Smooth Roller a Breeders’ Cup Classic wildcard

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 17th, 2015

A debut maiden winner on June 27, Smooth Roller punched his Breeders’ Cup Classic ticket in the September 26 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, rolling to a 5 ¼-length decision in his fourth career start.

The 4-year-old gelding will bring good speed to a Classic field lacking front-runners.

Smooth Roller has inspired comparisons to Tiznow, another late developer who captured the 2000 Classic five months after breaking his maiden, but Smooth Roller is less-experienced and a year older. Tiznow went on to compete in five graded events after his maiden tally (posting a 3-2-0 mark), including a runner-up in the Pacific Classic and a start outside of California where he romped in the Super Derby.

Smooth Roller made his second start on August 1, winning an allowance at Del Mar, and followed with a fourth in his stakes bow, the listed Harry Brubaker at Del Mar on August 26.

His BRIS Speed ratings are an attribute, registering a 101 twice before an impressive 110 figure in the Awesome Again, and Smooth Roller earned a 106 BRIS E2 Pace number while pressuring the ultra-quick Bayern down the backstretch.

If he draws an inside post in the October 31 Classic, Smooth Roller could be showing the way on the lead.

The 1 ¼-mile distance should be no obstacle for the son of Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun. Smooth Roller is out of the unraced Unbridled mare Catch the Moment and counts the stakes-placed Nureyev mare Fluid Move as his second maternal dam. This is the extended female family on English Derby winner Secreto.

A $160,000 yearling purchase, Smooth Roller doesn’t have high-profile connections. Trainer Victor Garcia is perhaps best-known for conditioning Grade 2 winner Approved to Fly, the fourth-place finish in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and regular rider Tyler Baze is winless from 13 previous Breeders’ Cup starts.

And he probably won’t receive much pari-mutuel respect against the likes of American Pharoah, Beholder, Honor Code, Tonalist, Frosted and Keen Ice.

Smooth Roller faces a severe class check, but his improving form and early speed will offer some appeal for the exotics.

Smooth Roller winning the Awesome Again courtesy of Benoit Photos has the early Breeders' Cup PPs files available for all 13 races -- 4 on Breeders' Cup Friday (30th) and 9 on Breeders' Cup Saturday (31). Click here to access: