No Denying Smooth Like Strait From Grade 1 Victory In Shoemaker Mile

Although he was pressed hard early, Cannon Thoroughbreds homebred Smooth Like Strait unleashed a devastating turn of foot the final quarter of a mile to take Monday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile by 1 ½ lengths under Umberto Rispoli, who collected his third win of the day at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.  Trained by Michael McCarthy, Smooth Like Strait, a 4-year-old colt by Midnight Lute, got the mile on grass in 1:34.19.

With the Shoemaker Mile being a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, Smooth Like Strait will be entitled to an automatic entry to the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Mile, to be run at Del Mar on Nov. 6.

Breaking alertly from his number two post position, Smooth Like Strait went to the lead, but was pressed by both Say the Word and Restrainedvengeance, with Say the Word never more than a half length back to his outside in the run to the quarter pole, whereupon Smooth Like Strait opened up a length and half as he straightened up for the stretch run.

“The horse responded beautifully to Umberto, they have become quite the partnership,” said McCarthy, who along with Rispoli, had suffered through a pair of gut-wrenching neck defeats in the G1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs May 1 and in the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita on March 6.  “I’m super happy for the horse and the connections.  I don’t think he was getting the respect he deserved earlier in the year, but he showed up and put together a nice campaign.  He was so relaxed for Umberto out there today.

“I’ve had an immense amount of faith in this horse all along, and I really believe that there are big things coming for him later in the year.”

A four-time graded stakes winner coming into today, Smooth Like Strait was off at 3-5 in a field of six three-year-olds and up and paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.20.

Out of the Flower Alley mare Smooth As Usual, Smooth Like Strait now has seven wins from 15 starts and with the winner’s share of $180,000, increased his earnings to $93,823.

“I love the way (he) runs, (he) puts himself in the race, (he doesn’t) cheat and (he’s a fighter,)” said Rispoli, who has orchestrated all four of Smooth Like Strait’s graded stakes victories.  “That’s what we jockeys like, we fight with them and go down to the wire together and get the job done.”

Far back early, Say the Word rallied well through the lane to be second by 1 ¾ lengths in front of Restrainedvengeance.  The second choice at 5-2 with Flavien Prat, Say the Word paid $3.40 and $2.80.

Ridden by Tyler Baze, Restrainedvengeance was off at 19-1 and paid $3.60 to show while finishing a neck in front of Next Shares.

Fractions on the race were 23.46, 46.43, 1:10.09 and 1:22.04.

The post No Denying Smooth Like Strait From Grade 1 Victory In Shoemaker Mile appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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