06/09/2006 11:00PM

Smart Growth gets up along rail

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For a horse who has primarily been pointed to turf races for more than a year, Smart Growth always manages to run big when he gets the chance to run on Delaware Park's main track.

Making only his second start on dirt since October, Smart Growth ($16.80) rallied up the rail under Mario Pino to collar pacesetter Cherokee's Boy in deep stretch to score a half-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Brandywine Stakes.

Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, the 5-year-old Smart Growth is now a head shy of going 3 for 3 on dirt at Delaware since July 2005. He ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.09.

Smart Growth's 10th-place finish last time out in a third-level grass allowance at Keeneland may have been better than it appeared on paper. He became the fifth horse to come out of that race and win next time out.

Despite having to settle for second, 7-5 favorite Cherokee's Boy managed to surpass the $1 million mark in earnings with the $20,000 he earned. Happy Hunting was third.