Smoothee Lee should ben­e­fit from re­turn to route dis­tance

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Daily Racing Form - By Randy Gould­ing

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.

KEY CON­TENDERS

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.

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