Smooth Air Likely Bound for Ohio Derby

From Calder Race Course

Mount Joy Stable’s 3-year-old Smooth Air bounced out of his 11th-place finish behind Big Brown in the May 3 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in good condition, and trainer Bennie Stutts, Jr. now has him targeted for the $300,000 Ohio Derby (gr. II) at Thistledown May 31.

“He got back here by van on Tuesday,” said Stutts the morning of May 11 from his Calder Race Course barn. “He never backed off his feed at all with the whole experience. Other than a little scrape on a hock, he came back fine. He got off badly and was checked twice in the race.

“The chart says he broke 15th, but I think it was closer to 18th and he got knocked around pretty good,” Stutts continued. “Then we had missed the two days of training the week before, and I couldn’t work him when I wanted to Sunday, and that didn’t help either.”

“It was a wonderful experience that I’ll never forget,” Stutts continued of the Derby. “He’s back galloping, and I’ve already nominated him (for Ohio Derby). If things go well, that’s where he’s going.”

The homebred son of Smooth Jazz won the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in January and finished second to Big Brown in the Florida Derby (gr. II) to earn his berth in the 134th Derby.