02/05/2009 12:00AM

Smokin Hero to stay sprinting off 12 3/4-length win


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though his last two workouts have been around two turns, Smokin Hero is likely to remain sprinting for his next start, which should come in the $65,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes at six furlongs here on Feb. 16.

That's assuming the race fills. Smokin Hero was one of just nine nominated to the race restricted to 3-year-olds.

Smokin Hero would enter the Capossela off a scintillating 12 3/4-length victory in a New York-bred first-level allowance race on Jan. 7. He ran six furlongs in 1:10.10 and earned a 92 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

Since that race, trainer Allen Iwinski has twice worked Smokin Hero seven furlongs over the Belmont Park training track, which means he worked around two turns. On Wednesday, Smokin Hero went seven furlongs in 1:31.02, a faster work than his 1:32.56 on Jan. 25.

"Working seven-eighths you break off into the first turn," said Iwinski, who added that in the Jan. 25 move, Smokin Hero "flattened out a little bit the last eighth of a mile. My feeling is he may want to stretch out, but I don't know for sure. He did improve in [Wednesday's] seven-eighths work off his last one, but at this point we're gong to stick to sprinting with him."

Smokin Hero, a son of Gotham winner Smokin Mel, finished second in the first four starts of his career before running third to Haynesfield at Belmont in September. He won a 5o1/2-furlong maiden race by 8 3/4 lengths on Nov. 7, then finished sixth in his first start over the inner track in a race in which he bobbled at the start.

Terranova's big day

Wednesday was a big day for trainer John Terranova, who captured the $66,950 Get Lucky Stakes with Awesome I Am and sent out Daily Star to a debut win at a $59.50 mutuel.

Awesome I Am, a 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again, is a filly on the rise. She is now 4 for 10 lifetime and has 2 wins and 1 third in her last 3 starts. On Wednesday, under Eddie Castro, Awesome I Am rallied from off the pace to win by 1 1/4 lengths, running a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.75. She earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

"She was down inside and it looked like [favored] Awesome Ashley got the jump on her," Terranova said. "Eddie had to urge her through just to get out of there and once she was clear she had dead aim.''

Awesome I Am is now 3 for 4 over the inner track and will likely get at least one more opportunity to run over it. Terranova thinks the Rare Treat on Feb. 21 might be too soon back, so he may look for another overnight stakes or wait seven weeks to the Grade 3, $100,000 Next Move on March 28, the penultimate day of racing on the inner.

Meanwhile, Daily Star, a 3-year-old daughter of Five Star Day, took advantage of quick early fractions to run down fellow first-time starters Saarlight and Rock Hall Honey and win a six-furlong maiden race by a neck. Terranova said his filly had a steady, if not spectacular, workout pattern.

"I guess she was a surprise on the toteboard, but not so much a surprise for us,' Terranova said. "I knew she was doing really well. She was game for a first-time starter."

True Quality's work stands out

True Quality, winner of the Paumonok Stakes here on Jan. 24, put in a sensational five-furlong workout in 58.61 seconds here on Monday. It was the fastest by 2.39 seconds of 10 works at the distance.

True Quality, trained by John Campo Jr., is being pointed to the Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 16.

"He is an absolute gorilla right now,'' Campo said. "He's training as good as you'd want a horse to train. He worked lights out the other day.''

NYRA to try guaranteed pick four

On Saturdays, beginning Feb. 14, the late pick four on races 6-9 will have a guaranteed pool of $250,000, the NYRA announced Thursday.

It will be interesting to see if the handle meets the guarantee since on six of the first eight Saturdays of the inner track meet, the pick-four pool has not reached that figure. Only on Dec. 6 ($263,286) and Jan. 3 ($267,996) did the late pick-four pool surpass $250,000. The last three weeks, it was under $200,000.