05/25/2005 11:00PM

Smoke Smoke Smoke ships in sharp


Smoke Smoke Smoke and Raving Rocket will reprise a rivalry that began in Chicago on opening day of the Arlington Park meet when they head a field of eight 3-year-olds entered in the $40,000 St. Paul Stakes at Canterbury Park on Saturday.

Smoke Smoke Smoke bested Raving Rocket by two lengths in an overnight handicap May 13 at Arlington and should be a deserving favorite in the six-furlong St. Paul. Campaigned at Canterbury last season for St. Paul native and Jer-Mar Stables principal owner Jerry Myers, Smoke Smoke Smoke began his career impressively, first winning a maiden race by daylight and then looking every bit as dominant when taking the Canterbury Juvenile Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths.

Smoke Smoke Smoke showed a return to his best form when he finished second to Razor in the Dixieland Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January and earned his first triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure when he captured the Lost Code Stakes in April at Hawthorne. Seth Martinez will ride for trainer Mac Robertson.

Raving Rocket has the best chance to beat Smoke Smoke Smoke. A front-runner, Raving Rocket captured the Flag Officer Stakes at Hawthorne in March and was then sent to Turfway Park to compete in the Rushaway Stakes. Raving Rocket did not appear to handle the muddy surface at Turfway but quickly returned to winning form with an upset win in the Golden Circle Stakes at Prairie Meadows last month.

Raving Rocket draws outside Smoke Smoke Smoke and appears to be the controlling pace in the field. Jockey E.T. Baird travels from his Chicago base to ride Raving Rocket for trainer Larry Rivelli.

Of the locally based entrants, Raging Wind appears to have the best credentials to challenge the top two choices. A winner of the Palos Verdes Stakes at Turf Paradise in March, Raging Wind returns to the main track after two middling efforts against stakes company on the turf in Phoenix. Juan Rivera takes the call for trainer Joe Johnson.