07/07/2012 6:29PM

Calder: Smile proves easy pickings for Gantry

Coady Photography
Gantry, riddenhby Richard Eramia, is all alone at the finish of the Smile Sprint Handicap.

MIAMI - Gantry proved he is a true six-furlong specialist while at the same time earning himself a free berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint with a surprisingly easy five-length victory over Indiano in Saturday’s $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder.

The Grade 2 Smile was marred when Field Commission was pulled up by jockey Manoel Cruz in the run down the backstretch and vanned off after the race. Several minutes earlier, Peb Hughes was scratched on the advice of the track veterinarian after injuring himself in the starting gate.

Gantry was prominent right from the outset of the Smile, stalking the pace of Artefacto while well rated by regular rider Richard Eramia. Gantry readily overtook the tiring leader approaching the eighth pole and then surged away to a comfortable victory.

Indiano, making his first start of the year, outfinished Close it Out by a nose for second while never threatening the winner. Artefacto was a tiring fourth followed by Apriority, Cajun Breeze, and Atlantic Bull.

Gantry, a gelded son of Pulpit, is owned by the Brittlyn Stable Inc. and trained by Ron Faucheux. The victory was his sixth in as many starts at six furlongs and first in a graded stakes. Gantry had finished third behind Shackleford and reigning division champion Amazombie five weeks ago in the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Churchill Downs.

Gantry covered the distance in 1:10.52 over a fast track and paid $5.80.

 “Six furlongs is his game,” said Faucheux. “We had been thinking about taking him to Iowa for a race but then decided to come here instead and go for the big money and a chance to get into the Breeders’ Cup. The race went perfectly, just as we’d planned.” 

Faucheux said Gantry may have only one more start prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

“Obviously the Breeders’ Cup is our goal now,” said Faucheux. “He’ll probably have only one more race before that, maybe something easy back home in Louisiana.”