09/02/2016 7:02PM

Mo Soul scores upset in I'm Smokin Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Mo Soul and jockey Tiago Pereira win the I'm Smokin Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths Friday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Mo Soul was intended to run in a race at Pleasanton but got sick. Then he was going to run in a race at Santa Rosa, but he ran off and was a late scratch. The plan after that? “There was no plan,” said trainer Terry Knight.

Whether it was Plan A, B, or C – or none of the above – the most-recent decision with Mo Soul paid off. Sent away as a 20-1 shot in the $150,345 I’m Smokin Stakes on Friday at Del Mar, Mo Soul rallied four paths wide into the lane and wore down the favored California Diamond to score a 1 1/4-length victory and remain unbeaten in two starts.

Rinse and Repeat was five lengths farther back in third, then came Milton Freewater, Accountability, Elwood J, and Upstaging the Cast.

Mo Soul, ridden by Tiago Pereira, covered six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:10.21.

Mo Soul won first time out against maiden claimers at Santa Anita in June before an odyssey that kept him from racing until Friday. “He had been training great,” said Knight, who trains Mo Soul for his breeder, the Legacy Ranch of Pete and Evelyn Parrella. “We thought, as good as he was training, if you’re ever going to take a shot, take a shot now.”

The I’m Smokin, for California-bred 2-year-olds, drew seven runners. Mo Soul was the second-longest shot in the field. He earned a first prize of $85,500 and now has career earnings of $104,100. Mo Soul, a gelding, is by the Forest Wildcat stallion Phantom Wildcat.

Knight, who always has run a small, high-percentage barn, said he will be relocating to Southern California in the fall after the Breeders’ Cup.