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BF Farm Girl Wins James Smith Handicap

First Down Dash filly prevails at Los Alamitos despite trouble.

March 26, 2012

After BF Farm Girl had endured a troubled race in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, the last thing that owners Don and Peggy Boyle of Madras, Oregon, wanted to see was their prized filly getting bumped from both sides like she did at the start of the $20,000 James Smith Memorial Handicap. BF Farm Girl was up to the challenge this time around, as the daughter of First Down Dash overcame this adversity while recording a highly impressive three-quarter length victory over the improving Tac It To Heart on Sunday at Los Alamitos Race Course.

BF Farm Girl broke inward just a tad and bumped with her inside rival first before slightly brushing her outside foe a few steps out of the gate. To her credit, the 2-1 favorite swiftly recovered and quickly made up ground on her rivals. By the halfway point, BF Farm Girl was even with the leaders and a few moments later she had cleared them on the way to her second victory from her last three starts. Ridden by Saul Ramirez for trainer Paul Jones, the talented filly covered the 350 yards in :17.785 and is quickly becoming one of the top 3-year-old fillies on the West Coast.

In late January, BF Farm Girl finished strongly to win her trial to the Winter Derby. After that victory, she entered the derby final as a major contender, but she became fractious before the race, had a very difficult trip, and never contended. As a 2-year-old, the Oregon homebred had a couple of shining moments, including a nice allowance victory over El Primero Del Ano Derby (G2) finalist Willie Dasher. BF Farm Girl has now won four of seven starts and her earnings of $11,000 in the James Smith have her career bankroll at $34,265.

BF Farm Girl’s mother is the outstanding broodmare Shirleys Strawfly, whom the Boyles purchased more than a decade ago at the advice of trainer Jimmy Glenn Jr. Shirleys Strawfly has been an amazing producer for the Oregon couple. She’s produced three horses for the Boyles that have gone on to set track records at different locations and has also produced a slew of Grade 1 qualifiers, including the outstanding champion Strawkins and the 2010 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1) finalist BF Farm Boy.

Trained by Tom Bazley for owner and breeder Judy Misch, Tac It To Heart also overcame some early trouble in the James Smith. The filly by Tac It Like A Man broke in and was in last-place before motoring down the lane. From seventh early on to second-place at the finish line, Tac It To Heart has now hit the board in each of her last four starts, including two victories during that span. Eulices Gomez rode Tac It To Heart from the inside rail to earnings of $4,500 in this race.

Checkedbound, Hezaregal Charmer, Larana 09, Tres Of Linda and Running Out completed the field.

The James Smith was being held for the first time since 2007. Now a race strictly for 3-year-olds, this race was previously held at 870 yards. Its past winners include champions Griswold and Prankster CF.

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.