10/06/2008 11:00PM

Smooth Air going to BC Classic


MIAMI - The final decision has been made and travel arrangements are set for Smooth Air, who will compete in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 if he qualifies for a starting berth in the 14-horse field.

"The owner definitely wants to get into the Classic, if that's possible," said trainer Bennie Stutts, referring to Brian Burns and his Mount Joy Stables. "In fact, he's already sent in his $50,000 pre-entry fee. With his permission, I also nominated Smooth Air to the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby, which is a mile and one-eighth race on the turf for 3-year-olds to be run the same day, as insurance in case we don't get into the Classic."

As of early this week, chances seemed likely Smooth Air would make the Classic field. Smooth Air has earned 20 points based on the system used to determine eligibility for Breeders' Cup races that oversubcribe. That total places him in a tie for fifth place with Student Council on the points list for the Classic. Seven horses automatically qualify for the 14-horse field, including the winners of any applicable Breeders' Cup Challenge races and the next-highest point earners. Of the four Win and You're In qualifiers for the Classic, Commentator will not run, and Well Armed is more likely to enter the Dirt Mile.

Smooth Air earned the majority of his points for victories earlier this year in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and Grade 3 Hutcheson. He also finished second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. Stutts prepped Smooth Air for the Breeders' Cup by switching him to grass for an easy win here in the Needles Stakes on Sept. 27.

"He came out of his last race excellent and is better now than he's ever been," said Stutts. "We originally had considered the Dirt Mile as well, but we've eliminated that race as a consideration."

Stutts plans to work Smooth Air twice more locally before putting him on a plane for California on Oct. 18.

"I'll work him the day before he flies and then do little more than gallop and two-minute lick him once he gets to Santa Anita," said Stutts. "Although he's never raced on the Pro-Ride, he seems to run well and try hard on any surface."

Stutts is also enthused about another 3-year-old he has in the barn for Mount Joy: Hyphen, who was an easy debut winner here Saturday.

"That horse can run," Stutts said of Hyphen, who is a son of Elusive Quality and a half-brother to Grade 1 winner and millionaire Mandy's Gold. "I had him ready last year and was really excited about him, but he developed a little chip and I had to stop on him and give him some time. I won't rush him now either. I'll let him have a couple of easy races and season him a little bit before looking at any stakes."

Wolfson juveniles aim for undercard

Trainer Marty Wolfson will be conspicuous by his absence from the finales of both divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes. But he does figure to make his presence felt on the two undercard stakes for juveniles on the Oct. 18 Festival of the Sun program when he sends out You Luckie Mann and Frolic's Dream as the likely favorites in the 5 1/2-furlong Birdonthewire and Cassidy stakes.

Both speedy juveniles tuned up for those assignments on Tuesday, with You Luckie Mann working a bullet half-mile in 47 seconds and Frolic's Dream going the same distance in a more leisurely 49.

You Luckie Mann was the beaten favorite in the first two legs of the open division of the Stallion Stakes, finishing third behind Big Drama in both the Dr. Fager and Affirmed. Frolic's Dream was an impressive winner of her career debut, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 85 for her one-length victory over the more experienced Pink Gloss.

Wolfson also nixed an earlier notion he had about sending It's a Bird to the Breeders' Cup Marathon. It's a Bird is coming off an easy victory in the 1 1/2-mile Plagiarize Stakes on Sept. 20.

"We thought about the Marathon, but it looks like it's going to come up very tough," Wolfson said, "so we'll just keep him home and probably point for the Florida-bred stakes here a couple of weeks later."

Wolfson was referring to the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 8.