Donald R Dizney’s Bahamian Squall battled a field of strong contenders to come out on top in the $350,000 Grade II Smile Sprint Handicap in the Summit of Speed at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday.
After taking the lead in his last two starts, only to end up yielding in the stretch, trainer David Fawkes had a different plan in mind for Bahamian Squall in the Smile Sprint.
“Luis (jockey Saez) did a great job,” said Fawkes. “He took him back a little today and just sat there; he doesn’t want to be moved too early. No fault of the last rider (jockey Juan Leyva in the Ponche Handicap) - I gave him instructions to be closer and he wants to sit just off the pace.”
After an even start out of the gate, Saez settled into a comfortable spot in fourth while longshots Cajun Breeze and Artefacto took the early lead.
“I had a lot of competition; I concentrated when he broke,” said winning jockey Luis Saez. “I didn’t want to go in front because all the time (it is) the same in front. He’s better from behind. So today, two or three horses went in front so I sat in third and fourth.”
As the post-time favorite Trinniberg rounded the turn, Saez saw his chance.
“On the turn I moved a little bit when I saw the other horse, the big favorite (Trinniberg), come inside,” said Saez. “I moved and my horse responded good. He won, thank God.”
With his win in the Smile, Bahamian Squall earns a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” Series.
Fawkes is no stranger to the “Win and You’re In” Series, winning the Smile in 2010 with Big Drama.
“It’s tough to keep them healthy for a long time,” said Fawkes. “We’ll look at something at Saratoga (next race). Every horse is different but we’ll follow a similar path.
“Fortunately good horses stay good for a long time.”
Bahamian Squall returned $16.60, $7.60, and $6.00 for the win. Trinniberg paid $5.00 and $4.00 for second, and a late charge by Jackson Bend returned $7.00 for third.
Completing the order of finish were Justin Phillip, Trickmeister, Close It Out, Black Diamond Cat, Fort Loudon, Artefacto, Apriority, Cajun Breeze, and Off the Jak.