DEL MAR, Calif.— Eight California-bred juveniles will test their tenacity over six furlongs Friday at Del Mar in the 33rd running of the I’m Smokin Stakes, a race named for a wickedly fast Cal-bred who raced locally in the 1970s.
This latest edition of the race is one of the 36 Cal-Bred races that are part of the Golden State Series for California-bred or sired runners worth a total of $4.475 million run at tracks up and down the state over the course of the year. Eight of them have been scheduled at Del Mar this summer and the I’m Smokin is the final one.
Possible favorite in the heat is George Sharp’s Kangaroo Court, a chestnut gelding by the Discreet Cat stallion Dads Caps who ran away and hid from a field of straight maiden locally on August 20 with his final winning margin coming out at 14 and a quarter lengths going five and one-half furlongs.
Abel Cedillo rode Kangaroo Court that day and he’ll be back in the boot Friday for trainer Tim Yakteen. They break from Post 1.
Chief threat to Kangaroo Court could be KMN Racing’s Straighten Up, who works out of the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The colt by Straight Fire has run twice so far, scoring in a straight maiden affair at Los Alamitos on July 1, then coming back to run a good second to the top juvenile The Big Wam (headed for the Del Mar Futurity) on August 12 in the Graduation Stakes.
Straighten Up will be handled by another Hall of Famer, Mike Smith, as they come out of Post 6.
Here’s the full field in post position order with riders for the I’m Smokin, which will go as Race 7 on the eight-race program:
Kangaroo Court; Cicero Farms’ Moon Ice (Flavien Prat); Reddam Racing’s Hacking It Up (Mario Gutierrez); Aguilar or Garces’ Amigo G A (Ramon Vazquez); Lovingier or 4 Hares Racing’s Good N Thirsty (Hector Berrios); Straighten Up; BG Stables or Royalty Stable’s Merit Song (Joe Bravo), and J. Kirk or Judy Robison’s Giver Not a Taker (Jose Valdivia, Jr.).
Moon Ice, who is trained by John Sadler, is one of those rare horses making his racing debut in a stakes race. The gray colt by the Unusual Heat sire He Be Fire N Ice has turned in a dozen timed workouts since the middle of June, including the last six at five furlongs. The homebred would make a fair splash should he come away a winner here.
Giver Not a Taker drew praise when he won his lone start at Del Mar on August 14 by almost eight lengths. The gelding by Danzig Candy is a homebred who races for top trainer Peter Miller.
First post on the last Friday card of the meeting is 3 p.m.
DMTC Press Release
Photo: Kangaroo Court breaks his maiden on August 20th at Del Mar (Benoit Photo)