Californian sprint star Smiling Tiger continued his winning run in the G3 Count Fleet Handicap at Oaklawn Park on Thursday. He clocked a sharp 68.63s for 1200 metres.
The son of Swettenham Stud sire Hold That Tiger was coming off a G2 victory in the San Carlos Hcp at Santa Anita in February.
Smiling Tiger (4c Hold That Tiger – Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road) was a G1 winner of the 2010 Bing Crosby Stakes and Ancient Title Stakes and he finished last year with a solid third-place effort in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.
The flashy chestnut has built up a 14: 7-1-6 record with earnings of $995,864 and trainer Jeff Bonde believes the best is yet to come.
“He’s really turned the corner in his development,” Bonde said. “Early in his career he was a keyed-up type of horse but now he’s very professional. He’s developed a new style and doesn’t act up.”
Smiling Tiger started an odds-on favourite in the Count Fleet Handicap and settled midfield before Joel Rosario angled him five wide into the straight.
Advancing steadily, he found another gear at the 100m pole and drew off to score by two lengths and change.
The G2 Churchill Downs Stakes on May 7 is next on the agenda.
Hold That Tiger (Storm Cat) was a G1 winner of the Gran Criterium at Longchamp and he stands for a $5,000 fee at Swettenham Stud. He has sired 264 individual winners of 677 races at a very healthy 60% strike-rate.