Won at 3HUTCHESON S.
(gr. II , 7f , defeating Silver Edition, Halo Najib, Golden Spikes, Big Truck, Tiz It, Coal Play, Notgivinmyloveaway ).
In his first attempt at graded stakes company, Smooth Air glided to victory when he defeated Silver Edition by one length in the Jan. 5 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.
Bennie Stutts Jr. trains the 3-year-old homebred colt for Brian Burns’ Mount Joy Stables, and the son of Smooth Jazz has never finished off the board in five starts. As a 2-year-old, he broke his maiden at first asking before running second in the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes and third in the Dr. Fager Stakes.
“I’ve been training for 40 years, and this is the biggest race I’ve ever won,” Stutts said after the Hutcheson. “I want to thank Brian Burns for giving me the opportunity. I’ve had a small division for him at Calder for seven or eight years.”
Other graded stakes winners campaigned by Mount Joy Stables include grade II winner The Name’s Jimmy and grade III winner Predawn Raid. Predawn Raid, who won the 2003 Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III), was trained by Stutts, while The Name’s Jimmy, who was named after Burns’ late father, was trained by Stutts’ cousin, Charles Stutts.
Smooth Air was bred in Florida out of the winning French Deputy mare Air France, who also is a Mount Joy Stables homebred. Burns bought her dam, the stakes-winning Known Fact mare Twin Propeller, as a yearling for $18,000 from Charles Nuckols Jr. and Sons’ Nuckols Farm at the 1994 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Out of the winning Mr. Leader mare Ahpo Hel, Twin Propeller is a half-sister to grade II winner Penny’s Reshoot and stakes winners Daimon, Hope Rises, and Jack Wilson. Ahpo Hel is also the granddam of grade II winner Chace City and stakes winner Saint Daimon.
Twin Propeller died in 2002, and while the foal she had that year, an Unbridled’s Song filly named Prop, went unraced, she is a member of the Mount Joy broodmare band.
Smooth Air is the second foal out of Air France. The 9-year-old chestnut mare is also the dam of a juvenile Montbrook filly and a yearling Five Star Day filly. She was bred to Five Star Day for 2008.
Smooth Air is the initial stakes winner by second-crop sire Smooth Jazz. The 9-year-old son of Storm Boot will stand the 2008 season at Amy Boll’s Buckridge Farm near Kinderhook, N.Y., for a fee of $3,000. He previously stood at Cloverleaf Farms II in Florida.—A.H.D.
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