Grade I winner Smooth Roller, who was a candidate to challenge Triple Crown winner American Pharoah on the front end, has been scratched by the stewards from the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday.
Smooth Roller’s scratch came on the recommendation of Kentucky State Veterinarian Will Farmer due to a ‘tendon’ issue in his left foreleg.
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 September 26. Speculation about his status for the Classic has swirled since he arrived in Kentucky on October 19 as the 4-year-old Hard Spun gelding had not worked since going five furlongs at Santa Anita on October 17 and did little more than job 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.