12/07/2012 3:45PM

Hollywood Park: Fast Bullet 'wastes' huge effort in non-stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Fast Bullet received a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in an optional claiming race Thursday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Fast Bullet was scratched from the Vernon Underwood Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park last Sunday because trainer Bob Baffert was reluctant to run the colt on a deep and drying racetrack.

The consolation race was an optional claimer on Thursday, and Fast Bullet did not disappoint. Fast Bullet ($2.80) gave a stakes-caliber showing, winning the race over 6 1/2 furlongs by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:15.64. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109.

“It was wasted on the allowance race,” Baffert said of the performance. “It’s a shame we had all that rain.”

The 4-year-old Fast Bullet won for the third time in his four-race career. Ridden by Martin Garcia, Fast Bullet set an early pace of 22.73 and 45.72 seconds, leading by at least a length through the first half-mile. In the final furlong, he extended his lead rapidly.

“He’s a very talented horse,” Baffert said.

The optional claimer was Fast Bullet’s first start since a sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, the colt’s first start of 2012. Fast Bullet was beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Trinniberg, racing as close as third in the opening quarter-mile of that race.

Fast Bullet’s next start is likely to be $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Jan.  19, although Baffert stopped short of committing the colt on Friday morning.

“He’ll be in a stakes,” Baffert said.

Dubai major target for Smiling Tiger

The Palos Verdes is already in the plans for Underwood winner Smiling Tiger.

The long-term goal for Smiling Tiger is more ambitious – the $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters in Dubai in March.

Owned by Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz and trained by Jeff Bonde, Smiling Tiger was third in the BC  Sprint last month, and won his eighth career stakes in the Grade 3 Underwood. The Underwood ended a six-race losing streak for Smiling Tiger, who underwent a minor surgery during the summer to improve his breathing.

With only two starts since the summer, and one race planned for the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, Bonde is hopeful that Smiling Tiger will be sharp in early spring for an international trip.

“He’s a fresh horse,” Bonde said. “We’re hoping to take the horse to Dubai.”

Bonde said that Smiling Tiger underwent a breathing operation as a 2-year-old, in 2009. A winner of 9 of 23 starts and $1,480,704, Smiling Tiger has won three Grade 1 races – the Bing Crosby at Del Mar and Ancient Title Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2010, and the 2011 Triple Bend at Hollywood Park.

“He’s a special horse and he’s been in a lot of races,” Lebherz said. “He’s never had an orthopedic procedure.”

Paul Ferg More than 1 year ago
Oh, I wouldn't be too quick on the Dubai angle there Randy.......Royal Delta come back this year and took 4 of 5........
Neil More than 1 year ago
Failed to note just how fast he ran. No horse broke 1:11 for six furlongs on the day. Impressive.
Randy Atkins More than 1 year ago
These American trainers gotta quit sending horses to Dubai...they never win over there and the trip is so tiring to the horse that they can't run when they come home.
Francisco Pannaci More than 1 year ago
Ask trainers Curlin, Invasor, Well Armed, Cigar, Captain Steve, etc . Like baseball, nowadays we are just in a slump.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
When you err on the side of the horse,to maybe protect him from a surface that could hurt him...you make a horseman's decision not a businessman s. That makes me proud of this sport! And he won...That's the Baffert who is a Hall of Famer. For what its worth.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Thomas, are you chewing alumminum foil to get over the agony of writing this...Ha ha. Just razzin.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Actually enjoyed it and the razzing. Thanks Jeff.
Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Well, I agree. Baffert does have the horses' best interests at heart, and he will often give a horse time off whenever he/she needs it. He runs his horses on the surfaces that suit them best, as well.