07/07/2007 12:00AM

Mach Ride pulls upset in Smile

Jim Lisa
Mach Ride wins by two lengths in Saturday's $500,000 Smile Sprint.

MIAMI - Take the home-court advantage, add a set of blinkers, and you wind up with Mach Ride's two-length victory over his fellow Calder-based sprinter Paradise Dancer in Saturday's $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap.

Among the outstanding horses in Mach Ride's wake in the Grade 2 Smile were two of the nation's top-rated sprint sprinters, Smokey Stover and Fabulous Strike, who finished third and fifth in the field of seven older horses.

Mach Ride had gone winless in seven starts dating back to the spring of 2006 before trainer Steve Standridge decided to add blinkers to his equipment for the Champali Stakes here on June 16. Standridge was rewarded with a 7o1/2-length victory from Mach Ride, a 4-year-old son of Pentelicus, who earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for winning the overnight stakes.

In the Smile, Mach Ride and jockey Elvis Trujillo took the race right to the early pacesetters, Weigelia and Fabulous Strike. They readily gained the lead from Fabulous Strike midway on the turn, opened a commanding advantage upon settling into the stretch, and were never menaced thereafter.

"This makes up for a lot of the frustration we've had with this horse," said Standridge. "He is very talented but has had bad luck on several occasions during his racing career."

Paradise Dancer was in tight quarters in the run down the backstretch, eased out leaving the turn, and was easily second, finishing 6o1/2 lengths in front of the even-money Smokey Stover, who raced wide throughout and was never a serious factor. Both Smokey Stover and Fabulous Strike came into the Smile riding four-race win streaks.

Mach Ride, who finished second behind the odds-on Too Much Bling from against the grain of a biased racetrack in the 2006 Carry Back, went six furlongs over a good track in 1:09.89 and paid $17.60. Mach Ride, a homebred owned by the Rustlewood Farm Inc., more than doubled his previous career earnings, with the $300,000 first prize swelling his bankroll to $511,950.