06/13/2009 11:00PM

Smiling Tiger learning, winning


ALBANY, Calif. - Smiling Tiger, a six-length winner in his debut, was an even more convincing winner in his second start, scoring an eight-length victory in the $75,000 Lost in the Fog Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Despite getting off a step slow, Smiling Tiger won a duel down the backstretch with Empire of the Sun and extended his margin on the turn. He was asked a bit in the stretch and pulled away even more, beating Sweet Tigger by eight lengths in the five-furlong race for 2-year-olds. Roos on the Loose was another three-quarters of a length back. The final time was 57.78 seconds. Smiling Tiger paid $3.80 to win.

Smiling Tiger dumped jockey Russell Baze twice in the post parade in his debut and acted up again prior to the start of Saturday's race.

"I'm ready for him now," said Baze. "He's kind of rambunctious, but he has talent, and he's still learning."

"He was a little slow leaving there, but once I tapped him on the shoulder and yelled at him, he started to roll. I was surprised when I saw the early fractions (21.62) because he was running well within himself."

Winning trainer Jeff Bonde was pleased with what he called "a pretty convincing win" but noted that he expects more from the son of Hold That Tiger who was a $40,000 yearling purchase for Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz.

"He's a quality horse," said Bonde. "He didn't really run his best race. He didn't break all that well but then got into it. The horse never seems to get tired - he just keeps on comin' - so I don't think running him a little longer will be a problem."

Smiling Tiger now has a career bankroll of $62,400 after two winning starts.