09/01/2005 11:00PM

Potential stars in I'm Smokin

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DEL MAR, Calif. - There will not be many starters in Monday's $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes for California-bred 2-year-olds at Del Mar. But the runners that will appear have given hints that they could have promising careers, and not just in statebred races.

There are four leading contenders for the six-furlong I'm Smokin - Bro Lo, Brother Derek, Da Stoops, and Irish Bar. Only Irish Bar has stakes experience, having run third in the Graduation Stakes behind Cougar Mtn Lodge on July 27. Cougar Mtn Lodge was not nominated to the I'm Smokin Stakes, but he could have been supplemented when entries were taken on Saturday.

Bro Lo had the flashiest performance of the four contenders, winning a maiden race for statebreds by eight lengths on July 20. He ran five furlongs in 56.46 seconds.

Unfortunately, Bro Lo's preparation for the race has not been ideal. He emerged from his maiden win with sore shins, which kept him out of training in late July and early August.

"It did take him a week or so until he bounced back to life," trainer Doug O'Neill said. "Maybe he did run too fast. I was surprised he ran that well."

Bro Lo resumed workouts in mid-August.

"He put on some weight and filled out," O'Neill said.

Owned and bred by David and Billie Farr, Bro Lo is by In Excess.

Da Stoops, who is by Distorted Humor, ran second to Bro Lo on July 20 and returned to win a maiden race for statebreds by 8 1/4 lengths on Aug. 7. Da Stoops was acquired by a partnership last year after he failed to reach his reserve at the Del Mar yearling sale when bidding stopped at $100,000.

Brother Derek and Irish Bar are trained by Dan Hendricks. Brother Derek, by Benchmark, won his debut at Hollywood Park on May 14, but was out of training in the summer because of illness.

Irish Bar, who is by Bartok, beat maidens at Hollywood Park on July 14 before making a quick turnaround 13 days later to finish third in the Graduation Stakes over 5 1/2 furlongs.

Tucked Away undergoes surgery

Tucked Away, a winner of statebred and graded stakes, underwent surgery on Thursday evening to stabilize her right foreleg, which was injured in a workout on Wednesday.

Trainer Paddy Gallagher said early indications were that the surgery was a success, although Tucked Away did briefly experience trouble with the mobility of a hind leg when she emerged from anesthesia.

"She seems to be better this morning," Gallagher said on Friday.

Tucked Away cracked a sesamoid in her right foreleg while working on turf on Wednesday.

Owned by Nico Nierenberg, Tucked Away will not start again. She was scheduled to be sold at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, but plans are now unclear.

By Unusual Heat, Tucked Away won 5 of 29 starts and $582,956. By far her most important win came in the Grade 2 Clement Hirsch Handicap last month. In 2004, Tucked Away won the Solana Beach Handicap at Del Mar.

CTBA launches hall of fame

The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association is forming a hall of fame to honor the horses and people that have made a significant contribution to the sport.

The inaugural class of the hall of fame will be announced in February in conjunction with the organization's annual meeting.

The balloting will not be open to the full membership of the CTBA. The first group of inductees will be chosen by past presidents of the CTBA and the organization's board of directors, according to a statement on the CTBA's website. Past presidents will make nominations, with the inductees selected by the board of directors.