Trainer Mike Puype will saddle Tamarack Smarty in Sunday’s California
Dreamin’ Handicap seeking a second straight victory for the horse and a
continuation of the good roll for his stable.
“He has been slowly improving and I think he has a good chance,” Puype said
of Tamarack Smarty, a 5-year-old California-bred son of Smart Strike owned by
Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams. Tamarack Smarty crossed under the wire 1
½-lengths in front in a mile turf allowance on June 11 at Hollywood Park and
was led back to the winner’s circle for the first time since January of 2010
after a turf mile assignment at Santa Anita.
Tamarack Smarty got his start at Del Mar in August of 2009 in one-mile turf
races. He finished second to The Usual Q.T., in his racing debut. The latter
horse went on to stakes victories and acclaim as Del Mar’s top older male
runner of 2010. After Tamarack Smarty’s second start here 17 days later, he
broke his maiden by three lengths by clocking 1:34 3/5ths. His record is 3-4-1
for 14 starts with earnings of $164,556.
His Hollywood Park victory last month was accomplished rallying from
last of eight under Joel Rosario.
“There’s enough speed in the race (California Dreamin’) to set him up and
Rosario should ride him well. He has run well on the turf at Del Mar both
times,” Puype said.
Puype, 44, is a native of Arizona who gravitated to the track out of high
school and has been training since the mid-1990s. He experienced his most
lucrative year in 2010 with a career-best of more than $1.7 million in stable
earnings. He is fresh from a Hollywood Park meeting in which he tied for fifth
in the trainer standings with 16 wins from 74 starters, a 24 percent win rate.
He ranks 48th nationally with 36 wins from 151 starters, a 24
percent win rate, with earnings of more than $1.5 million.
“I’m on course to have my best year ever and I don’t see why I can’t,” Puype
said. “I’m going to do my best to keep working hard and doing well. That’s what
Puype’s persistence through some lean times is paying off now.
“I never gave up, I just tried to keep working hard and moving forward each
day,” Puype said. “Keep doing good and people will come to you. I’ve been
blessed with a lot of good opportunities and a lot of good owners.
“Right now I’m at my peak in terms of numbers and in terms of good people to
train for. I’ve got around 67 horses which is way up over previous years.”
Puype’s rise is in a major part attributable to the 3-year-old filly
Turbulent Descent, whose earnings have topped the $600,000 mark. She was
runner-up in the Grade I Acorn Stakes in June at Belmont Park.