Seriously thrilling finish courtesy of Hall of Famer Mike Smith
ARCADIA, Calif.—In a thrilling finish, trainer Mark Glatt’s Howbeit was up to win Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, stamping himself as a possible starter in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland on Nov. 5. A $32,000 claim 10 starts back on Feb. 13, 2021, Howbeit, ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, registered his first-ever stakes win today.
Fourth at the rail, about 2 ½ lengths off a three-horse spread comprised of Kid Corleone, Forbidden Kingdom and Super Ocho a quarter of mile from home, Smith angled three-deep at the top of the lane and in a gutty effort, somehow managed to prevail over a late charging C Z Rocket at the fence.
“Mark was really confident, quietly confident in this horse. Told me, ‘Listen, I know we are up against it just a little bit, he’s had some unlucky trips. With a good trip he’s going to give you a good shot at it. Just see if you can get him in the clear early and give him every chance you can.’ And we needed every bit of it. I think he jumped past the wire, and I wasn’t too sure I was in front,” Smith recounted.
“I jumped past the wire, and it looked like the inside horse was in front of me. I was just hoping at the wire I got the nod.
“It was my first time on the horse, but they gave me a lot of great insight on him. Everything they told me was right on. He’s big. He might be a little slow leaving there. You got to help him leaving there, get him in the clear. He doesn’t like dirt in his face. If he gets to the front, he’ll pull up. So, everything they told me was right. We needed just every bit of that race to hang on and win.”
A solid third in a second condition allowance at six furlongs Aug. 27, Howbeit was off at 6-1 in a field of six 3-year-olds and up and paid $14.40, $5.20, and $4.20.
A 5-year-old horse by Secret Circle out of the El Corredor mare Emeralaude, Howbeit, who is owned by It Pays to Dream Stable, Inc., Saints or Sinners, Danny Haramoto, Sheldon Kawahara and Gregory Yamamoto, picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $362,486.
“He’s a really nice horse. Since we claimed him, he’s been very unlucky in his races. There was always something going wrong. On paper, I was confident he fit with this field, the competition and the numbers. So I felt we should supplement him and take a shot.
“I told Mike (Smith) he doesn’t like to get dirt in his face. I thought in breaking from the three hole we could get outside in the clear. The one thing I forgot to tell Mike is that when he makes the lead, he has a tendency to pull himself. Luckily, we got there at the wire,” said trainer Glatt.
In his third career stakes engagement, he improved his overall mark to 25-7-3-2.
In a heart breaker, veteran sprinter C Z Rocket, a winner of the 2020 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, just missed with Ramon Vazquez up at 5-1 and paid $4.60 and $3.60.
Chilean-bred Super Ocho, off at 10-1 with Hector Berrios, paid $6.80 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.58, 44.18 and 56.99.
Santa Anita Press Release
Photo by Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire
UPDATED 10 2 2022 4:10 PM