(Gulfstream Park press release)
Mount Joy Stable’s 4-year-old Florida homebred Smooth Air, winner of the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) in his most recent outing Mar. 14, will likely make his next start in the $300,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park Apr. 25, according to trainer Ben Stutts Jr.
“We considered the race at Charles Town (Charles Town Classic, 1 1/8 miles, April 18), which (as Smooth Air is a grade II winner) would have been worth $750,000 if he won it,” said Stutts April 4. “But with all things considered and the major goals ahead, we decided on the Texas race at one mile around two turns.
“Tentative plans would have him on a Fed Ex flight the Tuesday before the race and a return the following Tuesday. The major goal for him this season is to win a grade 1 and after the Lone Star race, we’ll decide between running him in the Met Mile or the Churchill race, both grade Is. We’ll keep him on a Sunday work schedule”
The $600,000 Metropolitan Handicap will be run at Belmont Park on May 25, and the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap will be run at Churchill Downs June 13.
A son of Smooth Jazz, Smooth Air won the Gulfstream Park Handicap by 1 ¼ lengths. He won the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) early last year and finished second to Big Brown in the Florida Derby (gr. I) in two previous starts over the main track at Gulfstream.