The lightly raced Triple Crown nominated 3-year-old colt Kulboyz will make two jumps at once when he runs in the 1-mile $75,000 Smooth Air Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course on Sunday, running in his first career stakes and going two turns for the first time.
“We’re excited to be running,” said owner Stephen Screnci. “It looks like it’s a competitive field and we’re looking forward to Sunday.”
There are six Triple Crown nominees in the race, including Kulboyz. The Angel Rodriguez trainee drew post position nine for the Smooth Air field of 11. His is the only entrant who has made only one lifetime start so far. Jockey Hugo Sanchez, who was aboard Kulboyz in his career debut, retains the mount.
“I’m hoping he gets a good clean break and they find a comfortable spot and wait a little bit,” said Screnci. “Kulboyz has shown on the training track that he has the ability to rate. The last two works we settled him a little bit and he took to it well. I think he’ll rate if he has to. I just want clean fractions. I don’t want him going :22, :45. I’m just hoping he’ll relax.”
Kulboyz broke his maiden at Gulfstream Park on January 23, scoring a 6-furlong maiden special weight race win by 2 ½ lengths after breaking third from post position one and taking the lead for good thereafter. He set fractional times of :22.99, :45.85, :57.39, with a final time of 1:09.68. His breeding, Bring the Heat - Shadow Belle, by Halo's Image, suggests a career of speed and shorter distances for Kulboyz, Screnci is hopeful that his colt will go the distance and eventually run in the Triple Crown.
While Kulboyz was nominated for the 1 1/16-mile Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream that was run on February 22, owner Stephen Screnci considered the 7-furlong Grade III Swale Stakes at Gulfstream on March 1 to be where he would have his colt run his second career start. With the local option of the Smooth Air available for the Calder-based Kulboyz, Screnci decided the home stake would be the best option.
“I thought it would be a good second step for him versus the Swale,” said Screnci. “He’s a little behind the other horses,” said Screnci. “This is only his second race. The trade-off was the distance. The Smooth Air is a mile, but it’s a two-turn mile and the Swale is a 7-furlong sprint. After I weighed everything out, I felt like keeping him at Calder on race day would give us a little bit of an advantage maybe he’d be a little bit more comfortable.”
As for the race plans for Kulboyz after the Smooth Air, Screnci is looking at a multitude of future prep races for the Triple Crown.
“I thought that I would see what he does in this race,” said Screnci, “and if he handles it comfortably there are a bunch of other prep races between the last week in March and the first week in April that we can maybe take a look at; if he’s successful there, we’ll go from there.”