03/02/2011 6:06PM

Smoke It Right seeks to earn shot at Arkansas Derby


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Smoke It Right has not made a wrong move in three career starts and with the right kind of performance Saturday in the $60,000 Mountain Valley at Oaklawn he could be headed to the Arkansas Derby, said his co-owner and trainer, Benard Chatters.

“We’re going to try to get to the big races,” Chatters said. “He’s a pretty nice kind of colt.”

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Smoke It Right has won his three starts by a combined margin of 24 lengths. The Mountain Valley, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds, will be his first start outside of Louisiana. But he should feel at home. Trubs, who won the $50,000 Black Gold last month at Fair Grounds, will ship in for the race from New Orleans, his trainer, Al Stall Jr., said on Wednesday.

Smoke It Right set a track record for 4 1/2 furlongs at Evangeline Downs back in June, when he won a maiden special weight in 51.40 seconds. He proceeded to take the $50,000 Lafayette, also at Evangeline, by eight lengths Sept. 6. Smoke It Right has raced one more time since, and cruised by more than three lengths in a second-level allowance at Delta Downs on Feb. 11.

“To be honest, he’s never been asked to run yet,” Chatters said. “This race coming up, we’ll be able to see a little bit better what we’re kind of dealing with.”

Chatters would like to see the horse advance to the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles April 16.

“He’s a Smoke Glacken – they’re not really known for stamina – but he’s got that Alphabet Soup on the bottom,” Chatters said. “And in the mornings, he goes like a pony. He goes real easy, never gets excited.”

Smoke It Right, who for a few weeks has been settled in at Oaklawn, will race in a bar shoe on his left hind foot on Saturday. He wore it when he won the allowance at Delta.

“He had a little quarter crack issue on the back foot and that kind of slowed us down with him,” said Chatters.

Gabriel Saez has the mount. Eddie Razo will ride Trubs, said Stall.

Chatters has a division of horses at Oaklawn for the first time, and is winning with 44 percent of his starters. Last month, he took the $75,000 Martha Washington with Holy Heavens, who is on deck for the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee on March 12.