01/24/2011 3:00PM

Euroears a candidate for Dubai trip

Benoit & Associates
Euroears, with Mike Smith up, wins the Palos Verdes

ARCADIA, Calif – Euroears, the upset winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita, may be bound for Dubai in March.

Trainer Bob Baffert, whose stable is off to an electrifying start in 2011, said on Sunday that Euroears is a candidate for the $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters at Meydan Racecourse on March 26.

“He ran like he’s worked,” Baffert said. “I thought he’d run well if he ran to his back class. When he was 4, he looked like he’d be the best sprinter in the country.

“I nominated for the Dubai race,” Baffert said. “That’s an option considering how fast he is.”

Owned by Jim and Marilyn Helzer, Euroears has won 9 of 17 starts and $491,562. In the winter of 2007-08 at Fair Grounds, Euroears won four consecutive races, including three sprint stakes while trained by Bret Calhoun.

The Palos Verdes was the first start for Euroears since a 13th-place finish in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap on turf at Churchill Downs on July 4. Sent off at 9-1 in a field of six, Euroears led throughout the Palos Verdes, setting a quick pace of 21.56 and 43.47 seconds. Ridden by Mike Smith, Euroears led by 2 1/4 lengths in the stretch and won by 2 1/2 lengths over 28-1 Captain Cherokee.

Smiling Tiger, the 2-5 favorite, could finish only third after failing to make an early lead. Trainer Jeff Bonde said no plans have been finalized on whether Smiling Tiger will be sent to Dubai.

Baffert’s stable leads the nation’s trainers in earnings this year. Through Sunday, Baffert’s runners had banked $839,944, leading runner-up Todd Pletcher by $117,153.

The Helzers are best known as the owners of the famous Quarter Horse Refrigerator.