07/15/2013 1:32PM

California Fair notes: She's a Tiger filling big shoes for Bonde

Email
Shigeki Kikkawa
She's a Tiger, a three-quarter sister to Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger, wins the Landaluce at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

Trainer Jeff Bonde lost millionaire sprinter Smiling Tiger to retirement last week but, to paraphrase an old Esso advertising campaign, he still has a tiger in the tank.

She’s a Tiger, a three-quarter sister to Smiling Tiger, was an impressive debut winner at Pleasanton and made it 2 for 2 Saturday with a wire-to-wire victory under Frank Alvarado in the $150,000 Landaluce for 2-year-old fillies at Betfair Hollywood Park.

She’s a Tiger set fractions of 21.91 seconds and 45.55, and held off the closing E Equalsmcsquared by three-quarters of a length in 1:12.04 for six furlongs.

“She got tired at the end,” Bonde said.

The Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 7 at Del Mar is the next goal for the She’s a Tiger, Bonde said.

As for Smiling Tiger, he won three Grade 1 sprints, the Bing Crosby, Ancient Title, and Triple Bend, and was the third-place finisher in the 2010 and 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprints.

Bonde and owners Alan Klein and Phil Lebherz were planning on one last campaign for Smiling Tiger and another shot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The 6-year-old horse was training at Pleasanton and recorded a best-of-12 35.60-second three-furlong work June 15. Before he could work again, he reaggravated a suspensory problem.

“We couldn’t make the goals we set for him, so we decided to retire him,” Bonde said. “We didn’t want to cheapen him up, because he’s been too good to us.”

Lebherz recently purchased the Premier Equine Center in Oakdale in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Smiling Tiger will stand at stud there next year.

Strong start at Sacramento

The California State Fair at Sacramento had an increase in the ontrack handle from last year’s opening weekend, according to racing secretary Tom Doutrich. The meet began last Friday, ran through Sunday, and picks up again Wednesday.

Entries have been taken for Wednesday-Friday of Week 2, and the Thoroughbred races for those days average eight runners. Among the races those days are a $50,000 optional claimer, $25,000 optional claimer, a maiden special weight, and a starter allowance with a $22,000 purse for horses that have run for a $6,250 tag.

Twelve fillies and mares were nominated for Saturday’s $75,000 Filly & Mare Sprint, although two are entered in a Thursday Del Mar allowance race with an $85,000 purse.

“The $75,000 purse doesn’t look too good when you look at Del Mar’s [condition] book,” said Doutrich, although the purse is higher than many Northern California stakes.

Among the nominees to the Filly & Mare Sprint are Fightin Mean Mad, who won her 2013 debut at Pleasanton; stakes winners Going for a Spin and Marks Mine, who was second in the California Wines Stakes at Pleasanton; English Royal, runner-up in this race last year; and Hidinginplainsight and Distinctive Yolie, first and second in Golden Gate’s Camilla Urso.

Owner-breeder Carole Chaiken dies

Carole Chaiken, 74, an owner and breeder, died earlier this month after a long battle with breast cancer.

Chaiken and her husband, Don, owned millionaire Dixie Dot Com with the late Bart and Ronelle Heller.

She ran most of her horses with trainer Bill Morey Jr. and a few with his son, Billy.

“She was a great lady, great family, and great client,” said Billy Morey, whose dad is home recuperating from recent surgery. “Dixie Dot Com was probably the highlight for her, and she really enjoyed racing. She’ll be missed.”