Amazombie and Smiling Tiger, a pair of leading sprinters
still smarting from their last races, are anxious to make amends in the
$250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, a Grade I test at seven furlongs on Cushion
Amazombie, a 5-year-old gelding who developed into the top
sprinter in Southern California this winter for trainer and co-owner Bill Spawr,
may have been best in crossing the finish line first in the Los Angeles
Handicap here May 30 but was disqualified to third for bulling his way through
in midstretch and bumping M One Rifle, who was elevated from third to second.
Smiling Tiger, a 4-year-old colt seeking his third straight
victory in the Churchill Downs Stakes May 7, was frustrated in traffic, was
steadied twice in the stretch and finished sixth, beaten by 2 ¼ lengths. The
chestnut colt was unbeaten in two starts here last year, capturing the Lazaro Barrera
Memorial Stakes and Grade I Ancient Title Stakes for trainer Jeff Bonde.
Amazombie (Mike Smith) and Smiling Tiger (Joel Rosario) are
expected to be joined in the Triple Bend by Los Angeles winner Camp Victory
(Joe Talamo), M One Rifle (Chantal Sutherland) and 3-year-old Bench Points
(Rafael Bejarano), winner of the Barrera earlier in the meet.
Also under consideration are Color of Courage, Supreme
Summit, Uh Oh Bango and one of a trio of Bob Baffert-trained nominees: El
Martillo, Indian Firewater and Irrefutable.
“I’ll probably run one of them, but this is a tough race,”
said Baffert, who has won the last two runnings with Zensational (2009) and E
Z’s Gentleman (2010).