Stallion Spotlight offers stud farm representatives a chance to address breeders and answer questions as they finalize their mating decisions for the 2021 breeding season.

In this edition, manager and bloodstock agent Mersad Metanovic discusses Smiling Tiger, a multiple Grade 1-winning son of Hold That Tiger standing at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif.

Smiling Tiger
Ch. h., 2007, Hold That Tiger x Shandra Smiles, by Cahill Road
Race Record: 23-9-2-8; $1,480,704
Advertised Fee: $7,500

Smiling Tiger

Question: What makes Smiling Tiger an attractive stallion for potential breeders?

Mersad Metanovic: His versatility. As a 2-year-old, he was a speed demon. As he progressed and got more mature, he was a horse of all types of dimensions. He closed, he ran on turf, he ran on dirt, he ran on synthetic. You can’t find a more versatile stallion in the state of California. He’s a three-time Grade 1 winner, and we just wish we had the opportunity to run him further, because I think he would have done some great things, but the way the races lined up, that’s the way it happened.

If I’ve got a mare that needs help from a stallion physically, what can Smiling Tiger best contribute to that equation?

Metanovic: He’s 16 hands, he’s very correct. He does complement his mares. We’ve bred him to some mares that weren’t of black type, and he’s moved them up. For example, Perfect Feat (the dam of Grade 1 winner Spiced Perfection and stakes winner Cruel Intention, both by Smiling Tiger) was just an ordinary claiming/first allowance type horse, and he moved her up to being a Grade 1 producer.

Smiling Tiger hails from the Storm Cat sire line. What do you see in Smiling Tiger’s makeup that’s a direct link to Storm Cat?

Metanovic: He’s just got the fire and desire. He knows his job, and how to win, and he passes it on to the offspring. His foals are winning two races a day here, lately. It’s been a phenomenal stretch for his offspring.

Now that he’s had a few crops reach full maturity, what can end-users expect from a fully-developed Smiling Tiger in terms of physical development and distance/surface capabilities?

Metanovic: I think they’re more later 2-year-olds, probably better 3-year-olds. On the longevity side of it, you’re going to have them around for a while. We’ve got some 6-year-olds out there right now just winning races in bundles. They’re definitely durable. He’s throwing soundness, which is good. We’ve come to conclude that the best thing we can do for someone that wants to invest and breed to Smiling Tiger is they need longevity, and that’s what he brings is that soundness and a long-term approach. They’re going to be around for a while.

Hip 41, a Tale of the Cat filly out of Street Beauty. Consigned by Excel Bloodstock.

Are there any particular pedigree or physical crosses that you’ve found have had the most success in producing Smiling Tiger’s best runners?

Metanovic: Pleasantly Perfect is one of the better ones, because that bloodline produced Perfect Feat. Grand Slam’s worked really well, giving us stakes winner Smiling Shirlee. A good, put-together mare will take you a long way.

Smiling Tiger has had plenty of success siring black type runners in California, but he’s also gotten stakes horses around the country, including Grade 1 winner Spiced Perfection. How much can out-of-state success affect breeder interest in a California stallion, if at all?

Metanovic: It’s been great. We’ve got them in Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma. We’re trying to spread them everywhere. That’s really the goal, is to just get him noticed and go everywhere we can.

J. Kirk Robison has been breeding out of New Mexico and sending his mares over. Dale Malhum, who bred Ima Happy Cat who just won a stakes race at Emerald Downs, sends mares to Smiling Tiger. Rodney Orr, who was the breeder of Smiling Tiger, sends five or six mares ever year. Sue Green sends at least 10 mares from her client base every year to Smiling Tiger, so we’ve got a great deal of support. Then, we have John Harris, who is probably one of our biggest supporters, and he sends mares to him. Johnny Hilvers, who is the manager over at Harris Farms, his group brought a bunch of mares to Smiling Tiger.

It’s been a great run. This year, we bred well over 120 mares.

What’s something about Smiling Tiger that you think goes overlooked?

Metanovic: I think a lot of people have this perception that he’d just a sprinter, but he’s not just a sprinter. He can do anything you want him to do. He’s not just a one-trick pony.

Spiced Perfection, by Smiling Tiger, wins the G3 Go For Wand at Aqueduct.

What makes Smiling Tiger a value in his price bracket?

Metanovic: He’s actually terribly cheap. We actually lowered the price because of the situation this state in this whole country was in. We didn’t want to push the breeders too hard and take too much money out of their pockets. We wanted to be fair to them, financially.

If you look at him, he’s the number-one sire on synthetic in North America. He throws runners. It’s amazing.

What else should breeders know about Smiling Tiger before picking up the phone?

Metanovic: He’s available for inspection anytime they want to go see him.

He demands respect at the farm. He’s actually a riot to go watch. When they bring him out of his stall, and he gets to go into his area where he runs around and acts like the man, he would come down and he’d be screaming and hollering at the stallions on either side, and they’d just be lowering their heads. It’s funny to watch. He’s a very aggressive type of stallion, but he’s been a dream for these guys to have because he’s been so much fun, watching him progress as a runner and a stallion. He’s just always been a winner with everything he does.

To learn more about Smiling Tiger, visit his website here.

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