07/14/2012 7:41PM

Hollywood Park: Lady of Shamrock finds room on rail to win American Oaks

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Benoit & Associates
Jockey Mike Smith guides Lady of Shamrock to a 1 1/4-length win in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The rail turned out to be Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith’s friend in Saturday’s $350,000 American Oaks at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Last month, Smith blamed himself for finishing second on Paynter in the Belmont Stakes. Paynter was beaten by Union Rags, who snuck through along the rail in the final sixteenth.

In the Grade 1 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on turf, Smith rode favored Lady of Shamrock ($5) to a convincing 1 1/4-length win after saving ground throughout the 1 1/4 miles.

Lady of Shamrock was fifth in early stretch, and Smith kept her inside in the final furlong, sneaking past stretch leader Best Present Ever. My Gi Gi, winner of the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap against Lady of Shamrock on June 9, closed from fifth in the final furlong to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Best Present Ever.

The late kick that Lady of Shamrock showed in the final furlong left Smith impressed.

“She was very explosive and used that to her advantage,” he said. “She’s really something.”

Trained by John Sadler for Kosta Hronis, Lady of Shamrock was timed in 2:03.19.

The American Oaks was the second of three stakes wins Saturday for Sadler, who won the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile earlier in the day with Scherer Magic and the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap for female sprinters with Switch.

Smith had Lady of Shamrock in seventh on the backstretch, racing on the rail about 3 1/2 lengths behind the European shipper Nayarra. A Group 1 winner in Italy last year, Nayarra set a slow early pace of 25.39 and 50.43 seconds. On the turn, Nayarra drifted off the rail, allowing Best Present Ever to challenge for the lead. Smith stayed behind Best Present Ever until the field of eight reached the stretch.

“The one European filly didn’t corner too well and that helped,” Smith said. “I was able to get up in there.”

Sadler said the distance left him hopeful that Smith would find running room.

“I thought over a mile and a quarter she’d eventually get a lane or a seam,” Sadler said. “I’m glad Mike didn’t alter the strategy in a paceless race.”

Miss Cato, another European import, finished fourth, followed by Stormy Lucy, Left a Message, Nayarra, and Colonial Flag. The 3-1 second choice, Colonial Flag raced wide throughout and faded through the stretch.

The runner-up finish by My Gi Gi was a relief to trainer Peter Eurton, who had concerns about the distance.

“I’m quite tickled,” Eurton said. “It was a great effort.”

Lady of Shamrock has won four stakes in her career. A filly by Scat Daddy, Lady of Shamrock has won 5 of 9 starts and $465,400. She won three turf stakes at the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting earlier this year and was an unlucky second to My Gi Gi in the Honeymoon after a troubled trip.

Sadler said the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 18 is a late summer goal for Lady of Shamrock.

JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Nice win on the rail by Lady of Shamrock. From last to first. The rail opened up in a hurry for her in the stretch. My Gi Gi was right behind her streaking to the wire, but unfortunately for her, was trapped behind a wall of horses on the outside before she could shake free. If this keeps up, it could prove to be a pretty good rivalry developing between Lady of Shamrock and My Gi Gi - two very nice, very talented female horses.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
So Bejarano picked Regalo Mia over My Gi Gi, which is understandable considering the question mark regarding My Gi Gi's ability to get 10 furlongs. But it was discovered 2 days ago that Regalo Mia was gonna scratch due to a trip or flight related illness. Shouldn't a trainer like Peter Eurton know that Joe Talamo is a liability on turf and make the raceday change back to Bejarano? I think Talamo is a good rider on the main track, he's way overrated but I think he's actually good especially for a guy his age, just not that good. But he's truly horrible on turf. He was totally outridden by Mike Smith, and if you compare this to the brilliant ride Bejarano gave My Gi Gi in the G2 Honeymoon, I think My Gi Gi could have beaten Lady of Shamrock or at least made it a lot closer. I can't wait for the Del Mar Oaks. There's $$ to be made on My Gi Gi if we get a good turf rider on her. For this Hollywood summer meet, Talamo is 36 for 176 on the main track (20%) but only 9 for 88 on the grass (10%) despite landing on the top 3 horses a good majority of the time.
J. Karlo Santos More than 1 year ago
don't think My Gi Gi would of beaten Lady of Shamrock yesterday with "any" other rider. I agree with your comment that Talamo is better on the main track but yesterday he got stuck behind a wall of horses. It was either waiting or going 5-6 wide. He chose to wait and Mike took the rail and was gone. That's horse racing, I see this every day. Don't blame the jock!!!!
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
She was kicking on at the end. She would have had a much better shot if she had gotten the 2-3 lengths jump on the favorite like Bejarano afforded her in the G2 Honeymoon. It is my belief that Lady of Shamrock is a Mr. Common type, very good but very beatable. It's a fact that Talamo is a lousy jock on turf. I watch over 1000 races a year, bet in about 30-40 every Saturday, and I review every single race at the tracks that I follow either Saturday night or Sunday morning (last Saturday was BEL, BHP, AP, WO, this saturday it will be SAR, DMR, AP, WO). I don't complain against jockeys lightly. The only other ride that ticked me off that I could remember in the past 2-3 months was an overly confident Dominguez on Nicole H against CC's Pal in the Vagrancy.
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
Good comment, J Karlo. The fact of the matter is that My Gigi, though respectable is not in the same class with the Lady, as time and subsequent races, will prove. Would be "gamblers" will always blame someone else for their mis-calculations.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
What's the matter? Couldn't you simply state your opinion like what I had done with mine? Did I even lament any money lost? I did not bet My Gi Gi. I always state my opinions and I support them with my often incisive or creative interpretation of factual events. You stated an opinion and you support it by using personal attack. Only kids do that. You will appear more intelligent if you state an opinion with no ground or basis whatsoever, than to support that opinion with mere personal attack. Any man with high hat should know that.
matt More than 1 year ago
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Talamo has ridden a lot more winners on the turf than you have, but I'll play the game. What would you have done differently if you were the rider on My Gi Gi?
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I am not a jockey. I watch over 1000 races a year, I just know how a race develops. Like I said, go watch the Honeymoon with Bejarano on My Gi Gi. But since you asked nicely, I'll enlighten you. She has a lot more tactical than Lady of Shamrock, she's supposed to get the jump on the favorite by at least 2-3 lengths to have a chance. That's exactly what Bejarano gave her in the Honeymoon, as well as the G3 Senorita in which she lost a head bob to Bobina, an unbeaten filly who broke down badly at the wire, rest in peace.
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
wherever you take her, John, she,s going to fire. I,m glad you wound up with her to train.
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
Another race to illustrate the shameful practice of breakage and the continuance of the dark ages to rip off the bettors even more. It's bad enough to have a high win pool takeout of 15.43%. This produced a 5.19 mutual price for the backers Lady of Shamrock. In today's technology, would it really be a problem to pay bettors 5.19? I mean, most betting is done through computers at ADW sites these days anyway. But nooooooo, god forbid. Do they round up a lousy .01 to 5.20? noooooooooo. They decide to round 5.19 down to 5.00.(they ALWAYS round down) This makes the win pool takeout on this race 18.55%. Wake up horseplayers, you're being taken advantage of. If you want to bet into a high 15.43% takeout win pool, the least the track and the state could do is ACTUALLY PAY YOU A 15.43% takeout, not gouge you an extra 3% when the mutual falls around 5.19
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
if these kind of of percentages are actually important to you, Jack, iYou may be better off in the stock market. I was delighted with the pay-off. It was like picking money off the street! I suspect you bet on football games and lose money there as well.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I think Jack raised a completely legitimate point. Perhaps he's a professional gambler who bet a few thousand dollars to win in the races that he likes. I could see that adding up to tens of thousands of dollars every year.
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
You are right. To a professional, percentages are critical. Betting on horses is not what most 'professional gamblers" do for a living. They have better sense or better control of their risk. Racetrack gambling involves emotion. Favorite horses-jockeys-trainers,etc.This guy may eke out a profit with his percentages and his method. But I doubt that he'll ever know what it feels like to win a thousand dollar exacta with a twenty dollar box
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
