(Gulfstream Park notes)
Mount Joy Stable’s homebred 4-year-old Smooth Air was prominent among the multiple graded-stakes winners under consideration for the $1 million OBS Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park, but trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. will delay the colt’s season debut.
“He’s doing just fine,” said Stutts Jan. 15 “He just isn’t ready to go a mile-and-an-eighth off the layoff against these kind of horses at this point. He’ll work again Sunday and there is a one-mile turf race in about two weeks that would fit well. He ran great when he won his only start on turf at Calder last year (Needles Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths).
“The first stakes goal could be the one-mile race on the main track (Gulfstream Park Handicap, gr. II, March 14). That’s far enough ahead to plan right now. It’s a long season with plenty of opportunities to come.”
Smooth Air emerged on the national stage here at about this time last year, winning the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) and finishing second to Big Brown in the Florida Derby (gr. I). The son of Smooth Jazz had a rough trip when checking in 11th of 20 behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
After an impressive victory in the Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown in late May, he missed much of the summer with nagging foot problems, but returned to finish a good third in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 1. Stutts used the Needles Stakes on turf at Calder as a final tune-up for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 where he finished seventh, beaten 5 1/4 lengths for it all by Raven’s Pass.
C. S. Silk set to begin sophomore season
William Pacella and George, Barbara and Fred Bonomo’s C.S. Silk will start her 3-year-old campaign in the $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream in the first step of what her connections hope places her in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) this spring at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Dale Romans, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro won the Arlington Washington Lassie (gr. III) in September at Arlington Park before setting the pace and finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
C.S. Silk drilled five furlongs Jan. 15 in a ‘bullet’ 1:00 flat in her third work since finishing second in the one-mile Delta Princess Stakes (gr. III) at Delta Downs on Dec. 5. Romans is looking forward to returning to the seven-furlong distance of the Forward Gal.
“We hope that race will be a starting point,” said Romans. “Hopefully, she will stretch her out from there, but we are taking it one race at a time. She went very, very well. I’m extremely pleased with her right now.”