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ELMONT, NY – Mary Abeel Sullivan Revocable Trust’s Get Smokin made every call a winning one to turn the tables on familiar foe Decorated Invader in Sunday’s $150,000 Hill Prince (G2), a one-mile Widener turf test for sophomores at Belmont Park.
Trained by Tom Bush and expertly piloted by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Get Smokin ensured his fourth attempt versus Decorated Invader was successful after finishing third in the Cutler Bay in March at Gulfstream Park and second in the Hall of Fame (G2) in July at Saratoga in races won by his Christophe Clement-trained rival. Both Get Smokin (eighth) and Decorated Invader (fifth) entered the Hill Prince from off-the-board efforts in the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 15.
The free-wheeling Get Smokin once again broke sharply Sunday and led the field of seven through splits of 24.25 seconds and 49.52 over the yielding turf, with Assiduously tracking in second. Decorated Invader, the prohibitive 2/5 mutuel favorite, raced from sixth position under Joel Rosario as Get Smokin continued to dictate a moderate tempo into the turn.
Bodecream advanced along the rail late in the turn with Starting Over following suit to his outside as Decorated Invader was roused into action racing inside of Buy Land and See. Get Smokin maintained a 2-length advantage at the stretch call as Decorated Invader surged beyond Starting Over and angled outside of Assiduously and the stubborn Bodecream to take dead aim at the leader.
Decorated Invader continued to find more inside the final 1/16 under urging from Rosario, but there was no reeling in Get Smokin. who held on for a head score in a final time of 1:36.95.
It was a further 2 lengths back to Bodecream in third, with Buy Land and See, Starting Over, Glynn County, and Assiduously rounding out the order of finish. Chocolate Bar and main-track only entrant Money Moves were scratched.
Castellano, who guided Get Smokin to a second-out maiden score in September 2019 on the Belmont turf, secured his third win in the Hill Prince following scores with Rey de Café (2005) and Outperformance (2006).
“The way I handicapped the race, I felt the horse would fit the mile perfectly,” said Castellano. “The last race was a little longer. The last time the horse won, I was on him when he broke his maiden last year.”
Get Smokin is by the Bush-trained multiple Grade 1-winner Get Stormy, who Castellano piloted to 6 wins in prominent fashion.
“When I got to the paddock, the first thing he (Bush) told me was, ‘Ride him like Get Stormy,’ and that’s what I did,” said Castellano. “I rode his father at Keeneland and New York, too. Today, he was so patient. I was walking the dog, basically. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.”
Get Smokin narrowly missed making the grade in his seasonal debut when second, defeated a 1/2-length to Island Commish in the Kitten’s Joy (G3) on January 4 at Gulfstream Park.
The front-running chestnut continued that run of form at the Hallandale Beach oval with a second in the Dania Beach in February ahead of the Cutler Bay effort.
Following a freshening, Get Smokin returned to action in June at Belmont to be fifth in an allowance tilt ahead of a memorable Hall of Fame run in which he opened up a 7 1/2-length lead at the 1/2-mile, only to be collared late by Decorated Invader. He arrived at the Hill Prince from a pacesetting eighth in the Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 15, where he leapt at the start.
“He’s been in some tough spots in running against the best horses on the East Coast, so we pointed for this race since Saratoga and we’re really delighted,” said Bush. “We weren’t sure about the soft ground, but he handled it.
“I’ve thrown this horse to the wolves,” continued Bush. “He’s one of these rare horses that you’ll see horses that run very out of their condition and they don’t get discouraged and keep being a top runner and that’s the type of horse he is. You’re not breaking his spirit.”
Rosario said Decorated Invader, who won the Summer (G1) at Woodbine as a juvenile, was hampered by traffic trouble when trying to find a clear path for the stretch run.
“With the soft ground, it’s hard to close. He ran well. He put in his effort,” said Rosario. “Turning for home, I had to start moving. Then, the horse in front of me came out a little bit, so that got him out of balance. He ran a good race. He looked like he was going comfortable. He was trying hard, but it’s just too bad we couldn’t get them.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hurstland Farm, Get Smokin banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to 10-2-3-2. He paid $17.40 for a $2 win ticket.
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