Jerome, you have really embarrassed yourself with your responses. I mean, only a moron could argue the fact that he is "delighted" he got 5.00 instead of the 5.19 he was supposed to get. I've bet horses for 30+ years, and have had more big hits than your little mind could even imagine. I've hit pick 3's and triples for over 10k on numerous occasions, so believe me, I know the thrill of winning a big ticket on a cheap box. I also have made 10k+ scores on soccer tournaments, golf tournaments, and even bet the spelling bee one year. And don't even bring up football, because i have some real nice cars and a boat from football. Some from betting, and some from taking bets, but it's all relative. How you pick the horse is irrelevant to the topic, the point was, you're getting screwed by the take-out and breakage. You are correct on one point, there are almost no professional gamblers betting horses anymore. Why? Because they realize betting into 20% holds and betting against your own money at small tracks is a losing proposition and a waste of time. What it also does is take more money from losers such as yourself. You don't win every race, do you? And I assume you bet over 50 races a year, so even you should be able to comprehend what an extra 10-15% in your pocket means. Like I said, they advertise taking 15.43% from the win pool, they should pay that, not round down from 5.19 to 5.00. Even a mental midget like you should agree that that is ridiculous.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
There are many people who bet on horses for a living and it is very controlled. Most simply spot underlay and overlay situations in the win pool and bet as many as they can find, some does the same when there's an under/overlaid entry in the place pool compared to the win pool. Some simply rely on a computer program, especially overseas syndicates.
Jerome Moynihan More than 1 year ago
I somehow suspect that you and Jack Brandt are the same person. Both are like most self-described "gamblers" I have had the mis-fortune to run into, especially at the race-track.Congratulating themselves loudly when they win, blaming someone else when they don't.Genuine gamblers are,for the most part,humble, and have a healthy regard for luck.I won't respond to the petty remarks made re my mentality, tho I I am certain those remarks reflect your own lack of that commodity. In fact,I wish you luck with your percentages, etc. And hope you learn that horse-racing is fun! Especially when you win.
jack brandt More than 1 year ago
Dumb and paranoid, what a combination. Yeah, I really feel the need to have aliases and multiple accounts on a comment board. (i hope the sarcasm came through). And you're right, horse racing is fun, and you know when it's REALLY fun?, When you can make a profit from it for the year. Every bet outcome has luck involved. If i bet on a coin flip, it's all luck. If I bet on a coin flip getting +110 on my money, its still luck , but i have an edge. And what happens when I bet 1,000 coin flips getting +110 every time? A profit. And therein lies the skill, if you could get someone to pay you +110 on you're money for 1,000 coin flips. And manage your money so you dont go broke during a bad stretch. Now you try win betting 5 and 6 horse fields with 18% takeouts at Emerald Downs where you're betting against your own money to boot, and it won't matter how lucky you are because you'll lose every year if you bet any volume of races, and that's the shame of it, because I really like that track and wouldn't mind trying to beat my fellow horseplayers during a meet. And by the way, I've been around professional gamblers all my life, especially at the poker table, and while some are very nice people, most are not humble, they all have a certain confidence, and a few are just downright arrogant, but there as genuine as they get, because they pay the bills through gambling. And as someone whose spent at least a week at Saratoga for the last 25 years, I'm there for a good time and could care less about the hold when I'm there. But what you fail to realize, is that pari-mutual as defined by law is supposed to be a player vs. player game where the operator takes a 5% commission. That's from a 1931 Kentucky Supreme court case. Racing used to have 5% holds, and the sport flourished and people could play horses, have fun, AND have a chance to make a yearly profit. But governments , like the cancer they are, started wanting a cut of the pool, and low and behold, they've run the sport into the ground. And if you think losing customers every year for the last 50 years is a good thing, then you just keep defending high takeouts, and watch this great sport fade into oblivion.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
That's my problem. I've been doing this so long that I don't feel any more. The best poker face at any racetrack that I go to, and my total monthly bets average over $250k a month.
MJP More than 1 year ago
Smith is now cognizant of the fact that the rail is advantageous. Good on you old man!!! Too bad that you in your somnolence couldn't be arsed to (racing 101) shut off the rail in the Belmont.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
The man has 5000 wins. He's done it all, good and bad, probably more bad than good since 20% strike rate is a great overall career winning percentage for even the best jockeys we've ever seen. He's gotten through the rail hundreds of times, including on Zenyatta whom he normally just switched on the pre-programmed 6-wide autopilot (check out her improbable run in the 2010 Santa Margarita). For the record, Mike Smith gave Paynter an above average ride in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. It was a very good ride through 11 furlongs, calm and quietly confident - do not doubt for a second that Paynter just got brave winging it on the front end from the quiet confidence that Mike Smith displayed in him. A jockey has to take care of the horse that possesses an immediate challenge on the outside, so that's what he did after Atigun made that flashy 4-wide move rounding the turn. Only in hindsight that Mike Smith's excellent ride on Paynter in the Belmont Stakes became just above average. New York is home for me. I go to Belmont and Aqueduct about 2-3 times a week, and I rent a house in Saratoga for 4-6 weeks every summer. I see Mike Smith in person all the time. Have you noticed that giant padding on his back? It's like the SWAT team doubling up on the bulletproof vest going into a surefire violent engagement. I don't know for sure but I think he's been wearing that thing since his last serious back injury. Some big name riders like Ramon Dominguez and John Velazquez are well known for their exaggerated looking around for the challenges to come motion when they're sitting on a big favorite. Well, Mike Smith doesn't do any of that, he probably couldn't with that big armor on his back. So I'm willing to give him a flyer and believe him when he said that he didn't notice Union Rags coming up on the rail until it was too late - probably not too late for some guys but I meant to say too late for a class act like Mike Smith who wasn't gonna do anything dramatic to open the door for the stewards to decide the outcome. Holy cow! I can't even believe that I got tricked into writing such a big essay.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Union Rags caught and went by Paynter. 'It's Official.'