09/30/2004 11:00PM

'Smokeclears' can end 0-for-9 skid


Whenthesmokeclears looks to be in good position to pick up his first win of the year when he faces nine others in Sunday's $40,000Gus Grissom Stakes for older Indiana-bred and -sired horses going 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park.

Although winless in nine starts this year, Whenthesmokeclears has been consistent going both short and long for trainer Lori Smock. In his last two starts here, he was second to Divorce Lawyer Jay and third to Red's Honor in allowance company at six furlongs.

Whenthesmokeclears has been primarily competing in turf routes, including a pair of seconds at Indiana Downs early this summer. He has done his best running using a middle move from off the pace. It will be up to rider Roimes Chirinos to time his move from post 5.

Likely favorite President Hoosier, trained by Steve Hoskins, won his maiden at Indiana Downs in early June and has since moved up through nonwinners-of-four lifetime allowance conditions with consecutive wins. He has the services of leading rider Ramsey Zimmerman from post 6.

Sir Traver, second in this race a year ago, breaks from post 9 with Rodney Prescott aboard for trainer John McCord. Sir Traver has posted a 3-3-2 mark from 11 starts while running over the turf in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio during the summer. He should be on or near the pace and could have his chances compromised by several sprinters who are making the move into a route for this race.