First run as the Miami Beach Sprint Handicap in 1984 at Calder Race Course, the Smile Sprint has been won by Florida-breds in 25 of the 39 editions. Since the race moved to Gulfstream Park in 2015, Florida-breds have won five of nine including the last two by Dean Delivers in 2023 and Willy Boi in 2022. Florida-breds X Y Jet (2018), Imperial Hint (2017) and Delta Bluesman (2016) also won Smile Sprints at Gulfstream Park.

Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Arindel homebred Octane, along with fellow Florida-breds Comedy Town, Mish and Loco Abarrio, will attempt to add to that legacy in this year’s $100,000 Smile Sprint for 3-year-olds and older at six furlongs.

The four Florida-breds will also be running for a $20,000 bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Octane is the 9-5 morning line favorite after defeating runner-up Loco Abarrio by six-and-a-quarter lengths in the $100,000 Big Drama for Florida-breds going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park on May 25. In four starts this year, Octane also counts a three-quarter-length tally in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap going a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 24. 

Octane is by Arindel stallion Brethren out of Star Recruit, by Aldebaran. He has produced a consistent ledger of nine wins, four seconds and a third in 20 lifetime starts with earnings of $1,102,155.

Trainer Juan Alvarado will give the leg up on Octane to Emisael Jaramillo before they depart post five.

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. returns Mish to Florida after finishing second to Skelly in the $200,000 Lake Hamilton at Oaklawn Park on May 4 and third in the $100,000 Speightstown Sprint won by Minnesota Ready at Lone Star Park on May 27, both at six furlongs.

His previous five starts where all in Florida when he won three with two seconds including a three-and-a-half-length victory in the $100,000 NYRA Bets Sprint at Tampa Bay Downs on March 24.

“He’s very consistent,” Joseph said of Mish. “He’s an older gelding. No matter what track you send him to, wherever he goes, he tries his best. He’s very, very consistent, just a hard-knocking horse that has a lot of try in him.”

Mish has won nine with seven seconds and four thirds in 30 starts with earnings of $522,187. He is by Field Commission out of Wicked Great, by Greatness and was bred in Florida by Joyce Mary Kielty.

Mish is 12-1 in the program and will be ridden by Samy Camacho from post four.

Mulitple graded stakes-winner Sibelius returns to the track for the first time since a disappointing 11th in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Nakheel won by Tuz at Meydan Race Course on March 30.

“[Jockey] Ryan Moore came back after the race and said the horse outside of him was laying in on him the whole race and that he wasn’t able to find his stride,” trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer said. “So, I’d think that is a legitimate excuse.”

In two starts prior to the Golden Shaheen, Sibelius swept the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector on Dec. 23 at Gulfstream Park and the $75,000 Pelican at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 10 for the second consecutive year.

Sibelius is owned by Jun H. Park and Delia Nash and has won nine of 25 career starts with three seconds and three thirds. He is the richest in the field with earnings of $1,789,751.

Sibelius has drawn post seven and will be ridden by Edwin Gonzalez.

Joseph will also saddle Comedy Town, who steps up in class after winning a first condition, $25,000 optional claiming over a sloppy six furlongs on June 8. 

The 6-year-old son of Speightstown out of Unbridled Humor, by Distorted Humor was bred by Live Oak Stud and is owned by Joseph and Ten Twenty Racing.

He is 15-1 in the program and will be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke from post three.

Loco Abarrio is trained by Ronald Spatz for Mad Dog Racing Stable and Joseph Parker. 

Prior to the Big Drama, he was third in the Gulfstream Park Sprint won by Smile Sprint rival Run Classic.

By Bridlewood Farm stallion Valiant Minister out of Ballyhoo Moon, by Malibu Moon, Loco Abarrio was bred by Rivermont Farm.

At 20-1 on the morning line, Loco Abarrio has post eight and jockey Miquel Vasquez.

Completing the field are Swirvin and jockey Edgard Zayas, Legacy Isle with Joseph Trejos in the irons and Run Classic with Leonel Reyes.

Return to the July 5 issue of Wire to Wire