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Saratoga and Del Mar 2017

Smiling Tiger Heads True North Probables

Multiple Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger headlines the probables for what is shaping up to be a terrific renewal of the Grade 2, $250,000 True North Handicap, presented by Emirates Airline. Trained by Jeff Bonde, the 4-year-old Hold That Tiger colt annexed the Bing Crosby and the Ancient Title last year in California, both Grade 1 events on the synthetic, and boasts wins in the Grade 2 San Carlos and Grade 3 Count Fleet this year. In his most recent start, he finished sixth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs.

 

Conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin is expected to send out Trappe Shot, second in last year’s Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, to contest the six-furlong True North. The 4-year-old Tapit colt was victorious in his 2011 debut, a six-furlong overnight stake at Belmont Park on May 11. He worked a sharp five furlongs in 59.97 Saturday over the Belmont main track in preparation for next weekend’s race.

 

The deep and contentious True North is also likely to attract multiple graded stakes winners Calibrachoa, Custom for Carlos, and D’ Funnybone, stakes winners Rule by Night and This Ones for Phil, and allowance winner Irrefutable.

 

Calibrachoa has won four straight, including the Grade 3 Toboggan at Aqueduct Racetrack on March 5 in his most recent start. All four victories came at six furlongs, the same distance as Saturday’s race. He was entered in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at the Big A on April 9 but was scratched with sore feet. Trained by Todd Pletcher for Mike Repole, the 4-year-old son of Southern Image breezed four furlongs in 48.93 Sunday morning.

 

“We had some foot issues and had to miss the Carter, but he’s back to his old self,” said Pletcher. “I think he’s fit.”

 

 

 

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