A pair of Grade 3 winners, Oklahoma-owned Smack Smack and Oklahoma-bred Shotgun Kowboy, and top Texas-bred Ol Winedrinker Who are among the eight horses entered in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile, $175,000 Downs at Albuquerque Handicap at Albuquerque Downs.
A homebred 5-year-old gelding, Smack Smack is trained by Don Von Hemel for country music star Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin Farms Inc. Smack Smack is coming off of a neck victory at odds of 16-1 in the 1 1/8-mile, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap (G3) at Prairie Meadows near Des Moines, Iowa.
Following is a closer look at all eight horses entered in the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap, listed in post position order with their morning-line odds and weight assignments:
1.SMACK SMACK (Trainer Don Von Hemel, jockey Shane Laviolette, 3-1, 122): Smack Smack will be making his first start in New Mexico since November 25, when he rallied to win the 1 1/8-mile, $150,000 Zia Park Championship. Since then, the gelding has earned $244,786 from eight races at Oaklawn Park and Prairie Meadows, and his season resume includes a neck victory in the Grade 3, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 2. Smack Smack has won three of his five outs at this 1 1/8-mile distance.
2.OVERLAND PARK (Trainer Nancy Summers, jockey Miguel Perez, 12-1, 116): A 4-year-old gelding, Overland Park has finished second in his last four races, including the 1-mile, $30,000 SunRay Park and Casino Handicap on May 23. He will be making his first start at this 1 1/8-mile distance on Saturday.
3.SPECTACULAR ARRAY (Trainer David Wolochuk, jockey Alfredo Sigala, 20-1, 116): Spectacular Array returns to New Mexico off of his 3 3/4-length victory over non-winners-of-four Ohio-bred allowance company on June 8 at Thistledown Racetrack near Cleveland. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of 2009 Florida Derby (G1) winner Quality Road has won four of his nine starts and will be making his first-ever start against stakes company on Saturday.
4.OL WINEDRINKER WHO (Trainer Joel Marr, jockey Miguel Fuentes Jr., 8-1, 118): Texas-bred Ol Winedrinker Who is the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap defending champion, as the 7-year-old gelding rallied to win this race by a clear 4 3/4 lengths last year. He has won two stakes since then, the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 Ruidoso Downs Thoroughbred Championship on September 7, and the 1 1/16-mile Curribot Handicap at Sunland Park on February 28. Ol Winedrinker Who has won two of his three starts at Albuquerque Downs, and three of nine at this 1 1/8-mile distance. He has earned nearly $750,000 for his breeders and owners, Sam E. and Sammy L. Stevens.
5.SHOTGUN KOWBOY (Trainer C.R. Trout, jockey Jareth Loveberry, 5-2, 121): A homebred 4-year-old gelding bred in Oklahoma by his owner and trainer C.R. Trout, Shotgun Kowboy ran second, a neck behind Smack Smack, in the Cornhusker Handicap. Shotgun Kowboy also finished second in a pair of Grade 3 stakes during the Lone Star Park meet, including the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Lone Star Park Handicap (G3) on May 30. The gelding’s three stakes wins last year included a half-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (G3) at Remington Park.
6.CODE WEST (Trainer Boyd Caster, jockey Israel Ocampo, 9-2, 118): Code West finished second as the 7-5 favorite in last year’s Downs at Albuquerque Handicap. A 6-year-old son of 2000 Eclipse award champion older horse Lemon Drop Kid, Code West has been well-traveled since then, as he has competed at five different tracks in five states, including Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. Code West’s current season record includes a neck victory in the 1 1/16-mile, $65,000 Jim Rasmussen Memorial Stakes at Prairie Meadows on May 30.
7.PAIN AND MISERY (Trainer Don Von Hemel, jockey Glen Murphy, 7-2, 120): A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding, Pain And Misery scored a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2-length victory in last year’s 1-mile, $55,000 Charles Taylor Derby for 3-year-olds at Albuquerque. Pain And Misery has earned $402,880 from 17 starts, and he is coming off of a close third-place finish to Smack Smack in the Cornhusker Handicap.
8.FOREST MOUSE (Trainer Henry Dominguez, jockey Ry Eikleberry, 10-1, 118): Forest Mouse prepped for this race with a three-quarter length victory in a 1-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Albuquerque on July 13. The 8-year-old Kentucky-bred stallion was coming off of a Sunland Park winter-spring campaign during which he won the 1-mile, $75,000 Winsham Lad Stakes on April 6. He has won three of eight starts at this 1 1/8-mile distance, including the 2013 Sunland Park Handicap.
NOTES FROM THE DOWNS: Saturday’s co-feature, the 5 1/2-furlong, $50,000 Duke City Sprint, has drawn a field of nine 3-year-olds, topped by 5-2 morning-line favorite Bring It On Dude. A homebred gelding owned and trained by C.R. Trout, Oklahoma-bred Bring It On Dude ended his 2-year-old season with a three-race win streak that included victories in the 6-furlong, $75,000 Kip Deville Stakes and 6-furlong, $100,000 Oklahoma Classics Juvenile Stakes (R), both at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.
(from The Downs at Albuquerque news release)