PLEASANTON, Calif. (July 2, 2015) – California-bred Smokey Image validated his 5-length debut victory over maidens June 21 with an even more authoritative 6½-length win in the $64,910 Everett Nevin Stakes for 2-year-olds on closing day Sunday at the Alameda County Fair.
Unlike his debut at the fair, when he broke slowly and was fourth early, Smokey Image had only Known Defense narrowly in front of him in the first quarter-mile Sunday. Smokey Image rolled past Known Defense on the turn of the 5½-furlong race and finished strongly in 1:03.73, bettering the clocking of 1:04.14 by Stays in Vegas in Saturday’s Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
“They told me he was sharp today, so if he broke well to let him go,” jockey Juan Hernandez said. “I felt the No. 2 (Known Defense) pushing hard inside of me to get the lead, so I let him. I knew from the first race that my horse could finish, and when I asked him, he responded really well.”
Trainer Greg James admitted some trepidation to bringing Smokey Image back just two weeks from his debut.
“I was a little concerned, but how do you pass this up?” he said. “When a 2-year-old works in 1:00 (like Smokey Image did going 5 furlongs before his debut) with the jockey just sitting there, you know you’ve got a nice horse.”
Favored Smokey Image is by Southern Image, out of the Free House mare Special Smoke, was bred by C Punch Ranch, is owned by Betty and Robert Irvin and is trained by Greg James.
He won his only other start and has earnings of $60,900. Quorum of Joy was second and Algenon third in the field of seven.