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HORSE RACING : BREEDERS' CUP NOTES

Smith has chance to go four for four

October 24, 2008|Pete Thomas | Thomas is a Times staff writer.

Mike Smith does not have the most mounts in the Breeders' Cup, but the quality of four horses he'll ride today and Saturday has the Hall of Fame jockey thinking Grand Slam.

"I wouldn't be shocked if they all won," he said. "I'd be surprised, but not shocked."

Smith, 43, is one of 17 jockeys to have won two Breeders' Cup races during the same year. He has done it four times, more than anyone else.

Nobody has won three.

Here is Smith's schedule, with his commentary:

* Today's first Breeders' Cup race, the Filly & Mare Sprint, Smith is aboard John Sadler-trained Dearest Trickski, who is listed at odds of 15-1:

"She loves synthetic tracks. This one tends to get a little loose on the top and she's like a little gazelle, man, she just gets over the ground like a little deer.

"Although this is one of the toughest races in terms of the competition, I look for her to run her A-plus race because that's the way she's been training."

* Today's third race, the Juvenile Fillies, aboard Christopher Paasch-trained Stardom Bound, 8-5:

"She just has an explosive turn of foot, from the three-eighths pole to past the wire, she just seems to gobble up ground on horses. I call her my Lady Zenyatta."

* Today's fifth race, the Ladies' Classic, aboard John Shirreffs-trained and unbeaten Zenyatta, 3-5:

"She speaks for herself. She is a big horse with a tremendous stride. But when you ask her to lay it down she just catches horses with such ease, it's almost paralyzing.

"If she gets the opportunity to run her race, and she does, I think you'll see something special."

* Saturday's grand finale, the $5-million Classic, aboard Shirreffs-trained Tiago, 15-1:

On Tiago's second-place finish to Well Armed in the Goodwood Stakes on Sept. 27 at Santa Anita:

"It took a quarter of a mile for him to figure out that he halfway likes this [synthetic] track. It was the first time he ran over this surface and once he figured out, 'Hey, this ain't so bad,' he ran a great second to Well Armed.

"Since then he has gained weight, trained great and looks better. If he's ever going to beat a bunch like this, it's going to be now."

Racing Curlin

Smith on facing defending Classic-champion Curlin, another horse that is not fond of synthetic surfaces: "If he stubs his toes and our horse runs like he can we're going to be tough. Regardless, I've always thought there's this huge race in [Tiago], and let's hope it comes out Saturday."

Marathon man

Jockey Garrett Gomez is scheduled to compete in 13 of 14 Breeders' Cup races. He'll skip only today's Filly & Mare Turf. Who knows what kind of shape he'll be in when he boards Go Between in Saturday's Classic?

Prince among men

Trainer Robert Frankel said that Ginger Punch owner-breeder Frank Stronach would be present for today's Ladies' Classic and play host to Prince Khaled Abdullah of Juddmonte Farms and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre.

Torre, part-owner of several horses, will be on hand merely as a spectator.

Withdrawals

Indyanne has been pulled out of today's $1-million Filly & Mare Sprint because of a temperature and cough. . . . Elusive Bluff will not race in Saturday's $2-million Juvenile because of a bruised foot. The 2-year-old colt won both career starts at Belmont Park.

--

pete.thomas@latimes.com

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