11/04/2017 1:48PM

Bookies Luck holds off Smokem in Golden State Juvenile

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bookies Luck (right) paid $5.20 to win the Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar on Saturday.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Bookies Luck was a 14-1 outsider when he won the I’m Smokin Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 1. In Saturday’s Golden State Juvenile at Del Mar, Bookies Luck was 8-5 and a more-collected 2-year-old in the seven-furlong test.

Disputing the pace throughout, Bookies Luck held off a late threat from an unlucky Smokem to win by a nose under jockey Kent Desormeaux. From Desormeaux’s perspective, the Golden State Juvenile was a superior performance.

“He pulled hard last time,” Desormeaux said. “This time, he was floppy-eared and on a loose rein on the backstretch. He had plenty left for the stretch run.”

Bookies Luck ($5.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:24. He set an early pace of 22.30 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.24 for a half-mile.

Smokem finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of Lucky Romano, who raced in traffic on the backstretch. Campaigner was fourth, followed by Night At the Opera, Ministersdontparty and Lucky Pegasus.

Smokem could have won with a better trip. He was checked in traffic at a pivotal point about three furlongs from the finish and finished well with a wide rally under jockey Evin Roman.

“Getting shut off was painful,” trainer Gary Sherlock said.

Even with the trouble, Smokem gave Desormeaux a brief scare.

“The horse that was gaining was game,” he said.

Bookies Luck has won 3 of 6 starts and earned $214,649 for owners and breeders Larry and Marianne Williams. By Lucky Pulpit, Bookies Luck beat maidens in his third start and followed with a career-worst performance – an eighth in the Graduation Stakes here Aug. 6.

Bookies Luck has not lost since.

Trainer Jeff Bonde decided after the I’m Smokin Stakes to wait for the Golden State Juvenile with Bookies Luck, who is now a multiple stakes winner.