Smokin’ T comes out on top in a three-way photo in the $135K Lure (Jetta Vaughns)
Plans for Personal Best, Limited Liability Yet To Be Determined
Bernard Baruch or Allowance Company Next for Fort Washington
NYRA Press Office
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— DATTT Stable’s Kentucky homebred Smokin’ T garnered a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure for his off-the-pace score in Saturday’s $135,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for older horses who have not won a graded contest this year, at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Smokin’ T bobbled at the start but was expertly piloted by fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez from 4 1/2 lengths off the pace to race four-wide into the stretch and fend off the New York-bred Dakota Gold by a neck. It was the first stakes coup of his career and came on the heels of a three-quarter-length defeat to Big Everest in the Cliff Hanger on May 27 at Monmouth Park.
McGaughey praised the ride from Velazquez, who rode the son of War Front for the first time since a win three starts back in a second-level optional claimer on May 5 at Churchill Downs in similar fashion.
“He came back good and I’m proud of him,” said McGaughey. “That’s what we wanted – to sit a little bit off the pace. Johnny rode him at Churchill pretty much the same way, so he knew him. He was trying to get him to settle good, he did, and he had horse when they came to him. I thought he rode an excellent race.”
McGaughey indicated Smokin’ T could point to the 1 1/16-mile $150,000 Bernard Baruch on September 4 next in hopes of securing his first open-company stakes coup.
“That’d be a nice thought if he comes out of it good,” said McGaughey. “It’s a bit of a step up, but I think this race will help him. We’ll go from there.”
Smokin’ T now boasts a career record of 15-4-1-4 for purse earnings in excess of $300,000. He is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Ghostzapper mare Wine Princess, who DATTT Farm purchased in 2014 for $3 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale.
On Sunday, McGaughey sent out several trainees for works over the Spa’s Oklahoma turf training track, including Joseph Allen’s homebred graded stakes-winner Personal Best who went solo and Stuart Janney, III’s homebred graded stakes-placed Limited Liability, who went in company with Allen Stable and Peter Brant’s graded stakes-placed Fort Washington.
Personal Best and Limited Liability each had their first work back since respective starts on July 22 at Monmouth Park, where the former finished fifth in the Grade 3 Matchmaker and the latter finished a close fourth in the Grade 1 United Nations. Fort Washington has not raced since an even seventh in the Grade 2 Fort Marcy on May 6 at Belmont.
McGaughey said plans for Personal Best and Limited Liability’s next outing are yet to be determined. The veteran conditioner added it is unlikely Personal Best would start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Flower Bowl on September 2 at the Spa.
“They worked fine and will run once before we go back to Belmont,” said McGaughey. “Limited Liability won’t run here and we’ll find something for him back there. Personal Best is coming off one race in a good while, so we’ll look for something a little easier than the Flower Bowl.”
McGaughey added it is possible Fort Washington could join Smokin’ T in the Bernard Baruch next, but allowance company remains a practical option.
“Fort Washington worked good and solid,” said McGaughey. “He’s eligible for the ‘two-other-than.’ He could also be one of the Bernard Baruch, but we’ll see.”