W. B. Smudge Headed to Stakes Ranks After Sharp Win Thursday

May 20, 2016 09:29am
Robert O’Hara, Jr. and Gwyneth Gower’s W.B. Smudge defeated a contiguous bunch of five others in Thursday’s second race, a four-other-than allowance-optional claiming event at six furlongs on Churchill Downs’ main track. 
Despite being up against such tough company, trainer Matt Kordenbrock had confidence that the son of Grand Reward would run his race.
“Our confidence level was high because our horse never runs a bad race,” Kordenbrock said. “The last race (Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 10) was poor for him, but it was a Grade III and he was up against some really good ones there. (Thursday) our confidence was sky high; he’s a nice horse. He made some people eat their words.”
The 7-year-old gelding was up against Candip, the runner-up to X Y Jet in the Feb. 27 Gulfstream Park Sprint (GIII). The remaining four horses in the race boasted 11 stakes wins between them. 
“It was a very solid field and I knew it’d be a good field,” Kordenbrock said. “It’s a four-other-than, but it did come up stronger than I thought it would. With that field, it could’ve been a stakes somewhere. Every horse you could’ve made a case for; there wasn’t a single bad horse in the race.”
The son of Grand Reward was the second longest shot in the field at odds of 11-1.
“He stepped up, we knew he would run well,” Kordenbrock said. “I’m not an odds maker but I don’t think he should’ve been that price, but there’s a lot of horses on paper that looked pretty solid.”
While the $100,000 Aristides (GIII) on June 4 is an option for W.B. Smudge, Kordenbrock believes the race may come up too soon for him.
“We nominated for that race, but to be honest that is coming back pretty quick,” Kordenbrock said. “I’ve run him back quickly before and he’s done fine but there’s some other stakes coming up that I think will fit him well.”
Kordenbrock is considering the $100,000 Iowa Sprint at Prairie Meadows on July 2. 
“Time-wise, I like that race so were kicking that around a little,” Kordenbrock said. “Basically we haven’t sat down and studied the future plans yet. We nominated for the Aristides but probably thinking that’s too soon back. There’s a couple stakes at Mountaineer that we’ll look at, but we’re leaving the option open for everything. Timing is everything with him.”
Stabled at Churchill Downs Trackside, Kordenbrock has 11 other horses in his barn.
“He is the big horse,” Kordenbrock said. “We got some other nice ones and have an honest bunch of horses, but he’s definitely the man.”

Jockey Corey Lanerie enjoyed a successful Thursday evening making three trips to the winner’s circle aboard College Holly (Race 5), Mo Munnings (Race 6) and Anusara (Race 7).
“I had a favorite (College Holly) get me home and from there I got a nice run,” Lanerie said. “It’s always good to win three. I do sometimes walk away after I win this many and I’m mad at myself because I should’ve won four. You’re grateful for three but it’s always that one that you didn’t win that eats you up at night. But it feels good to win like I did. It feels good even winning just one. You’ve got to be happy with days like that.”
Lanerie, 42, had a chance of winning the last race on Churchill’s Thursday evening card. In the eighth race, he was aboard the lukewarm favorite Royally Devine, who finished fourth.
“I thought I had a good chance when I was out there on the favorite in the last race,” Lanerie said. “When the momentum starts flowing, it usually happens, but I was happy with three. I would’ve liked to win four. It was a great day. I can’t let (Julien) Leparoux get too far ahead of me.”
Lanerie, the second winningest jockey on the Spring Meet behind Julien Leparoux, was named the rider on nine horses for Churchill’s Friday afternoon card: Maximum Edge (Race 1), Bellamy’s Verdict (Race 2), Eco Star (Race 3), I Call Shotgun (Race 4), Posiden’s Way (Race 5), Bad Student (Race 6), Shadow Rock (Race 7), Lunar Gaze (Race 8) and Half Ton of Fun (Race 9). He’ll miss his mount aboard Half Ton of Fun because he has to catch a flight to Baltimore to ride Cherry Wine in Saturday’s Preakness.


