06/04/2017 8:33AM

Smoke 'n' Gloat wins third straight in stakes debut

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Smoke 'n' Gloat paid $14.40 to win the Springfield Stakes at Arlington on Saturday.

Smoke ‘n’ Gloat lost all three of his starts last year at age 2, but he started his 3-year-old campaign with a win at Hawthorne Racecourse, followed up with a victory at Fairmount Park, and on Saturday at Arlington captured his third start in a row and stakes debut, winning the $53,800 Springfield Stakes by two lengths.

He earned it, too. Smoke ‘n’ Gloat, under Chris Emigh, set a pressured pace of 23.44 and 46.31, that half-mile split very legitimate for a one-turn Polytrack mile. Having put away pace rivals Go Oshie Go and Riv, Smoke ‘n’ Gloat faced a fresh challenge from 6-5 favorite Don’t Split Tens, but turned him away too, going his final quarter-mile into the wind in 24.91 seconds.

Smoke ‘n’ Gloat stopped the timer in a good 1:35.49, which was 2.64 seconds faster than Babybluesbancing had run a mile winning the Purple Violet Stakes a race earlier by seven lengths.

Don’t Split Tens saved ground the first three-quarters after breaking from post 1, and though he appeared to have plenty of run at the quarter-pole, he never made much of a dent in Smoke ‘n’ Gloat’s advantage while coming home almost six lengths in front of third-place Cat’s Runway.

Smoke ‘n’ Gloat paid $14.40 to win the race for Illinois-bred 3-year-olds, odds that looked generous in retrospect. But Smoke ‘n’ Gloat easily ran the best race of his career Saturday. Trained by Scott Becker for William Stiritz, Smoke ‘n’ Gloat was bred by Mike Reavis and Carol Ricker, and is a son of Smoke Glacken and the Out of Place mare Lake in the Sky. He cost $50,000 at a yearling auction, and appears to have his best racing still in front of him.

Babybluesbdancing bats away Purple Violet foes

Babybluesbdancing didn’t run especially fast, but she was much faster than any of the other seven Illinois-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $53,750 Purple Violet Stakes.

Racing from fifth early in the one-mile Purple Violet, Babybluesbdancing moved into contention around the far turn and blitzed the leaders at the top of the homestretch. She easily made the lead in midstretch under Julio Felix, who rode three winners on Saturday’s card, and rolled home to a seven-length victory.

Countess St Michel, a 52-1 shot, led through a moderate 47.01 half-mile pace while pressed by overbet 13-10 favorite Shezahotmama and held on to finish second. Shezahotmama ran out of gas at the quarter pole and was beaten more than three lengths for second, but still held third by more than five lengths, a sign the race lacked depth beneath the winner.

Love N Lies, the 3-1 third-choice, had no real impact and finished eighth.

Babybluesbdancing was timed in 1:38.13 for the one-turn Polytrack mile and paid $6.20 to win. Bred by RNB Racing, the winner is trained by Terrel Gore and owned by Lizabeth Gore. The daughter of Sky Mesa and the Golden Gear mare Bluesbdancing (also trained by Gore), won three of six starts at age 2, including the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne. This was her first victory from three starts this year, though she had run creditably at Hawthorne and Churchill leading into the Purple Violet.