DEL MAR, CA – Cannon Thoroughbreds homebred Smooth Like Strait hit the front early and never looked back en route to wiring Sunday’s $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
Breaking from post 11 under Geovanni Franco at 15/1 odds, Smooth Like Strait sprinted ahead of his inner-drawn foes and crossed over to the rail prior to passing the wire for the first time. Heading into the clubhouse turn, Go Time gave closest watch as Smooth Like Strait posted opening fractions of :22.91, :47.99, and 1:12.48.
Beginning to separate heading into the far turn, Smooth Like Strait hit the top of the stretch with a 2-length advantage. Put to task lightly, Smooth Like Strait strolled home strongly for victory. The Michael McCarthy trainee crossed 2 1/2 lengths the best in a final time of 1:36.02 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“He ran well,” Franco said. “He showed he could handle the distance nicely. Mike has done a nice job with him, moving him up and along nicely. He handled this course fine today. I think the rain was good for it. For the dirt track, too. They both seem to be very good right now. The winner is a nice colt. He may be ready now to step up and win some other really good races.”
Goliad came running three-wide in the stretch and got up for second, 3/4 of a length past Last Opportunity, who nosed out the 2/1 favorite Hit the Road for third. Liar Liar was a 1/2-length behind him them in fifth, while Albert Park was a neck and a head past Encoder and a weakened Go Time.
Completing the order of finish came Hariboux, Fore Left, Kanderel, Midnight Jostar, and War Beast.
Smooth Like Strait’s win was his second in a row, having broken his maiden last time out while sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs over the Santa Anita Park lawn. The 2-year-old son of Midnight Lute has now earned $96,351 to go with a record of 4-2-0-1.
“He had a good work at Del Mar this summer before he ran on Pacific Classic day on the dirt and just spun his wheels,” McCarthy said. “It was always in the back of my mind to try him on the grass because he acts like a grass horse. Obviously, today he was able to get himself on an easy lead, put them to sleep, and the rest is history.”
Smooth Like Strait returned $33.20 to win, $16.20 to place, and $14.20 to show. Goliad brought back $7.60 to place and $4.80 to show, while Last Opportunity paid $16.40 to show.