SMILE PRINT HANDICAP | PURSE: $350,000 | GRADE 2 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | 6 FURLONGS
MIAMI -- A year ago, Bisnath Parboo was a relatively unknown trainer struggling to make it on the New York circuit with fewer than career 15 winners on his résumé. Now, Parboo could be headed to the Breeders' Cup after his Giant Ryan rallied to a neck victory over Irrefutable in the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, a Breeders' Cup Challenge event for the BC Sprint.
The Grade 2 Smile gave Giant Ryan, a New York bred-son of Freud, his fifth straight victory. The win was also the biggest and most important by far for Parboo who trains Giant Ryan for his son Shivananda Parboo.
Giant Ryan rated just off the pace of Irrefutable while saving ground under jockey Cornelio Velasquez, angled off the rail rallying into the stretch, then wore down the leader in the closing strides. Irrefutable set a modest pace of 22.39 and 45.52 seconds for the opening half-mile while racing off the inside rail, angled back down near the fence once settling into the stretch and just failed to last.
Noble's Promise, the 3-2 favorite, raced within easy striking distance and was gaining on the top pair at the end. Royal Tricon, How's Your Halo, and This Ones for Phil rounded out the complete order of finish.
Apriority was scratched earlier in the day because of a foot abscess.
Giant Ryan completed six furlongs in 1:11.34 over a racetrack upgraded from sloppy to "good" following the seventh race and paid $7.40.
"He's the type of horse who likes to see another horse next to him, and I knew at the top of the stretch he would win," said the younger Parboo. "We ran him in New York against statebreds this winter to get his confidence back, but he's been training at Calder since October and running in this race was our plan all along."
Shivananda Parboo said the Grade 1 Vosburgh could be Giant Ryan's next major objective and his final prep before the Breeders' Cup.