Keeneland's Maker's Mark Mile Contenders and Odds Announced for 4/15/22

Smooth Like Strait Makes his 2022 debut in the Grade 1 Maker's Mark Mile. (Benoit Photo)
Post PositionHorse and Morning Line Odds
1In Love (BRZ) (10-1)
2Shirl's Speight (50-1)
3Atone (12-1)
4Masen (GB) (5-1)
5Ivar (BRZ) (6-1)
6Smooth Like Strait (2-1)
7Count Again (5-1)
8Somelikeithotbrown (12-1)
9Set Piece (GB) (8-1)
10Mira Mission (20-1)
11Public Sector (GB) (8-1)

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Smooth Like Strait Makes Seasonal Bow in Maker's Mark Mile

Cannon Thoroughbreds’ homebred Smooth Like Strait, runner-up in the 2021 FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), headlines a field of 11 horses entered for the 34th running of the $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) at Keeneland on April 15 for 4-year-olds and up to run on the turf course.

The Maker’s Mark Mile will go as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time. First post is 1 p.m.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, Smooth Like Strait will be making his 2022 debut in the Maker’s Mark and will have regular rider Umberto Rispoli aboard when he exits post position six. An earner of more than $1.4 million, Smooth Like Strait compiled a 7-1-5-1 record in 2021 with his losses coming by less than a half-length. His victory came in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) and in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, he set the early pace and held the lead in the stretch but was unable to turn back the surge of race winner Space Blues (IRE).

“The horse came with a run; always does,” McCarthy said of Smooth Like Strait after his Breeders’ Cup run. “As far as American turf horses, no one has put together a campaign of his consistency.”

In addition to victory in last year’s Shoemaker Mile, Smooth Like Strait also owns graded victories in the 2019 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3) and both the 2020 Twilight Derby (G2) and Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes (G2). The 5-year-old son of Midnight Lute has finished worse than third just three times in 19 career starts boasting seven wins and career earnings of $1,423,823.

The Maker’s Mile will serve as a Breeders’ Cup Mile reunion of sorts as stablemates Ivar (BRZ) and In Love (BRZ) also will be making their first starts since last year’s World Thoroughbred Championships.

Ivar, winner of the 2020 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in what was just his third start of the year. The son of Agnes Gold (JPN) prepped for that run by finishing fourth behind his winning barnmate In Love in the 2021 Keeneland Turf Mile (G1).

In Love, a gelded son of Agnes Gold, won three straight races heading into last year’s Breeders’ Cup before finishing seventh in that eight-furlong test at Del Mar. Both Ivar and In Love are owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI and trained by Paulo Lobo.

Alex Achard will be aboard In Love from post one, and Joe Talamo is on Ivar from post five.

The other Grade 1 winner in the field is Agave Racing Stable and Sam-Son Farm’s Count Again, who is coming off a win in the Frank Kilroe Mile in March at Santa Anita for trainer Phil D’Amato. Joel Rosario has the mount from post seven.

Trainer Chad Brown won last year's Maker's Mark Mile with Raging Bull (FR) and is back for this year's edition with graded stakes winner Public Sector (GB) and European import Masen (GB). Public Sector, a son of Kingman (GB), won the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (G2), Saranac (G3), and Hill Prince (G2) Stakes in 2021 and will be making his first start since running fourth in the Hollywood Derby (G1) last Nov. 27.