ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2017)–They call him “Big Money Mike” and anybody who saw him orchestrate an improbable come from behind win aboard the Carla Gaines-trained Bolo in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Arcadia Stakes at Santa Anita will readily attest Mike Smith is aptly named. Rank under the wire the first time around, Smith somehow got the 5-year-old horse by Temple City to relax and unleash a powerful late rally that resulted in a head victory over an unlucky What a View while getting one mile over a “good” turf in 1:34.51.
“It’s his first race back (since the Grade II Eddie Read Stakes on July 17) and it’s his first time wearing a rubber bit,” said Smith, who had just guided Vale Dori to victory in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes one race earlier. “I had a bit of trouble. He’s so strong, it’s like pulling on the barn. If you give him daylight, he’ll just run off, which he’s done before.
“I thought I had a good shot through the lane. When Graham Motion’s horse (Ring Weekend) came up on the outside of us, it was like Talladega Nights, time to ‘Shake ‘n’ Bake baby!’ He helped me push by What a View.”
Off at 6-1 in a field of five older horses, Bolo paid $14.60, $4.60 and $2.80.
Owned by Keith Brackpool’s Golden Pegasus Racing and Earle I. Mack LLC, Bolo, who also won last year’s Arcadia, notched his fifth win from 13 starts and with the winner’s share of $120,000, he increased his earnings to $614,045.
“He’s something else, this horse,” said an elated Brackpool. “Carla and I were saying ‘Get third, get third,’ then ‘Get second, get second.’ I didn’t think we had won until I saw the replay, amazing. We’ll take a look at the Kilroe (Grade I, mile on turf, March 11) next.”
California-bred What a View, who along with Conquest Enforcer, opened up two lengths on the winner at the top of the lane, prevailed by three quarters of a length for the place and paid $5.00 and $3.00.
“I just can’t beat Smith!” said Tyler Baze, who rode What a View and who was also second to Smith in the previous race, the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes. “(My horse) ran good, really good…I thought I had it once I fought off Conquest Enforcer, which I thought was the horse to beat. He came head to head with my horse and my horse dug in hard. Especially that last sixteenth of a mile. I thought, ‘Good, we’re home free. Then Bolo…It’s frustrating.”
The 6-5 favorite with Flavien Prat aboard, Conquest Enforcer held Ring Weekend off by a nose and paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.74, 46.92, 1:10.98 and 1:23.22.