from the inside out, for the 52nd Graduation: Lil' Bro Eddie, who will be making his ninth start since March 13, Dad's Lessons, Military Mandate, Alpenfest, Don'tsellmeshort, the beaten favorite in the Haggin, Badgett's Mandate and Devil's Money.
Race of the day: Denied, who is unbeaten in two starts for trainer Jeff Mullins, makes his Del Mar debut in today's sixth, a $68,000 optional claimer at a mile on the turf. Dell Place and Long Gone Con are the only two entrants who have won over the local course.
One for the road: Where We Left Off figures to improve in her second time out for trainer Christophe Clement after a slow beginning on June 26 at Belmont Park. Edgar Prado stays on the Dr. Devious filly, who goes in today's sixth at Saratoga.
Exotically speaking: A pick three singling Dream Day in the first, using Happy Yodeler, Five Wild Cats and New Course in the second and Westward Star, Pine For Java, Newark and Mr. Roadway in the third.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 2/9. Money: Previous day/meet total: $17.80/$55.20. Total money bet: $104.