10/26/2015 1:41PM

Smooth Roller taking it easy in run-up to Breeders’ Cup Classic

Barbara D. Livingston
Smooth Roller will go into the Breeders' Cup Classic without having a work since Oct. 17.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – As fast as Smooth Roller got to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he’s taking the slow route there this week.

Smooth Roller has made just four starts, all since June, and in that time went from being an unraced maiden to the winner of the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita last time out. That victory that gave him a fees-paid berth in the $5 million Classic on Saturday.

But since his arrival here at Keeneland, he has done very little, merely jogging nearly every day, as he did on Monday.

Trainer Victor Garcia said Smooth Roller will not have a work this week, which means he will come into the Classic without a drill since Oct. 17, when he went five furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita. Two days later, he was on the same plane as Beholder, with Garcia saying at the time that his reason for shipping in early – and not waiting for the plane that was to carry American Pharoah on Tuesday – was to work at Keeneland.

On Monday, Garcia said Smooth Roller “doesn’t need that much.”

“He worked five-eighths at Santa Anita and galloped out a strong mile,” Garcia said. “He’s fit. Plus, it’s been raining. I don’t want to take a chance.”

It did rain for a short spell Monday morning, when Beholder turned in her final work for the Classic.

Smooth Roller had several setbacks before finally making it to the races in June of his 4-year-old year.

“We had to stop on him three times and send him to the farm and give him time,” said Garcia, who would not elaborate on the nature of the injuries. “The last two times, he was only a couple weeks away from a race.”

Smooth Roller was gelded after he returned to training earlier this year, Garcia said.

Garcia, 51, is the son of Juan Garcia, for years the unquestioned leading trainer at Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico, where he earned the nickname “King Juan.” Asked if that made him “Prince Victor,” Garcia laughed. “I’m not sure about that,” he said.

Garcia has 17 runners, including five for Smooth Roller’s owner, Miguel Rubio, who races as Lucky Charm Stable.

This will be the second Breeders’ Cup starter for Garcia, who sent out Approved to Fly to finish fourth in the Juvenile Fillies in 1988.

“Long time ago,” Garcia said. “I didn’t have any kids then, and I have grandkids now.”