Seven-year-old Smokey Fire showed he still has plenty of heart with his come-from-behind victory in Sunday's $200,000 Highlander S. (G2) at Woodbine. The son of Smoke Glacken, who had been away from the races since October of 2010, has now won five stakes at the Ontario, Canada oval, including the Grade 2 Play the King S. and a one-length triumph in the Mt. Sassafras S.
In addition to Smokey Fire, Smoke Glacken's stakes winners this year include the 3-year-old filly On Fire Baby, victorious in the Grade 3 Honeybee S.; Delaunay, winner of the $67,000 Kelly's Landing S. yesterday at Churchill Downs; and Report Card, who took the $117,525 Land of Lincoln S.
Smokey Fire settled near the back of the nine-horse field in the early stages of the six furlong Highlander. Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva began to ask the gray/roan veteran to make his move late on the turn, but hit some traffic, forcing him wide into the stretch. Still some four lengths back with a furlong to go, Smokey Fire stormed home to win by 1 1/4-lengths in a torrid 1:07.77 on the firm turf.
The time was just off the track record of 1:07.39, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 99, his best number since winning the Grade 3 Kennedy Road in late 2009.
“He was running very focused,” said da Silva. “He kicked in and he was running strong. He was in great shape.”
“When he was so far back, I was worried,” added trainer Sid Attard. “I didn’t want to see him get stuck in traffic. He ran a great race.”
The always consistent Smokey Fire is now 8-3-1 in 15 starts, with $703,173 in earnings for his owner Jim Dandy Stable.
Canadian-bred Smokey Fire is a full brother to two-time stakes winner Utterly Cool and a half brother to another dual stakes winner in Ghost Fleet.