Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who needs seven wins to reach 5,000
in his career, will ride Great Hot in Sunday’s Grade III Las Flores
Stakes for older fillies and mares at 6 ½ furlongs. He takes over for
Chantal Sutherland, who had ridden the daughter of 2002 Breeders’ Cup
Sprint champion Orientate in her last nine races, including a victory in
the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland last Oct. 22.
“The person paying the bills wanted to make a change,” trainer
A.C. Avila said, referring to owner Jessica Coudelaria. “I don’t think
Chantal did anything wrong.”
Great Hot is coming off a sixth-place finish in the Grade II Santa Maria Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.
“She had back luck in that race,” Avila said. “The day after the
race she popped a big abscess, but she’s recovered and it’s healed.”
The field for the Las Flores: She’s Cheeky, Joe Talamo; Izzy
Rules, Edwin Maldonado; Veloce Canzone, Frederic Lenclud; Home Sweet
Aspen, Joel Rosario; Great Hot, Mike Smith; and Spectacular Sky, Rafael