Smiling Tiger: by far the best runner by Hold That TigerPICTURE: Alex Evers/EquiSport photos
Santa Anita: smiles for French shuttler Tiger
San Carlos Handicap (Grade 2), 7f,4yo+
SMILING TIGER (4 c Hold That Tiger - Shandra Smiles by Cahill Road)
Breeder: Dr Rodney Orr in US
DUAL Grade 1 winner Smiling Tiger, the leading runner by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Grand Criterium winner Hold That Tiger, bounced back to form on Saturday when charging late to deny Captain Cherokee (a Sir Cherokee half-brother to Midnight Lute) by a head in the San Carlos.
The Jeff Blonde-trained four-year-old had disappointed last month when third as the 2-5 favourite in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes.
Hold That Tiger has experienced a varied career at stud, standing his first four seasons at Ashford in Kentucky before switching to Haras de la Haie Neuve in France, where he is available for €4,500. The son of Storm Cat also stands the southern hemisphere season at Swettenham Stud. As well as Smiling Tiger, he is the sire ofCanadian Group 2 winner Jungle Wave and the Grade 1-placed Old Man Buck.
Smiling Tiger, a $40,000 Washington September yearling graduate, is out of stakes winner Shandra Smiles and from the family of Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap runner-up Love That Mac. Smiling Tiger will reportedly bid to go one better than his relation in the race next month.
New Graded stakes winner for Afleet Alex
SATURDAY'S card at Laurel saw last season's leading US second crop sire Afleet Alex represented by his fifth Graded stakes winner when Harissa took the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap.
The four-year-old joins a list of ten other first-crop stakes winners for the stallion, including Travers Stakes hero Afleet Express and the Grade 1-winning juvenile Dublin. Champion Afleet Alex stands at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky for $25,000.
Bred by Jeanne Bruce in Kentucky, Harissa is out of the Grade 3-placed Dynasty, by Time For A Change.