A field of nine, topped by 5-2 morning-line favorite Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute), will line up for Sunday’s GII Twilight Derby at Santa Anita.
Smooth Like Strait, winner of Del Mar’s GIII Cecil B. DeMille S. last December and GIII La Jolla H. in August, raced three deep on a hot pace and understandably tired to fourth as the favorite in the GII American Turf S. at Churchill Downs last time Sept. 5. The Cannon Thoroughbreds homebred worked five furlongs in 1:00 (5/37) for trainer Michael McCarthy at Santa Anita Oct. 9.
Field Pass (Lemon Drop Kid), meanwhile, sat a dream trip back in fourth in the American Turf, and, after leading in the stretch, settled for third. The 2020 GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks and GIII Kentucky Utilities Transylvania S. winner ships in from Kentucky for Mike Maker.
Farmington Road (Quality Road), runner-up in the Oaklawn S. and fourth in the split-division GI Arkansas Derby this spring, switched to grass with an allowance win when last seen at Colonial July 29.
The highly regarded Express Train (Union Rags), a double-digit length maiden winner at Del Mar last summer, makes his turf debut for John Shirreffs. He was second as the favorite in a Santa Anita optional tagger last time Sept. 26.