Eventually, the routine, the repetition and the lessons learned every day either sink in or they don’t.
For trainer Robert Reid Jr., CJZ Racing Stable’s One Smokin’ Lady was particularly frustrating because she got almost everything right.
“She was ready to run two months before she actually made her first start,” Reid said said from Philadelphia Park. “It was very hard to get her to break. She’s as smart a filly as you’ve ever seen, but when that gate opened, she would just stand there.”
In her first two starts, One Smokin’ Lady broke badly, resulting in a distant third-place finish in her debut on November 30 and a 1 ½-length loss on December 13.
But in her last start, she got out fast and true and romped to a 5 ½-length victory, earning her a spot in Saturday’s 17th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Cicada for three-year-old fillies at six furlongs. The Cicada will be race 9 (4:50 p.m.) of a 10-race live card that begins at 1 p.m. It is also the third leg of a guaranteed $250,000 late Pick 4 that begins on race 7 (3:52 p.m.).
It is easy to see why Reid is excited about One Smokin’ Lady. Her sire, Smoke Glacken, was a popular speedball who, as a two-year-old, won the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga by nine lengths. At 3, he won six of eight starts, including Belmont Park’s Grade 3 Riva Ridge and Laurel’s Grade 2 DeFrancis Memorial.
The Cicada, however, will be One Smokin’ Lady’s first trip outside of Philadelphia Park, but Reid believes she has earned her chance at some black type.
“Her numbers on the sheets are good, and we always felt that she could be any kind,” Reid said. “Once she figured out how to break, that was it. She broke on a dime last time and never looked back.
“Like I said, she is a very smart filly and she seems to have figured it out. If we’re right about her, this is a good place to really get started. The good thing about her earlier races is that we know she doesn’t have to be on the lead.”
With regular jockey Frankie Pennington serving a suspension, One Smokin’ Lady will be ridden by Jose Flores in the Cicada.
“Jose worked her the other day (four furlongs, 47.38, March 7) and really liked the way she went,” Reid said. “She’ll ship up on race day.”
Five fillies here, including One Smokin Lady, will carry 118 pounds. The highweight at 120 pounds is John Petrini’s Love That Dance. Love That Dance will break from post 5, while One Smokin’ Lady will break from the outside in post 6.
Love That Dance, a daughter of Not for Love, has a record of 3-2-0 from six starts for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. She closed out 2008 a pair of impressive wins, including a 5-length victory in the New Jersey Juvenile at the muddy Meadowlands on November 7.
Jockey Mike Luzzi will ride on Saturday.
The home field advantage seems to belong to Stewart L. Armstrong’s Dream Play, who has won two of three career starts for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Saturday, the Hennessy filly will break from the rail on the Big A’s inner track where she easily won the Dearly Precious on February 14.
What was particularly impressive about that race was that Dream Play had overcome some ankle issues that forced a layoff from May 2008 until January 2009. The Dearly Precious was only her second start off the layoff, and after being pushed from the start by Chattertown through a quarter mile of 23.32 and a half-mile of 46.99, Dream Play was in front by a head when she suddenly kicked clear and came home an easy 8¼-length winner in 1:10.86.
Eddie Castro has the mount for the Cicada.
Daily Star, who just broke her maiden at first asking by a neck on February 4; Heart Ashley, up from the Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen, and Purrfect Bluff, who just broke her maiden in her fifth career start, complete the Cicada field.
The field for Saturday’s 17th running of the Grade 3, $100,000-added Cicada:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Dream Play Kiaran McLaughlin Eddie Castro 118
2. Daily Star John Terranova II Richard Migliore 118
3. Heart Ashley Steve Asmussen C.C. Lopez 118
4. Purrfect Bluff Gary Contessa Channing Hill 118
5. Love That Dance Ben Perkins Jr. Mike Luzzi 120
6. One Smokin’ Lady Robert Reid Jr. Jose Flores 118