Smiling Tiger, a Group 1 son of Swettenham Stud sire Hold That Tiger, got back in the winning groove on Saturday when he overcame a stumbling start in the G2 San Carlos Hcp at Santa Anita.
Smiling Tiger (4c Hold That Tiger – Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road) usually races on or near the speed, however, jockey Joel Rosario had to come up with new tactics when the chestnut blew the start. “He knuckled over leaving the gate so I let him settle and relax,” Rosario explained. “He’s a nice, classy horse and showed he can come from off the pace.”
Front-runners Captain Cherokee and Ventana refused the lie down in the lane but Smiling Tiger overhauled the leaders to score by a head clocking 1.20.20s for 1400m. “He’s nominated to G1 Golden Shaheen in Dubai,” trainer Jeff Bonde said. “But he has a chance as a stallion prospect so I would like to keep him home for the G1 Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park in May.”
Smiling Tiger’s previous win came in G1 Ancient Title Stakes last October. He also won the G1 Bing Crosby Stakes earlier in the year as part of a 13: 6-1-6 scorecard and $875,860 in earnings. He was bred in Kentucky and sold for $40,000 at the Washington yearling sale in September 2008.
Hold That Tiger (Storm Cat) was a G1 winner of the Gran Criterium at Longchamp and he shuttles between Swettenham and France. He has sired 255 individual winners of 648 races at a very healthy 59% strike-rate.
Smiling Tiger’s victory came just hours after world champion sprinter Black Caviar won the G1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington. Swettenham sold her (as agent) for $210,000 at the 2008 Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling sale.
The Bel Esprit mare is already an odds-on favourite for the G1 Newmarket on March 12 and Swettenham can land the Flemington feature double with Zipping in the G1 Australian Cup on the same day.
Zipping (Danehill) is currently the $6 favourite for the Australian Cup. He was bred by Swettenham owner Adam Sangster and changed hands for $190,000 at the 2003 Inglis Easter yearling sale.