02/22/2013 3:57PM

Oaklawn Park: Humble Smarty still going strong at age 9

Canterbury Park
Humble Smarty, now 9, earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for winning his 2013 debut.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Humble Smarty won his maiden by more than three lengths at Oaklawn in February 2007. He ran an even better race here last month. Humble Smarty won a six-furlong optional claimer in 1:10.60, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 94 in his first start at age 9. The effort will make him a strong favorite Sunday in the $50,000 Nodouble Breeders’ at Oaklawn.

The Nodouble, which the last two years has been won by the now-retired Comedero, is for 3-year-olds and up bred in Arkansas. The race drew a field of 10, including local stakes winners The Mallard Man and Primetime Dreamer, and the sharp Breckenridge.

Humble Smarty appears to be the controlling speed in the six-furlong Nodouble. He also owns the field’s best last-race Beyer for his score in the $32,000 optional claimer. He has since worked a bullet, going three-eighths in 36 seconds Feb. 14.

“He’s training great; he’s happy,” said Brett Creighton, who owns Humble Smarty and played a key role in raising him when his dam died immediately after giving birth.

“This morning he was squealing and bucking like a 2-year-old.”

Humble Smarty, a three-time stakes winner, will break from post 8 under regular rider Alex Birzer.

“A great trip for us is, we like the front,” said Jerry Donaldson, who trains Humble Smarty. “His last race he set all the fractions and kept going. I’d like to see that again. You get in a lot less trouble when you’re on the lead.”

A stretch threat will be The Mallard Man, who closed for third in this race last year and who last out ran second in a statebred $30,000 claiming sprint at Oaklawn.

“Six furlongs is not his distance, but we’re hoping he’ll run a good race,” said Al Cates, who trains The Mallard Man for Five Star Racing Stable. “These are the Arkansas-bred [options].

“But he’s doing great. He ran second last time, so hopefully he’ll run a big race. But, really, going long is his thing.”

The Mallard Man’s biggest career win came in the Arkansas Breeders’ at 1 1/16 miles, and he is again pointing to that April 7 race.

Breckenridge will be seeking his third consecutive win for the owner-trainer team of Maggi Moss and Chris Richard. Moss had won with 8 of 13 starters through Thursday to lead the Oaklawn owner standings, while Richard leads all trainers here with a 15-for-35 record through Thursday.