Smooth Sails Eastward: Smooth Like Strait Sets Sail for Maker’s Mark Mile

Smooth Like Strait: A Turf Star Ready to Shine

Smooth Like Strait, an impressive turf runner, is set to compete in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland. Trained by Mike McCarthy, this race will serve as a test leading up to his potential participation in this year’s Turf Classic. As the morning line favorite at 2/1 odds, Smooth Like Strait is determined to continue his remarkable streak of success.

A Consistent Performer

Smooth Like Strait has consistently delivered exceptional performances, never finishing off the board in his last ten races. His journey began in September 2020, when he secured a fourth-place finish in the American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs. Since then, the son of Midnight Lute has been an active participant in graded stakes races, accumulating an impressive record of 3 wins, 6 second-place finishes, and 1 third-place finish. Even in his defeats, he has never lost by more than a half-length, showcasing his remarkable consistency and tenacity.

A Taste of Victory

In May last year, Smooth Like Strait claimed victory in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita Park, further solidifying his status as a top turf runner. With seven career wins out of nineteen starts and over $1.4 million in earnings, Smooth Like Strait proves to be a gritty competitor dedicated to achieving another triumph.

Lessons from Breeders’ Cup Mile

Although Smooth Like Strait has proven his abilities on various tracks, his last start at the Breeders’ Cup Mile revealed a valuable lesson. Despite commanding the Del Mar turf for most of the race, he was overtaken by Space Blues in the final furlong, resulting in a half-length loss. This experience highlights the importance of pacing and conserving energy for Smooth Like Strait, indicating that a well-executed race strategy will be crucial for victory.

A Stellar Field

The Maker’s Mark Mile features a highly competitive field, including several Grade 1 winners. While Space Blues will not be participating, Brazilian-bred Ivar, In Love, and Canadian-bred Count Again will be vying for victory. Ivar, the winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile in 2020, holds odds of 6/1. In Love, the champion of the Keeneland Turf Mile last fall, stands at 10/1 odds. Count Again, triumphant in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March, enters with odds of 5/1. These talented competitors add a layer of excitement to an already captivating race.

Weather as a Determining Factor

While challenging opposition awaits Smooth Like Strait, another concern looms large for trainer Mike McCarthy: the weather. Given the potential for thunderstorms in the Lexington area, a softer turf course could significantly impact the outcome of the race. McCarthy expresses reservations about participating on such a surface, recognizing the potential challenges it may present. This external factor adds an element of unpredictability to an already thrilling event.

In Conclusion

Smooth Like Strait’s participation in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland holds immense significance as he aims to prove his mettle and secure a spot in the upcoming Turf Classic. With an impressive track record and a determination for success, he is poised to deliver another outstanding performance. However, he faces stiff competition from other Grade 1 winners, including Ivar, In Love, and Count Again, making this race a thrilling spectacle for turf racing enthusiasts. As the anticipation builds, the outcome of this race awaits, and turf racing fans eagerly await the display of speed, skill, and strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Smooth Like Strait’s record in graded stakes races?

In graded stakes races, Smooth Like Strait holds an impressive record of 3 wins, 6 second-place finishes, and 1 third-place finish in his last ten races. He has consistently performed at a high level, showcasing his talent and consistency on various tracks.

2. Has Smooth Like Strait ever competed in the Turf Classic before?

Smooth Like Strait has participated in the Turf Classic once before, finishing third by a narrow margin behind Colonel Liam and Domestic Spending. This year’s Maker’s Mark Mile will serve as a test for his potential participation in the upcoming Turf Classic.

3. How does the weather impact Smooth Like Strait’s performance?

Trainer Mike McCarthy expresses concerns about participating on a softer turf course due to potential thunderstorms in the Lexington area. While it may pose challenges for Smooth Like Strait, his exceptional adaptability and determination may allow him to overcome any obstacles presented by the weather conditions.

4. Who are Smooth Like Strait’s main competitors in the Maker’s Mark Mile?

Smooth Like Strait will face tough competition from other Grade 1 winners, including Ivar, In Love, and Count Again. Each of these talented turf runners has established their own credentials, making the Maker’s Mark Mile a highly anticipated and thrilling race.

5. What is Smooth Like Strait’s strategy for success?

Smooth Like Strait’s success relies on a well-executed race strategy that emphasizes optimal pacing and conserving energy. Based on his past performances, it is crucial for him to avoid going out too quickly to ensure he has enough stamina to hold off any challengers in the final stages of the race.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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