03/25/2010 11:00PM

Smell the Roses pays off big-time

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Smell the Roses became a stakes winner in her first start off a claim on Friday, when she rolled home by 2 1/4 lengths in the $50,000 Natural State Breeders' at Oaklawn. The six-furlong race was restricted to fillies and mares bred in Arkansas.

Smell the Roses ($43) stalked the pace early, launched a strong bid on the turn, then overtook the leaders through the lane. She covered the distance on a track rated fast in 1:11.12. Larry Melancon rode the winner for Five Star Racing Stable, which claimed Smell the Roses for $7,500 in February.

"She's got heart," said Al Cates, who trains Smell the Roses. "She's got a lot of want to be a racehorse."

Smell the Roses won for a $7,500 claiming price at Oaklawn in January before finishing second for the price in February. She is a 4-year-old by Storm and a Half, who was the leading general sire last year in Arkansas.

Sharik closed for second in the Natural State, finishing a length clear of third-place finisher Beautiful and Able.

Smell the Roses earned $30,000 for the win, which was her third from eight starts. She is headed next to Louisiana Downs, said Cates.