Some of Churchill Downs’ top horseman offered their expert opinion on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (Grade I) at Pimlico. Here’s what they had to say:
Hall of Fame Trainer Carl Nafzger: “I think that the horse who won the Derby (Nyquist) will win it because it looks like he has the ability to do whatever you need to do to win the race. He ran relax, and he can go and when he goes, he really goes.”
Hall of Fame Trainer Jack Van Berg: “I think Nyquist is for real. Look at how easy he beat the horses on Derby Day. He’s training well, he looks good and I think the Preakness will be an easy race for him. He’s very versatile, he can go to the front and he can lay off the speed, it doesn’t make much of a difference. When you knock someone down six or seven times in a row, you can fight a little bit. He’s got a good post position, I think that horse of (Keith) Desormeaux’s (Exaggerator) has got to come from behind and everything’s got to be just perfect. You’re very vulnerable when you come from back there and when you have a speed horse that’s got to be on the lead then you’re vulnerable. With Nyquist, you can lay off of them, or go to the front, it doesn’t make any difference.”
Trainer Tom Amoss: “I think that Nyquist will win the Preakness because it’s typically the easiest of the three Triple Crown races, so this is the one where he gets his free pass.”
Trainer Jimmy Baker: “I think Nyquist will win the Preakness. I think that he’s the dominant 3-year-old right now. There are some nice horses out there but right now, he’s shining. I don’t see him losing unless he doesn’t like a muddy track, which I think they’re calling for. That’s the only thing that would surprise me.”
Trainer Wayne Catalano: “I haven’t looked at the lineup but I’m hoping that Nyquist wins it just because we need it for the game.”
Trainer Chris Hartman: “I think Nyquist is going to win the Preakness because he’s the best horse and he’s the fastest horse. The only way that he possibly gets beat is if Exaggerator steps up big in the mud and it rains a bunch but I don’t think it happens at that time.”
Trainer William “Jinks” Fires: “I think Nyquist will win because he’s got speed and speed typically holds up over there at Pimlico and he got a great post. As far as I’ve seen from the interviews, it looks like he’s training really well, so Nyquist is my pick.”
Trainer Steve Hobby: “I think Nyquist is going to win, and why? I think that the track up there plays to his running style.”
Trainer Steve Margolis: “I’ve got to go with Nyquist. He looked too good on Derby Day. I know that there are some other good horses in the race, but especially over there at Pimlico it looks like he has the right style for the race. He’s done everything right.”
Trainer Paul McGee: “I like Exaggerator. His form cycle is good, he’s on the improve and I’m thinking that maybe Nyquist will bounce a little bit. I’m kind of hard headed, so I’m going to try and go against Nyquist.”
Trainer Ron Moquett: “I like Nyquist. I think that racetrack suits him and I think that he’s probably the best going right now until somebody beats him. To be the champ, you have to beat the champ.”
Trainer Chris Richard: “I think Nyquist wins the Preakness and I will stick with my earlier statement that I made before the Derby: in order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man. No one has beaten him yet and until they beat him, I’m going with Nyquist.”
Trainer Al Stall Jr.: “I think he (Nyquist) is going to benefit off the Derby. I think Doug (O’Neill) has done an unbelievably good job of walking the line of fitness and freshness and training him lightly going into the Derby and he got through it and survived it. I think that you’ll be looking at a stronger, fitter horse going into the Preakness. Collected is my ice cold exacta.”
Trainer Mike Tomlinson: “How can you not like Nyquist? He’s done nothing wrong and has tactical speed and the Preakness is always a race that’s more for horses that have tactical speed. Exaggerator hasn’t done much wrong. I don’t know if his running style will suit this race as much as Nyquist. I think everybody else is just trying to test the waters and see where they’re at. That’s the way it looks to me.”
Trainer Dave Vance: “Nyquist is the best horse. He beat that other horse (Exaggerator) four times, so what makes him change and beat him this time? If they both go out there healthy it’s still going to be hard to outrun him.”
Trainer Ian Wilkes: “I think Nyquist will win because the Preakness is typically the easiest leg.”

Source: Churchill Downs


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