Smooth Air, Halo Najib Trying to Prove They're Texas Tough in Mile

(April 23, 2009) - Saturday’s 13th running of the Grade 3, $300,000 Texas Mile, for 3-year-olds and upward, features the Florida-based, multiple graded stakes winner Smooth Air, owned by Mount Joy Stables Inc. and trained by Bennie Stutts Jr., and Southern California invader Halo Najib, a multiple graded stakes placed performer for owner Zayat Stables LLC and trainer Mike Mitchell, who trained Kela to win the Texas Mile in 2004.

A winner of six of 14 starts and $932,200 in career earnings, Smooth Air will be seeking to become racing’s newest millionaire with a win in the Texas Mile.

“He’s been working excellent in preparation for Saturday’s race,” said Bennie Stutts Jr. “We were joking around the barn the other day that he looks like a million, and if he can get it done on Saturday, he’ll go over a million dollars for his career.”

Halo Najib will do his best in his bid to deny Smooth Air his ticket into the “millionaires club” after posting three consecutive top-three finishes in Grade 2 events racing over Santa Anita’s synthetic surface, including back-to-back runner-up finishes in the San Carlos and Potrero Grande Handicaps.

Also of note in the Texas Mile is the hard-hitting veteran Jonesboro, owned by Michael Langford and trained by Randy Morse. A winner of 12 of 37 career starts for $943,575 in earnings, Jonesboro is also out to surpass $1,000,000 in earnings with a victory in the Texas Mile.

The field from the rail out, with jockey and morning line odds listed in parenthesis, consists of: Halo Najib (Jose Lezcano, 9-5); Smooth Air (Paco Lopez, 6-5); King Dan (Eguard Tejera, 15-1); Por Que (Chris Landeros, 15-1); Jonesboro (Cliff Berry, 6-1); Encaustic (Eddie Martin, Jr., 15-1); Catmantoo (Chris Rosier, 20-1); and King Darius (Richard Eramia, 30-1).

Scheduled as race 10 on the 11-race program, the Texas Mile has an approximate post time of 5:47 p.m.

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