Smart Bid Returns To Route

{jcomments on}Smart20Bid003In April, Smart Bid looked like a contender for the 1 1/4 miles Grade I Secretariat at Arlington Park after his slowly-gaining second place finish in the G III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland.

After the Transylvania, the 3-year-old Smart Strike runner missed seven months because of a bone chip in his ankle. Kiss the Secretariat or anything within months of the Grade I, goodbye. Smart Bid was off to the farm.

On August 26 the brother of stablemate Deal Making returned to training at Fair Hill. A little over three weeks later, he was ready for his first breeze. He went an easy 3-furlongs in :39.1 over the Fair Hill Tapeta. Patience and steadiness was his trainer’s strategy. A week later, he went 4-furlongs, :51.0. Another week, another half-mile work, :50.0. That breeze paved the way for a quintuplet of 5-furlong works in six weeks, leading up to his comeback race at Santa Anita on the Breeders’ Cup undercard.


After his conditioner’s display of patience, he decided to enter Smart Bid in the 7-furlong Damascus Stakes on November 7 against the likes of eventual Grade I winner M One Rifle. A tough race for a comeback, an especially tough one for a horse whose two wins came around 2-turns. The man who tightened the girth for the Transylvania, knew what kind of horse he was dealing with. He seemed to think that after the long journey back Smart Bid could not only win sprinting, he could win a stakes sprinting. He was right.

When Smart Bid crossed the wire first, clear by a length, it iced the comeback cake. A masterfully timed and thought out comeback strategy.

Then a stakes winner at 7-furlongs, Smart Bid came back to run in the Grade I Malibu. After enduring a hardly-convenient trip that left him 4-lengths behind the winner, whom he had defeated in the Damascus, it was time to stretch the Augustin homebred’s legs out again.

Which brings us to Saturday. Smart Bid will return to two-turns at Santa Anita in the Grade II San Fernando for 4-year-olds traveling 1 1/16 miles. Brought back into form by his trainer one step at a time, one day at a time and one breeze at a time, Smart Bid looks to display his routing talents yet again, this time as a 4-year-old.

Mike Smith to ride.

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