Won at 3OHIO DERBY
(gr. II , 9f , defeating Cherokee Artist, Z Fortune, Medjool, Your Round, Instill, Celtic Meal, Stolen Chevy ).
m! Brands (gr. I) were compromised after breaking in the air, got away smoothly in the May 31 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown. That might have been all it took. Breaking from the inside post, the Smooth Jazz colt maintained good position before breaking lose in the stretch and winning by four lengths as the 9-5 second choice.
Smooth Air, who ran unplaced in Big BrownÕs Kentucky Derby, races as a homebred for Brian D. BurnsÕ Mount Joy Stable. The outfit is named for Mount Joy East, the farm in County Tyrone in present day Northern Ireland where BurnsÕ father, Jimmy Burns, was raised. The elder Burns also had a horse named after him. The colt, a grade II winner, was named The NameÕs Jimmy.
It was Brian BurnsÕ daughter, Brittany, who came up with the idea of breeding Smooth Jazz to the French Deputy mare Air France that produced Smooth Air. ÒIt was pure speed on speed,Ó Brian Burns said.
The mating of Smooth Jazz to Air France was made on a share that Burns owned on the stallion. Smooth Jazz stood at the time at Cloverleaf Farms II near Reddick, Fla. Burns also owned an interest in Smooth JazzÕs sire, Storm Boot, who stood at Pope McLeanÕs Crestwood Farm near Lexington.
Smooth Jazz won the Commonwealth BreedersÕ Cup Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs and the Best Turn Stakes at six furlongs. Burns also saw plenty of speed in Air FranceÕs female family.
ÒThey say you canÕt teach speed, but you can teach stamina, and thatÕs exactly what (trainer) Bennie Stutts Jr. has done with Smooth Air,Ó Burns said.
In his race prior to the Kentucky Derby, Smooth Air showed enough speed and stamina to run second in Big BrownÕs Florida Derby (gr. I) at 11Ú8 miles, the same distance as the Ohio Derby.
Brittany Burns, who assists her father in the familyÕs insurance underwriting firm, has taken charge of the racing operation. ÒAt one time we had 160 horses, which were too many, and Brittany said she needed to be in charge,Ó Burns said. ÒWeÕre now down to 87 horses.Ó
Air France, who is kept at Crestwood, produced a Five Star Day filly this year. She had been bred to Tale of the Cat.
In addition to Crestwood, Burns keeps horses at Highclere near Lexington and at Blue Sink Farm near Ocala, Fla. Burns stands the stallion Irish Road at Signature Stallions near Ocala. Irish Road is a half-brother to Air France.
Smooth Air is the first stakes winner for second-crop sire Smooth Jazz, who stands for $3,000 at Buckridge Farm near Kinderhook, N.Y.ÑD.S.
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