08/07/2016 7:11AM

Smack Smack wins Downs at Albuquerque Handicap

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Jockey Shane Laviolette rides Smack Smack to victory in the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap on Saturday night.

Smack Smack backed up his 16-1 upset victory in last month’s Grade 3 Cornhusker with another significant stakes win Saturday night, taking the $175,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap by a half-length over Forest Mouse.

It was another half-length back in third to Code West.

The Downs at Albuquerque Handicap was the most prestigious Thoroughbred race of the New Mexico meet. It was supported by the $50,000 Duke City Sprint for 3-year-olds, won by Fork and Dagger ($25.80).

Smack Smack ($4.40) was both the favorite and 122-pound high-weight Saturday night. He was prominent throughout, taking the field through an opening quarter in 25.14 seconds, getting a breather as Overland Park carried on through a half-mile in 48.76, then moving to the fore again through six furlongs in 1:12.17. Smack Smack went on to cover the 1 1/8 mile on a track rated fast in 1:49.40.

“I anticipated a couple of the others in this race might go early, but my horse broke so sharp that I thought that if they were going to let me go, I’d just try to keep the pace as slow as I could,” winning rider Shane Laviolette told media officials with the Downs at Albuquerque.

Laviolette also was aboard for Smack Smack’s win in the Cornhusker at the same distance July 2 at Prairie Meadows. Don Von Hemel trains Smack Smack, who was winning the eighth stakes race of his career. The horse races for his breeder, Toby Keith of Dream Walkin’ Farms.

Smack Smack earned $103,580 for the win Saturday. He has now improved his career record to 10 wins from 27 starts for earnings of $851,430. Smack Smack is a Kentucky-bred by Closing Argument.

Shotgun Kowboy, who was second in the Cornhusker, was scratched from the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap.

Fork and Dagger was facing winners for the first time in the Duke City and led throughout for a 2 1/2-length win over Cowboy Cool. The winner covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.53. Alfredo Juarez Jr., was aboard for Kelley Brooks and trainer Bill Brashears.

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