Smooth Roller on course for BC Classic after Saturday move at Santa Anita
Edited Press Release
Smooth Roller, who earned a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on October 31 by virtue of his impressive 5 1/4-length victory in the Awesome Again S., worked five furlongs over Santa Anita’s fast main track Saturday in 1:01 under Tyler Baze, who rides the four-year-old Hard Spun gelding in the 1 1/4-mile Classic.
“His win might have surprised some people, but not me,” said trainer Victor Garcia, who has Smooth Roller set to leave for Kentucky on Monday. “It didn’t surprise me at all. When Tyler started working the horse, he thought he could really run. He was really happy with him.”
Garcia is undaunted by the prospect of facing Triple Crown king American Pharoah and two-time Eclipse Award champion Beholder in the Classic.
“Two superstars,” is how he assessed their status. “But you never know. Keeneland is a different surface than here, but my horse can handle that, too.”
Said private clocker Toby Turrell of The Yellow Sheet: “Smooth Roller worked well over a real deep track. He’s dead fit, real sound, and thriving.”
With 173 recorded workouts Saturday on Santa Anita’s main track, clockers and horsemen had their stopwatches churning virtually all morning.
In addition to Smooth Roller, among the Breeders’ Cup candidates on the track were Breeders’ Cup Sprint contenders Wild Dude (five furlongs in 1:02.40 for Jerry Hollendorfer); Big Macher (six furlongs in company with Little Jerry, the former getting 1:14.60 and the latter 1:15.40 for Richard Baltas); Kobe’s Back (four furlongs in :47.80 for Peter Eurton).
Also, Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner Hard Aces readied for the Classic with a five-furlong move in 1:00.40 for trainer John Sadler; stablemate and Santa Anita Oaks winner Stellar Wind tuned up for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff with a seven-furlong work in 1:27.20; and FrontRunner runner-up Swipe clocked five furlongs in 1:01.20 for Keith Desormeaux ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“She went excellent,” said Victor Espinoza, who was aboard Stellar Wind after the 7:30 a.m. (PDT) renovation break. “She went seven-eighths following another horse. She’s pretty much ready.”
Smooth Roller photo courtesy of Benoit Photos