It's a long way from the bayous of southern Louisiana to Louisville, but owner/trainer Benard Chatters and Rand Metoyer are confidently stepping down that road with their three-year-old colt SMOKE IT RIGHT (Smoke Glacken), who puts his perfect record on the line Saturday in the $60,000 Mountain Valley S. at Oaklawn Park.
The son of 1997 Mountain Valley winner and champion sprinter Smoke Glacken has won his three career starts by a combined 24 1/4 lengths, including the Lafayette S. at Evangeline Downs last September. The Kentucky-bred is in need of a challenge and the six-furlong race attempt this week is the first of those before heading into deeper waters.
"He makes me confident," Chatters said. "I'm pretty confident he's the type that will stretch out because he's so relaxed in the mornings and so nonchalant, but all he has to do this week is run well, come out of it good and move forward toward the next endeavor."
Chatters says there's no pressure on Smoke It Right to win impressively or show anything in particular in the Mountain Valley.
"Being three-for-three makes me feel pretty good about him, but no one race is going to determine his entire future," he said. "He's showing us he's ready for this and probably will be good going on from here. He's so laid back, but then he gets behind those starting gates and he flies. He's such a fast horse, but we have a plan for what we want to try with him."
Looking to hand Smoke It Right is first loss is fellow unbeaten stakes winner GLINT (Sharp Humor). The Kellyn Gorder runner broke his maiden at Hoosier Park in September by 9 1/4 lengths, then successfully passed his stakes conditions when scoring by three lengths in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile S.
Another contender in the five-horse Mountain Valley is TRUBS (First Samurai), who posted a neck victory in the Black Gold S. at Fair Grounds on February 5.