11/11/2011 4:11PM

Zia: Humble Smarty ships in seeking 16th career win in Lea County


Brett Creighton literally raised Humble Smarty, an orphan as a foal who on Sunday will be going for his 16th career win when he starts in the $55,000 Lea County at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M.

The 5 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up also drew Kineticat Yankee, a stakes winner against Quarter Horses at Ruidoso Downs in July, and Jam’n Jackson, who will be seeking his third consecutive win Sunday.

But the horse to beat is Humble Smarty, a 7-year-old gelding who lost his stakes-winning mother, Humble Danzig, at birth.

“Me and him, we’ve come a long way,” said Creighton, who owns and trains Humble Smarty. “I used to take him out in the field, and lay down and he’d lie down beside me. He’d just follow me around. He didn’t know anything else.”

Humble Smarty has since learned how to win. He is 15 for 56, and will come into the Lea County off a nose score in the $100,000 David M. Vance at Remington Park on Sept. 30. Humble Smarty will be Creighton’s first Zia starter; the timing of Sunday’s race has brought the pair in from Oklahoma City.

“Looking back through his form, if he’s had over a month between races, he really runs super,” said Creighton. “And he’s doing really good. I worked him last Thursday and he worked like a house afire.”

Humble Smarty went four furlongs in 46.80 seconds at Remington, and the move was the fastest of 22 at the distance. It has been a good year for the horse, who has won two stakes in 2011. The first was back in May, when he took the $50,000 Honor the Hero Express off a six-week layoff at Canterbury. The other was in the Vance. Dean Butler, who was aboard for that race and the Honor the Hero, has traveled from Remington for the mount Sunday.

The field of five Sunday is not lacking for pace. Humble Smarty is quick, as is Kineticat Yankee, who has won two 870-yard races against Quarter Horses in his last three starts. Jam n’Jackson is seeking his third straight win off a pair of front-running allowance scores at Zia, while Lion Hall worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 seconds at Hollywood Park before shipping in for trainer Adam Kitchingman.

The other member of the field, Pack Your Bags, who won a second-level allowance from off the pace last out at Zia, could get a good setup at a price Sunday.