Get Smokin is a horse with a big long stride, and when he gets that rhythm going, he’s a very effective horse. Those were the words of trainer Thomas Bush, who conditions Get Smokin, winner of Saturday’s 35th running of the Tampa Bay Stakes (Gr. 3). Junior Alvarado piloted the son of Get Stormy to a 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race on the turf.
Nonagenerian and Vero Beach resident Mary Abeel Sullivan owns Get Smokin. “Junior said there was just a little bit of cut in the ground,” said Bush, who conditioned the winner’s sire, Grade One winner Get Stormy. “And he really likes that, this horse. “The chestnut gelding took nearly 2 1/2 months away from the races, having last started in the Hollywood Derby (Gr. 1) at Del Mar in late November. and the respite yielded favorable results. Get Smokin’s other added money score came last October in the Hill Prince Stakes (Gr. 2) at Belmont Park over a yielding turf course. “They all like a little rest,” said Bush. “It’s good for them. We’re thrilled with the effort. “His next start may come this spring,” said Bush.
Get Smokin’s pedigree may have him pointed toward a specific race. “We’ll have to see how he’s doing, but we’re thinking about the Maker’s Mark,” said Bush, who at one time worked for trainer Cy Butler walking hots. “We’d love to win a Grade One at Keeneland because of the stallion because he won the Maker’s Mark himself.
“The idea was to go to the lead, said Alvarado. However, he was well aware of Proven Strategies pace setting prowess. “We had to go with plan a, and if that doesn’t work we go to plan b,” said Alvarado, who is a son of a jockey. “Coming into the first turn we knew we had to sit back because it wasn’t necessary to go head-to-head. That’s what I did. He was very kind to come back to me, and relax behind the horse without fighting me. And when I hit the 3/8ths pole, and put him right in the clear on the outside, he knew what to do. He started picking it up on his own and moving forward. And as I turned for home, I just had to keep him happy.”
Story and Photo: Ben Baugh