11/07/2009 12:00AM

Smart Bid shows he's for real in Damascus


ARCADIA, Calif. - Seven months after he was sidelined by a bone chip in an ankle, Smart Bid won his first stakes in Saturday's $100,000 Damascus Stakes at Santa Anita, the first race on the Breeders' Cup program.

The style of the win suggests that Smart Bid will be a 4-year-old to follow at the upcoming Santa Anita winter-spring meeting. Trainer Graham Motion said the Damascus was a prep to the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters here on Dec. 26.

"He's a pretty serious horse," Motion said.

Ridden by Jeremy Rose, Smart Bid stalked an honest pace of 22.48 and 44.74 seconds set by M One Rifle, moved closer to the front on the turn and took the lead from M One Rifle in the final furlong. Smart Bid ($29.80) ran seven furlongs in 1:21.53.

Supreme Summit finished second, a head in front of 6-5 favorite M One Rifle in the field of eight 3-year-olds.

Smart Bid, by Smart Strike, has won 3 of 7 starts and $168,918 for owner-breeder George Strawbridge's Augustin Stable. In his final workout for the Damascus, Smart Bid worked in company with Bullsbay, Motion's starter in Saturday's BC Dirt Mile.