Bahamian Squall held off champion sprinter Trinniberg down the stretch to capture Saturday's $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder Race Course.
The Smile Sprint is a "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, giving Bahamian Squall an automatic spot in the race.
Trained by David Fawkes and ridden by Luis Saez, Bahamian Squall came from just off the pace in the six-furlong stakes to take the lead at the top of the stretch and was able to hold off a determined Trinniberg to post a 1 3/4- length win.
"On the turn I moved a little bit when I saw the other horse, the big favorite (Trinniberg), come inside," said Saez. "I moved and my horse responded good. He won, thank God."
Veteran racehorse Jackson Bend finished third in the 12-horse field followed by Justin Philip, Trickmeister, Close It Out, Black Diamond Cat, Fort Loudon, Artefacto, Apriority and Cajun Breeze. Off the Jak suffered an injury shortly after the start and was pulled up. Swagger Jack was scratched.
The time for the Smile Sprint on a fast track was 1:10.21.
"It's tough to keep them healthy for a long time. We'll look at something at Saratoga (next race). Every horse is different but we'll follow a similar path," said Fawkes who won the 2010 Smile and Breeders' Cup Sprint with Big Drama.
Owned by Donald Dizney, Bahamian Squall earned $201,810 with the victory to almost double his career earnings. The 4-year-old colt has now banked $411,980 with four wins in 12 starts.
This year the colt was second in the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint followed by a third in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship and fourth at Calder in the Ponche Handicap.
Bahamian Squall paid $16.60, $7.60 and $6.00. Trinniberg returned $5.00 and $4.00, and Jackson Bend paid $7.00 to show.