It’s Sizzling Time, who gave trainer Valerie Smith her first career stakes victory in the $100,000 John B. Campbell on Feb. 17 at Laurel Park, tries to double that statistic for his conditioner on Saturday in the $100,000 Native Diver, again at Laurel.

The Campbell was also the first career added-money triumph for the 6-year-old Florida-bred who is the 4-1 third choice among the seven 3-year-olds and older set to a mile-and-an-eighth.

Since winning the nine-furlong Campbell, It’s Sizzling Time was second to Native Diver program favorite Shaft’s Bullet in the $96,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial going a mile at Laurel on March 16. The gelded son of Not This Time has been in strong form in his last three starts however, having won an upper level, $55,000 optional claiming going a mile at Laurel three starts back on Dec. 31.

It’s Sizzling Time is owned by Chuckie Inc. and Mona Bowley and was bred in Florida by James W. Terdik. He is out of Coolenoughtosizzle by Songandaprayer and was purchased by Smith as a yearling for just $1,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale. 

It’s Sizzling Time has proven to be a good purchase for Smith having earned $327,766 in a career featuring 41 races, seven wins, eight seconds and seven thirds.

It’s Sizzling time will again be ridden by Jean Gregor Briceno and has drawn post six.

Shaft’s Bullet makes his first start since the Harrison E. Johnson which was his second straight victory. 

The Gary Capuano trainee also won an upper-level, $55,000 optional claiming going a mile at Laurel on Feb. 25, defeating Magic Michael, who is also entered in the Native Diver.

Shaft’s Bullet is owned by Paul L. Fowler Jr. and has won five of nine career starts with two seconds and a third and earnings of $225,580. 

Shaft’s Bullet is 9-5 on the morning line and will be ridden from post three by  Carlos Lopez. 

The second choice in the program at 2-1 is Be Better, who was third in the Campbell and since has won an upper level, $55,000 optional claiming going a mile-and-an-eighth at Laurel on March 17, defeating Native Diver entrant Vance Scholars.

Be Better is trained by Brittany Russell and has won six of 18 career starts with a second and five thirds with earnings of $319,800.

Regular rider Sheldon Russell is again aboard Be Better and they will break from post five.

Others set for the Native Diver are Magic Michael, who will be ridden by Jaime Rodriguez; Vance Scholars and jockey J.G. Torrealba, Hey Chief with Abel Cruz named to ride and Ain’t Da Beer Cold with rider Jevian Toledo.

Return to the April 12 issue of Wire to Wire