09/04/2009 11:00PM

Wolf Tail sticking with own

Email
Benoit & Associates
Wolf Tail (left) wins the Graduation Stakes at 17-1 for his first victory.

DEL MAR, Calif. - The graded stakes can wait until the fall or winter for the 2-year-old colt Wolf Tail. He belongs in Monday's $100,000 I'm Smokin Stakes against statebreds at Del Mar, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

On July 29, Wolf Tail won the Graduation Stakes for statebreds over 5 1/2 furlongs, his first win in his fourth start. Owner-breeder Ed Delaney and O'Neill could have opted for Monday's $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, a Grade 1, but are sticking with the easier spot.

"The next logical spot was this," O'Neill said. "We were happy with his performance against Cal-breds as a maiden."

Wolf Tail was a 17-1 outsider in the Graduation, but he will be the focus of the I'm Smokin, which is run over six furlongs and has drawn a field of 10. Grace Upon Grace and Daylight Storm, second and third in the Graduation, are in the I'm Smokin field.

Wolf Tail will race from the off the pace, and will be ridden by leading rider Joel Rosario.

In his first three starts, Wolf Tail finished fifth in his debut and then second twice, all at Hollywood Park. "I thought in one or two of those races he could have been unsaddled a winner," O'Neill said.

The I'm Smokin field features a different sort of contender in Yogaroo, who made his last start at Royal Ascot in England in June. Trained by Wesley Ward, Yogaroo won a maiden race over 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland in April, but was only ninth in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes over a straightaway five furlongs on turf at Royal Ascot.

In the Norfolk, Yogaroo had the early lead for the opening quarter-mile, but veered toward the stands-side rail with a little more than a furlong to go and faded from contention. He has had three workouts at Del Mar in the last month, including a half-mile in 46.40 seconds on Aug. 21.

Adoration: Briecat seeks first '09 win

Briecat, the winner of the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park last fall, seeks her first win of 2009 in Monday's $85,000 Adoration Stakes. The problem facing Briecat and her trainer, Vladimir Cerin, is that several other fillies and mares in the one-mile race have a front-running style similar to Briecat.

"I think she has more speed than any of them," Cerin said.

Owned by David and Holly Wilson, Briecat, 4, has won 5 of 15 starts and $280,200. This year, she is winless in five starts, with her best result a second to the champion Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park on June 27. Briecat was last of nine in the Grade 1 John Mabee Handicap on turf here on Aug. 16, but Cerin said she battled a brief illness in July. "She wasn't quite ready," he said.

The Adoration, restricted to fillies and mares who have not won a stakes with a first-place purse of $50,000 at a mile or over since Feb. 1, drew a field of seven.

Six of them have stakes experience this year. Hot n' Dusty was second in the Solana Beach Handicap on Aug. 23, Champagne Eyes won the restricted Santa Lucia Handicap at Santa Anita in April, and Victorina won two minor stakes over 1 1/16 miles in January and February.