01/06/2010 12:00AM

Smarten Destiny in sharp form


NEW ORLEANS - In his first race for trainer Angel Montano, Smarten Destiny nearly got the job done, losing by a nose after dueling the entire race with eventual winner Kaddish.

Smarten Destiny will try again in Friday's eighth race, a first-level allowance for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on turf that attracted a full field of 12.

Smarten Destiny's last race came on Dec. 14 at the Fair Grounds, in a race scheduled for turf but moved to a sloppy main track. With Kaddish on his inside, Smarten Destiny pressured the pace, took the lead going into the stretch, and was nosed out at the wire. Montano believes Smarten Destiny was helped by the slop, but that he will also thrive on the turf. Smarten Destiny has raced five times on turf with his only victory over the surface coming in his maiden score at Churchill Downs in July.

"He really likes the slop; he always works well on it," said Montano. "But I think he'll run good on the turf."

Montano claimed Smarten Destiny two races ago out of a six-length victory in a $30,000 claiming event over a muddy Churchill main track. In his race before that, Smarten Destiny won a conditioned claimer over the Polytrack at Keenland by 2 1/2 lengths.

Smarten Destiny usually sets or stalks the pace, and could be vulnerable to the abundance of front-running types entered in Friday's race.

With Just Right, Watz His Name, and Another Slew likely to be contesting the pace, the race might set up well for the late-running Hype.

Hype comes into this race off a second-place effort at this level over the Fair Grounds turf course on Nov. 28. In that race, Hype never got close to the winner, but rallied from five lengths back for second. He will be coming from well off the pace on a turf course that has notoriously favored closers.

"I would expect him to be more than five lengths back," said trainer Gary Scherer. "He's breaking from the inside so he should be able to save ground."

A $300,000 purchase as a yearling, Hype, 4, has run in several stakes, including a third place finish in the Grade 3 Generous at Hollywood as a 2-year-old. He never fulfilled that early promise however, and Scherer claimed him two races ago for $35,000.