Smart Transition Finishes Strong in Curlin

HorseRacingNation.com
July 31, 2015 03:05pm
Smart Transition wins 2015 Curlin.
Photo: Adam Mooshian/NYRA

Working out a perfect trip from off the pace, Arnold Zetcher's Smart Transition cruised to win the $100,000 Curlin Stakes for 3-year-olds on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
 
Breaking sharply from post 5 under jockey Junior Alvarado, Smart Transition comfortably tracked in third behind 8-5 post time favorite Stanford, 9-5 second choice Tekton, and 34-1 longshot Battle Midway, who hooked up early setting fractions of 23.85 seconds for the opening quarter mile and 47.70 for half. 
 
As the trio began to turn for home, Battle Midway gave way while Alvarado tipped out Smart Transition from the rail in pursuit of Stanford and Tekton. Full of run, the Smart Strike colt extended away in the stretch to secure the victory by 4 ¾ lengths, completing the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.40 over a fast main track.
 
"I knew two turns would help him to be a little closer," said Alvarado. "We ran two times at Belmont and it was a little harder, but I knew the turns would help him. He broke very sharp. He put himself in a good spot. I hit him a couple times by the eighth pole and he took off. By the sixteenth pole, I was on cruise control until the end."
 
Earning his first stakes win and second career victory from six starts, the John Shirreffs trainee padded his bankroll to $147,160 for the winning connections while returning $6.30 for a $2 win wager.
 
"It was really special for us," said Shirreffs. "We were very happy with his performance; it was something we hoped for, so it was nice to see it actually happen. He's a good stalker. He was in a beautiful position, and Junior [Alvarado] gave him a perfect ride. We wanted a clean trip and we got a clean trip; everything worked out well."
 
Tekton held on for second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of third-place finisher King of New York followed by Battle Midway, Stanford and Unrivaled.
 
With the Curlin traditionally an alternate route toward the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers on August 29, Shirreffs hinted at a potential start in the race based on how well his colt has responded in two-turn races, now with two wins from three starts.
 
"He's a pretty nice horse," said Shirreffs. "I knew the two turns here would help him big time and he showed that."

Source: NYRA Communications

 

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