07/03/2003 12:00AM

'Smokey' shoots for six pack


Perfection is hard to achieve in racing, and even harder to maintain, but so far so good for Watchem Smokey.

Unbeaten in five career starts, he will face eight other 3-year-olds in the $50,000 Airline Stakes at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La.

The six-furlong race has drawn 10 horses, including the coupled entry of Book Note and Kool Humor, but Kool Humor will instead run in the $100,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup at Lone Star, said his trainer, Jack Bruner.

Watchem Smokey's career has been on the fast track since he won his debut in June 2002 at Louisiana Downs for a claiming price of $25,000. He closed out his 2-year-old season with a win in a $30,000 conditioned claiming race Aug. 17.

Cecil Borel, who owns and trains Watchem Smokey, didn't run him at 3 until March 1, when Watchem Smokey won another conditioned claimer, this time at Oaklawn Park. Watchem Smokey stepped up in class to the allowance ranks, winning at Oaklawn March 22, and then he won a tough $60,000 optional claiming race at Lone Star May 1, which was his last start.

"He's a good colt," Borel said. "Right now he's at the point, I don't think he wants to get beat. And that's making him run harder and harder."

Borel said that because Watchem Smokey is not a big colt, he has been careful to space his races. In his final prep for the Airline, Watchem Smokey drilled a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 seconds June 28.

"He [galloped] out in 1:11 and change," Borel said. "He went beautiful."

Don Simington has the mount on Watchem Smokey, who is a son of Alphabet Soup.

One of the threats to the streak is Lac Laronge, who won a $60,000 optional claiming sprint by more than two lengths in his last start, which came at Lone Star May 21.

"We took the blinkers off of him for that race and he ran against probably some of the best 3-year-olds over there and handled them with authority," trainer Troy Young said.

Lac Laronge, who has placed in three restricted stakes races, will be ridden by Gerard Melancon.

Another horse of note in the field is Slam Bam, who withstood stout pace pressure to win a $40,000 optional claiming race at Lone Star in wire-to-wire fashion June 20. Tim Doocy has the mount for trainer Steve Asmussen.