06/12/2012 3:44PM

Golden Gate Fields notes: Smarty Corn makes her own luck


Smarty Corn, a 4-year-old Smarty Jones filly trained by Bob Hess Sr., scored her third straight wire-to-wire victory Sunday in her return from a seven-week freshener, winning a $62,500 optional claimer at the second allowance condition. Because she ran for the claiming price, she’s eligible to come back in that spot.

Hess was pleased with the effort, but said the filly had a “perfect trip.”

It may have been perfect, but it was because she took command early in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, relaxed while running even fractions, and responded well when challenged in the lane by runner-up Noise of the Crowd. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

The victory was the second straight on turf for Smarty Corn and made her 2 for 3 on the surface.

A $28,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2009, Smarty Corn is bred nicely for the turf. Her dam, Lady Cheyne, scored all three of her victories on grass and had two stakes placings on the surface.

“She’s bred to run on the turf, but I had her full sister [Diamond Ice Queen], and she couldn’t run on turf,” said Hess.

Smarty Corn set the pace before finishing fourth in her turf debut last year and came out of the race with a small crack in her shin that sidelined her nearly nine months before her return in January. Two starts into her return, Hess took a chance and ran her for a $20,000 claiming price. She ran fourth in that Tapeta sprint, but she wasn’t claimed, and Hess was able to enter her in a claim-proof starter allowance race in her next start.

She ran third sprinting in that starter race and then won at a mile on Tapeta before winning at 1 1/16 miles on the turf for the first allowance condition on April 21.

“She’s finally come around,” said Hess, who has twice seen Smarty Corn flip in the gate, although she was uninjured each time.

Hess said one reason he has run the filly at 1 1/16 miles in her last two starts is because turf races at Golden Gate Fields start in the chute far away from the crowd. Hess said the filly is never a problem in the gate in the morning and is always calm in the paddock, and he can’t explain why she has had gate problems.

Smarty Corn is owned by Daxter Corn and Mike Moreno. Corn’s father, Curtis, whose stakes winner Oats And Corn ran for Hess 30 years ago, died shortly after the filly’s first win.

Hess is considering the Alameda County Fillies and Mares at Pleasanton on June 30 for Smarty Corn, or maybe something on the turf in Southern California. “Pleasanton is usually speed-favoring, but it would be her first start on the dirt,” he said.

Lost in the Fog: mostly winless

Saturday’s $50,000 five-furlong Lost in the Fog Stakes for 2-year-olds has seven possible starters with only one winner, Go Papi Go, confirmed as a likely starter.

Also expected to run are Uncle Enroy, second and third in his first two starts; Red Deputy, who has one third in three starts; and maidens Anytime Magic, Pearl Seeker, and Surprise Sale. Jeff Bonde says that he will enter one of his three nominees, Saint Prado, second in his debut, or maidens Slippery Sale or Tahoe Flash.

Shudacudawudya fine

Shudacudawudya, arguably Northern California’s top sprinter, is fine despite being vanned off when pulled up in a five-furlong turf sprint Saturday.

According to trainer Lloyd Mason, Francisco Duran, Shudacudawudya’s regular jockey, said the horse “was slipping badly on the turn. so he pulled him up to be safe.” Mason added that three veterinary inspections of his star found no problems.

Mason said he entered the race as a prep for the upcoming Sam Whiting at Pleasanton and to see how Shudacudawudya liked the turf. He said he plans to run his star at Pleasanton.