DEL MAR, CA – Slam Dunk Racing and Michael Nentwig’s El Tigre Terrible swept to the lead a furlong out and shot away to dominate Friday’s $125,000 Real Good Deal Stakes at Del Mar.
Sent from post 4 as the even-money favorite under Flavien Prat, El Tigre Terrible settled at the rear of the field. Let’s Rejoyce dueled with Margot’s Boy to his inside while posting opening fractions of 22.51 and 45.69.
Blocked in behind horses through the far turn, El Tigre Terrible spotted room near the top of the stretch and went three-wide before straightening out. El Tigre Terrible took command at the 1/8 pole and quickly kicked clear, drawing off to win handily by 4 3/4 lengths.
The Peter Miller trainee posted a final time of 1:24.28 for the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint restricted to California-bred 3-year-olds.
“He broke just a bit slowly today, so he put himself in behind the leaders and was comfortable there,” Prat said. “We had good pace to run at, so that was good. When it came time for him to perform, he performed.”
Rookie Mistake took second over Lightning Fast, himself just ahead of Phantom Boss and Margot’s Boy. Clayton Delaney and Let’s Rejoyce completed the order of finish.
El Tigre Terrible’s win was his second at the stakes level, having won the open-company Speakeasy Stakes on the Santa Anita Park lawn last October. The 3-year-old Smiling Tiger gelding’s record now stands at 8-4-1-1 with $210,510 earned.
“It was very frustrating, he’s had two very bad trips the last two races and I thought he was getting in trouble again here,” Miller said. “He had a horse to his outside and it looked like he was running up on heels again, but Flavien knew what he was doing and he was the best horse. I am very nervous in those moments. He’s a hard-trying little horse with a lot of ability. He loves Del Mar and we hope we can get him in again before the end of meeting.”
El Tigre Terrible returned $4.20 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.20 to show. Rookie Mistake brought back $3.60 to place and $2.60 to show, while Lightning Fast paid $3.40 to show.