Smoothee Lee should benefit from return to route distance
Smoothee Lee looks tough to beat in a $25,000 claiming race for nonwinners of two that will serve as the feature race Sunday at Emerald Downs. The one-mile race for 3-year-olds and up drew five horses and goes as the second race. The nine-race card that begins at 2 p.m. Pacific closes the penultimate weekend at Emerald this year.
The closing-day feature next Sunday is the $100,000 Getaway Stakes for 3-year-olds that will feature a rematch between Sippin Fire and Weekend Wizard. The multiple stakes winners put on quite a show in the Muckleshoot Derby on July 29. The pair hooked up at the top of the stretch in the 1 1/8-mile race and battled it out to the wire with Sippin Fire emerging the winner. The $50,000 Gottstein Futurity also will be part of the final-day festivities.
Trained by Frank Lucarelli, Smoothee Lee was good enough to finish second to Sippin Fire in the Seattle Slew Stakes on July 8. Lucarelli was as surprised as everyone else when he came from a stalking position to edge Boundary Bay for the runner-up spot at 44-1.
“We knew he wanted to go long and took a shot because route races weren’t filling,” Lucarelli said after the Seattle Slew. “We went into the race as a longshot and came out a derby contender.”
Smoothee Lee was a contender for six furlongs in the Muckleshoot Derby, but after sitting close to a rapid pace he faded to finish seventh. In his latest start, he ran evenly to finish third going 6 1/2 furlongs in a $25,000 conditional claimer Aug. 26.
He drew post 3 Sunday and should get a nice trip from a stalking position with Austin Solis retaining the mount.
Smoothee Lee, by Sidney’s Candy Last 3 Beyers: 71-45-72
◗ He was trending in the right direction when he was the runner-up in the Seattle Slew, and it was encouraging to see him rebound with a good race after not being able to keep up in the Muckleshoot Derby.
◗ He should appreciate the move back to a route following a solid effort in his latest sprint.
Desert Prophet, by Exchange Rate Last 3 Beyers: 65-42-45
◗ Trained by Doris Harwood, he improved dramatically when he went around two turns for the first time to win a one-mile, $15,000 maiden-claiming race Aug. 3. It is easy to imagine him taking a big step forward with the experience behind him.
◗ The improved performance could be attributed to leading jockey Rocco Bowen riding him for the first time. Bowen will be aboard when he breaks from post 2.
Rainrebel, by Atta Boy Roy Last 3 Beyers: 52-64-47
◗ The Rosie Simkins 4-yearold didn’t fire in the same race Smoothee Lee exits, but his race two back going one mile in a $25,000 conditional claimer puts him in the mix.