Euroears a Hot New Favorite
Euroears is now a seven-year-old veteran of the horse racing industry, and was bred in Kentucky. He began his career with six magnificent consecutive victories, but started raking in various positions since then. He is owned by James and Marilyn Helzer and has been trained by Bret Calhoun for the last four seasons. He has now been given over to legendary trainer Bob Baffert. The Palos Verde Stakes, which took place on Saturday, 22 January 2010, at Santa Anita Racecourse, was his first test under the guidance of Baffert, which he passed with flying colors.
His last victory was at the Thanksgiving Handicap that was hosted at the Fair Grounds in the year 2009, but on Saturday he brought his winnings up to over $490 000 and nine career wins off seventeen starts. Smiling Tiger was sent off as the race favorite, but after kicking up a fuss in the stalls, followed by him breaking late and then getting pinned up against the rail, jockey Russell Baze tried his utmost to get his well known strength going during the race, but had to settle for third place. Euroears, ridden by Mike Smith, however, gave a flawless performance from start to finish, breaking well and settling into a comfortable stride for the remainder of the race. His only competition was Captain Cherokee, whom he was able to keep at bay to take the victory of the Grade II Palos Verde Stakes by two lengths. After the race Baffert commented on the performance of both Mike Smith and Euroears saying: "He was training just fantastically. Mike did a great job. I told him just to get him on the lead. This horse was always meant to be a good horse, but he's just had a few problems."
Mike Smith was also extremely excited about the performance delivered by his mount, commenting to the media that: "Once I got him going he was just cruising. He's a great, great, classy horse. I knew what this horse was capable of because he has so much back class. I knew if I could get a clear lead, and at some point give him a breather, then go again, he would run well, and it worked." It seems that Baffert might just have the new hot favorite in his yard.