• FRANKEL ADMIRER SMITH OPTIMISTIC ABOUT VIVO PER LEI
• HOW TO GET A NEW GARDENER, BOBBY FRANKEL STYLE
SMITH EXPECTS BETTER TRIP FOR VIVO PER LEI IN FRANKEL STAKES
Everybody’s got a Bobby Frankel story. Everybody who knew him, anyway.
Mike Smith is no exception. The 47-year-old Hall of Fame rider rode one of the last
stakes winners saddled by Frankel before he died at the age of 68 on Nov. 16, 2009, when he piloted champion filly Stardom Bound to victory in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on March 7 of that year.
On Sunday, Smith rides 6-1 morning line chance Vivo Per Lei for trainer John Shirreffs in the third running of the Robert J. Frankel Stakes, formerly run as the San Gorgonio Handicap, a race Frankel won eight times, starting with Extra Hand in 1973.
As for Vivo Per Lei, Smith rode the 5-year-old mare by Empire Maker (who won the 2003 Belmont Stakes for Frankel) once, finishing an eventful third in the Grade II Goldikova Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.