03/19/2016 4:29PM

Smoove It snaps losing streak in Irish O'Brien

Benoit & Associates
Smoove It, crossing the finish line 3 1/4 lengths in front of 2-5 favorite Velvet Mesquite, survived a stewards' inquiry to win the Irish O'Brien Stakes under Flavien Prat.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Smoove It ended a five-race losing streak with an eye-catching performance on Saturday in the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred female turf sprinters at Santa Anita.

 Smoove It ($14.40) unleashed a terrific turn of foot entering the lane and kicked away late to win by 3 1/4 lengths over 2-5 favorite Velvet Mesquite, who had to check inside of Smoove It in upper stretch. The stewards immediately lit the inquiry sign, but after viewing replays let the result stand.

 Velvet Mesquite was second, a half-length better than Qiaona. Nite Delite was fourth, with Demonica last. After the race, Demonica collapsed and died while exiting the turf course, the likely victim of a cardiac episode, though the California Horse Racing Board will do a necropsy, as it does in all such instances.

 Smoove It completed about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.83 for her fifth win in 23 starts, but her first in 50 weeks. She had finished fifth of 11 behind Velvet Mesquite and Qiaona in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint on Jan. 30, then last time out was eighth of 11 going one mile in the Grade 2 Buena Vista on Feb. 20.

 Flavien Prat picked up the mount on Smoove It, a daughter of Square Eddie, because regular rider Mario Gutierrez was at Oaklawn Park on Saturday to ride Ralis in the Rebel. Both Ralis and Smoove It are owned by Paul Reddam and both are trained by Doug O’Neill.

 “She likes being down inside though, so once we crossed the dirt she wanted to go down towards the rail and once she was there, she was fine,” Prat said.

 Kent Desormeaux, who rode Velvet Mesquite, said he was “going to clip heels” if he didn’t check Velvet Mesquite when Smoove It came over.