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Four weeks ago, there was a dandy of a finish in the Graduation Stakes that saw three colts within a length of each other in the five and a half-furlong feature. Those same three California-bred lads will be back at it again this Friday in the 34th edition of the I’m Smokin Stakes, this time at six furlongs.
The race, one of the 39 events that make up the Golden State Series worth $4.85 million that are run up and down the state over the course of the year, is the last of eight Cal-bred stakes offered during the summer at Del Mar. This one carries a purse of $125,000.
The feature will be Race 6 on the eight-race Friday program. First post that day is slated for 3 p.m.
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The trio of youngsters who put on the show in the Graduation are Brown or Ganje’s Lord Prancealot, Lovingier, London or Zondio’s Last Call London and Tom Halasz’s Mici’s Express.
Lord Prancealot was the winner that day, going wire to wire under Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux and hanging on late to tally by a head. Second was Last Call London, who teamed with Del Mar’s leading rider Juan Hernandez to just miss in the dash. And third, a fast-closing three quarters of a length away, was Mici’s Express, who was handled by Tiago Pereira.
Not surprisingly, all three riders are back for the I’m Smokin, which has drawn a total of seven runners, all of them winners of at least one race.
Though Lord Prancealot’s speed must be reckoned with again in the I’m Smokin, Handicapping 101 says the extra half furlong of the Friday test could well work to the advantage of the other two colts, both of whom closed well last out. The possibilities – either way – are what makes up a delicious stew for horse players on the Friday card.
Of the other runners in the test, Dr. No No appears to be the most interesting. The Smiling Tiger colt won for fun in a straight maiden race here on August 13, his second start. He well could be the “X” factor in the I’m Smokin.
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