March 24, 2012
The James Smith Memorial Handicap will be held for the first time since 2007 when seven solid 3-year-olds compete in the 350-yard race on Sunday at Los Alamitos. The James Smith was previously contested at 870 yards and its past winners included stars like Griswold, Prankster CF, Butter Me Up CST and Travelin Show to mention a few.
Now contested down the Los Alamitos straightaway, the James Smith will be an ultra-exciting race, as the field will feature Los Alamitos Winter Derby (G1) finalist BF Farm Girl and Daniel Paniagua’s Larana 09, who has posted four good races in a row at Los Alamitos. Trained by Paul Jones, BF Farm Girl is part of a tremendous family that includes champion and multiple Grade 1 winner Strawkins and Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) finalist BF Farm Boy. An Oregon-bred filly by First Down Dash and out of the Boyle’s foundation broodmare Shirleys Strawfly, BF Farm Girl has won three of her six starts and looked sharp when winning her trial to the Los Alamitos Winter Derby two races ago. Backed at 15-1 odds in the Winter Derby final, BF Farm Girl had tons of trouble at the start but showed tremendous grit as she battled back from 10th place to finish in fifth-place. Ramon Sanchez will pilot BF Farm Girl from post three.
Larana 09 missed winning the Huntington Beach Handicap by only a half-length, but before that she easily won an allowance test by three-quarter lengths on January 15. Back in late August, Larana 09 won an allowance race and also finished second against similar rivals on September 30. Cesar De Alba will ride.
Hales & Singletary’s Tres Of Linda looks primed to deliver a big race in the James Smith after posting a solid three-quarter length victory against allowance foes on February 18. The homebred filly has hit the board in every one of her starts and two races back she was second to El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) finalist Sompin About First. She’ll be in the thick of the action.
The James Smith is named in honor of the late vice-president and general manager of the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association. Highly respected in the industry, Smith was a driving force in helping to secure Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos in the early 1990s.
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