Grade I winner Smooth Roller, who was a candidate to challenge Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on the front end, was announced as a scratch out of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday morning.
With Smooth Roller scratched and champion Beholder being declared out of the race on Thursday, this year’s Classic field is reduced to eight horses and is tied with the 1984, 1985 and 1989 Classics for the smallest field ever.
Trained by Victor Garcia, Smooth Roller has only made four career starts but earned his way into the Classic field with a win in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita Park on Sept. 26. Speculation about his status for the Classic has swirled since he arrived in Kentucky on Oct. 19 as the 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding had not worked since going 5 furlongs at Santa Anita on Oct. 17 and did little more than jog during his training at Keeneland.
With both Smooth Roller and Beholder out of the Classic, Grade I winner Frosted would seem to be the only remaining entrant capable of putting any pressure on American Pharoah on the front end.
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Also Saturday morning, Talmada, who drew into the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf field Friday, is now a scratch out of that spot. Hard Not to Like was also scratched.
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