Smiling Tiger, who came from oblivion last season to win a pair of grade I races and
become a finalist as the nation's top sprinter, kicks off his 4-year-old
campaign in the $150,000 Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 22 at Santa Anita.
The fleet-footed son of Hold That Tiger
is a standout among the seven entrants for the Palos Verdes, the
seventh race on the program. The six-furlong event has a probable post
of 3:36 p.m. PST.
Trained by Jeff Bonde for Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz, Smiling Tiger
showed his prowess on Santa Anita's new dirt track when he came up a
nose short to Twirling Candy
in the torrid seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (gr. I) on opening day Dec.
26. That race, in which Smiling Tiger led through the homestretch until
the wire, produced a track-record time of 1:19.70, erasing a 30-year-old
mark held by Spectacular Bid.
Before that, the chestnut colt turned in a solid third despite bobbling
at the start, finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind Eclipse Award winner Big
Drama in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at
Churchill Downs Nov. 6. Smiling Tiger previously had taken Oak Tree’s
Ancient Title Stakes (gr. I) over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track and Del
Mar’s Bing Crosby (gr. I) on Polytrack during a 2010 campaign that
ended with a 3-1-3 mark in seven starts and earnings of $651,464