12/16/2008 12:00AM

Smooth Air works toward '09 season

Barbara D. Livingston
Smooth Air, shown training prior to his seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic, has taken time off and is pointing for a return to the races next month in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream.

MIAMI - Smooth Air has returned to his home base at Calder and has already started gearing up for a 4-year-old campaign that could begin next month in Gulfstream Park's $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic.

Smooth Air was given a month off in Ocala following his seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He had his first official work since the Breeders' Cup here Sunday morning, going an easy five furlongs in 1:02 under regular exercise rider Jody Gelb.

"He had a good month off," trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. said. "He was so strong going a two-minute lick on Friday morning that I thought it was time to let him go ahead and breeze, and he did it easily. He hasn't lost much conditioning since the Breeders' Cup, and I think if things go well, we can make the Sunshine Millions with him."

Stutts said Smooth Air will go an eighth of a mile farther in each of his subsequent workouts.

"If he can make the Sunshine Millions fine," Stutts said. "If not, there are plenty of opportunities down the road. Hopefully, there is a Grade 1 somewhere with his name on it. That's our major goal [next] year, to enhance his future at stud."

Smooth Air won 3 of his 8 starts as a 3-year-old, including the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and Hutcheson Stakes. He also was second in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and 11th in the Kentucky Derby.

Trujillo making up for slow start

Jockey Elvis Trujillo was the riding star on last Saturday's Grand Slam card, capturing two of the four graded stakes races on the program, including the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight with a nicely judged ride aboard defending champion Presious Passion. He also won the Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap aboard Yesbyjimminy for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.

Trujillo, who captured the 2007 Calder riding title, did not win his first race until nearly three weeks into the Tropical at Calder meet after returning from a fractured wrist suffered in a spill at Monmouth Park on Aug. 15. Trujillo also missed three months earlier this year due to another wrist injury incurred in a nasty spill last winter at Gulfstream Park. Despite the late start, he has climbed into sole possession of second place in the standings with 35 victories through Monday, behind only defending champion Manoel Cruz.

Zito gets a win with Nowhere to Hide

Trainer Nick Zito, always a big supporter of Calder racing following his arrival in south Florida each December, wasted little time finding the local winner's circle when sending out his promising 2-year-old Nowhere to Hide to a popular victory Saturday.

Nowhere to Hide, a son of Vindication owned by My Meadowview Farm, had suffered a string of frustrating losses earlier this year in New York and had to overcome a wide trip before asserting his class edge to finally win his maiden in his local debut.

Ortiz wins five races in two days

Apprentice Jose Ortiz, who had won only five races over the first 36 days of the meet, matched that total within 24 hours after booting home five winners on Sunday and Monday's cards. Two of Ortiz's victories came for trainer Walter Rosas-Canessa - first-time starter Right Impression on Sunday and Sicilian Honor the following afternoon. The five-pound apprentice's hat trick Monday also included tallies aboard Secret Account and Electric Bill.

Gulfstream stakes nominations

Nominations for the first five stakes races on the 2009 Gulfstream Park schedule close Saturday. The races include the Spectacular Bid and Grade 3 Hal's Hope on opening day, Jan. 3; the Grade 3 Old Hat on Jan. 4; the Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 10; and the Marshua's River on Jan. 11.

Doug Bredar, who will be serving his first season as racing secretary at Gulfstream, has appointed Alan Fox as his stakes coordinator for the upcoming season. Bredar also advised horsemen who'd been pointing for the recently canceled Tropical Park Derby that he has the one-mile, $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf as an alternative at Gulfstream on Jan. 17.