How to bet the 2022 Shoemaker Mile
Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) runner-up #5 Smooth Like Strait (4-5) will lead a field of six postward in the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Monday. Trained by Michael McCarthy, the five-year-old son of Midnight Lute led throughout in this race in 2021 en route to a facile victory, and he will be awfully tough once again while making his second run off the shelf.
Smooth Like Strait made his seasonal debut at Keeneland most recently and finished third by a neck, and improvement is likely second time back while returning to a course where he shows a 9-4-3-1 mark. The Kentucky-bred bay has posted three swift morning moves in anticipation of the holiday feature, and he will be forcing the action from the start with new pilot Flavien Prat taking the reins. The lone drawback is that the consistently excellent turf performer has suffered narrow defeats in eight of his last 10 assignments.
Conditioner Phil D’Amato has a strong pair for the race, including Grade 2 victor #1 Masteroffoxhounds (5-1). The well-bred son of War Front has typically been more effective running much longer, but I am very intrigued with the cutback in distance combined with the rail post for this test. Rockingham Ranch colorbearer has never missed the board from four local outings and figures to be a factor from the break in this spot.
The Kentucky-bred lacks prime acceleration at the one-mile trip, but he has very good tactical speed, and if the favorite doesn’t fire his best shot, then the five-year-old will get first run turning for home in his third start of 2022. Juan Hernandez retains the mount and will have the upset contender tracking the pace while saving ground throughout.
Kilroe Mile (G1) star #2 Count Again (5-2), also from the D’Amato shedrow, is a logical contender in the field. The stout late runner has been in good form this campaign, and the seven-year-old son of Awesome Again possesses the best turn of foot in the cast, as well. Ontario-bred gelding races without blinkers for the second straight time, which is curious to me, but the bay is a must-use, nonetheless. Irad coming in to ride is a major bonus.
Shoemaker Mile Wagers
- $20 exacta 5 with 1 ($20)
- $10 exacta box 1-5 ($20)
- $5 trifecta key 5 with 1,2 ($10)