04/29/2017 2:22PM

Smokin Now all the way in Golden Circle Stakes

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Smokin Now went straight to the front and increased his advantage, winning the $65,000 Golden Circle Stakes on Friday night at Prairie Meadows by 2 3/4 lengths.

Daniel Vergara rode the winner for trainer Robertino Diodoro. Smokin Now, a Mercedes Stable homebred, is by Tiznow and out of Smokey Glacken, by Forestry. He won for the second time in five races.

Smokin Now was a second-out maiden winner in January at Oaklawn Park, then got swept up in early-pace battles in a pair of allowance races there and faded late to finish fourth in both starts. But on Friday, Smokin Now made the front by a half-length after a quarter-mile in a moderate 22.42 seconds, had upped his advantage to a length through a half-mile in 46 seconds, was clear by two lengths at the stretch call, and continued on strongly to win by almost three lengths.

Reckling, who had finished in front of Smokin Now in their last two starts, was a clear second, more than three lengths in front of third-place Warrior’s Kid.

Smokin Now was timed in 1:10.40 for six furlongs on a muddy, sealed track and paid $4.60 as the narrow favorite over Reckling.