Smooth Air and Jonesboro will each take their shot at becoming a millionaire April 25 when they square off in the $300,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park.
A field of eight was entered for the Texas Mile, which is the last of four stakes worth a total of $450,000 on the 11–race card. Post time for the feature is 5:47 p.m. CDT.
Mount Joy Stables’ Florida homebred Smooth Air will be the probable post time favorite based on his last out victory in the one-mile Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) March 14, which gave him the third grade II score of his career. In 2008, the son of Smooth Jazz—Air France, by French Deputy won the Hutcheson and Ohio Derby during his successful sophomore campaign.
Trained by Bennie Stutts Jr., Smooth Air became a legitimate Triple Crown contender last year after finishing runner-up to Big Brown in the Florida Derby (gr. I). He went on to finish 11th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
In 14 career starters, the consistent bay colt has produced a 6-3-3 mark with earnings of $932,200. Stutts is using the Texas Mile as a prep for the $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park May 25. Paco Lopez has the return mount on Smooth Air, who will break from post 2 while carrying top weight of 123 pounds.
Michael Lanford’s Jonesboro will be making the 38th start of his career and searching for his 13th victory. The 7-year-old son of Sefapiano has a pair of grade III wins on his résumé, both coming at Oaklawn Park. He won the Essex Handicap in 2007 and the Razorback Handicap last year. The chestnut horse’s only start at Lone Star came in the 2007 Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) when finishing third.
Trained by Randy Morse, Jonesboro is winless in three starts this season, his last effort a solid third-place finish in the April 4 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II). In his career, in which he has banked $943,575, he is 3-1-0 from five starts at the one-mile distance. Clifton Berry will be in the irons.
Also in with a decent chance is Zayat Stables’ Halo Najib, who is winless in more than 14 months, but was runner-up in a pair of grade II sprints in California this year, including a half-length defeat in the Potrero Grande Handicap at Santa Anita three weeks ago. The lone stakes win for the 4-year-old Mike Mitchell trainee came in the Darley Ocala Breeders’ Sale Championship in February of 2008. The son of Halo's Imagehas not won since. Jose Lezcano flies in for the mount.
$300,000 Texas Mile (gr. III, Race 10, 5:47 p.m.), 3-year-olds & Up, 1 Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Halo Najib (FL), 118, Jose Lezcano
2. Smooth Air (FL), 123, Paco Lopez
3. King Dan (KY), 116, Eguard A. Tejera
4. Por Que (KY), 116, Chris Landeros
5. Jonesboro (KY), 118, M. Clifton Berry
6. Encaustic (MD), 116, Eddie M. Martin, Jr.
7. Catmantoo (KY), 116, Chris R. Rosier
8. King Darius (FL), 116, Richard E. Eramia