07/05/2011 9:47AM

Courageous Cat, Smiling Tiger, and Other Stuff

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A few quick notes on some Independence Day weekend stakes action:

I’m a Caracortado fan, but Courageous Cat was a much more decisive winner of the Shoemaker Mile than his margin of a neck over Caracortado would suggest. But this post-race talk about can’t waiting for Courageous Cat to tackle Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile? Be careful what you wish for. Let’s first hope that Courageous Cat can actually put a complete campaign together, something he hasn’t always been able to do.

The Smiling Tiger who was so impressive winning the Triple Bend? That was the Smiling Tiger everyone’s been waiting for to show up. Oh yeah, the way Smiling Tiger won the Triple Bend after struggling in the Churchill Downs Stakes in his previous outing was also additional evidence of the dead rail that prevailed at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day.

It was sad to see Fabulous Strike come up wanting again, this time in the Mr. Prospector Stakes. Fabulous Strike was for a time the best sprinter in the country a couple of years ago, so he deserves easier assignments if he is to continue his comeback.

Whether it’s a case of the local horsemen not supporting early 2-year-old racing, or a case of track management not sufficiently encouraging/coercing local horsemen to participate in early 2-year-old racing, I thought the New York representation in the Futurity and Matron Stakes was most distressing. Only one of the six males entered in the Futurity was New York-stabled, and only two of the seven females entered in the Matron were New York-based.

Speaking of New York horses in New York stakes, I know Rule and Morning Line were unsuccessful in the Salvator Mile, but why did they run in that New Jersey race instead of the six horse Suburban Handicap in New York on the same day? Rule and Morning Line are New York-based horses, and they happened to have run well at the Suburban’s nine furlong distance in the past.

Yeah, I know he was 4-5 in a four horse field. But Flashpoint was still very impressive dominating the Jersey Shore after a somewhat difficult trip early. He has all the earmarks of a big league sprinter.

And speaking of monsters, there’s Hungry Island. Granted, the Recording Stakes she won was only an overnight event restricted to 3-year-old fillies, but the overwhelming late kick she displayed in her compelling performance is usually the hallmark of only important grass horses. Hungry Island has major wins in her future.