DEL MAR, Calif.— The chestnut gelding Giver Not a Taker tracked widest of all throughout the six-furlong, $125,000 I’m Smokin Stakes Friday at Del Mar, but the ground he gave up didn’t matter at the end as he ran fastest through the lane to score by two and a quarter lengths in the California-bred feature.
Veteran Jose Valdivia, Jr. handled the winner confidently as race favorite Straighten Up cut out splits of :22.46, :45.16 and :57.48 before “Taker” surged to the front inside the eighth pole and registered the final time of 1:09.82.
Peter Miller trains the winner for owner/breeders J. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, Texas. Miller and the Robisons teamed up to win this same race in 2020 with Good With People.
Second-place finisher Straighten Up is owned by KMN Racing, while Aguilar or Garces’ Amigo G A checked in third, nearly eight lengths behind the runner up.
Giver Not a Taker, a son of Danzing Candy, picked up a check for $71,250 and, added to his purse of $48,000 for his handy maiden score at Del Mar on August 14 in his only other start, he now sports a bankroll of $119,250.
The winner paid $4.60, $2.40 and $2.10 across the board. Straighten Up returned $2.40 and $2.10, while Amigo G A paid $3.60 to show.
JOSE VALDIVIA, JR. (Giver Not a Taker, winner) – “He’s always been very straight forward and even after t(his first) race we worked him a couple times and he just keeps getting better and better. I keep telling Peter that I keep waiting for him to do something wrong, but he just always seems to be going forward and is relaxed. For his second start he was very calm. We got a good break away from there and it was just a matter of waiting and asking.”
PETER MILLER (Giver Not A Taker, winner) – “Around the quarter pole I felt good, but at the eighth pole I felt really good. A great ride. Jose (Valdivia) is a great rider and he did a great job. The owners, their grandson is getting married right now at L’Auberge Hotel and they’re longtime clients and it’s just special.”
FRACTIONS: :22.46 :45.16 :57.48 1:09.82
The stakes win was the second of the meet for rider Valdivia, Jr., but his first in the I’m Smokin. He now has 14 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer Miller, but his second (Good With People) in the I’m Smokin. He now has 45 stakes wins at Del Mar.
The winning owners are Jr. Kirk and Judy Robison of El Paso, TX.
DMTC Press Release
Main photo: Giver Not a Taker takes the I’m Smokin (Benoit Photo)