Smarty Jones Stakes
Smarty Jones Stakes picks
Though it lacks graded stakes status, the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park could serve as an important stepping stone on the road to the Kentucky Derby that runs through Hot Springs, Arkansas. While many tracks across the country are struggling in the modern era, Oaklawn Park continues to thrive and each season presents a stronger stakes schedule, more generous purses, more competitive races and a deeper population of the top trainers and horses.
The Smarty Jones Stakes offers a purse of $150,000 and will be contested at one mile. It is a chance for the newly minted three-year-olds to take a spin over the surface before the graded stakes races and Kentucky Derby prep races like the Southwest Stakes, the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby, begin. For 2017, the Smarty Jones Stakes has attracted a field of eight colts and geldings.
Uncontested has been tabbed as the morning line favorite at odds of 2-1 for trainer Wayne Catalano. A dark bay son of Tiz Wonderful, he was purchased for a modest price of $20,000 and has one win from two starts.
He broke his maiden in his debut at Keeneland as a juvenile and was fourth in the Kentucky Cub Juvenile (G2) in his stakes debut. He has been training steadily since that race and has recorded two consecutive bullet workouts at Oaklawn Park. Regular rider Channing Hill has retained the mount and they will break from post position six.
Second choice at morning line odds of 5-2 is Petrov for trainer Ron Moquett. A gray son of Flatter, Petrov will be stretching out to two turns for the first time in his career. He broke his maiden in his first start going six furlongs at Churchill Downs and was second, beaten only a head, in the Kings Swan Stakes at Aqueduct in his most recent outing. Moquett saddled Far Right to win the Smarty Jones Stakes in 2015 and that colt went on to win the Southwest Stakes (G3) and finish second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Moquett and Jose Ortiz will team up with Petrov and they will break from the rail.
A fixture in the trainer’s colony at Oaklawn Park, D. Wayne Lukas will be represented by Warrior’s Club who has been installed at odds of 7-2 on the morning line. As one of the more experienced contenders in the race with already seven lifetime starts, the dark bay son of Warrior’s Reward will be trying to earn his second career win. He has been on the board five times and broke his maiden against minor stakes company at Churchill Downs in the fall in his sixth start. He was last seen finishing third in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2). Robby Albarado will be in the irons from post position two.
Here is the field for the Smarty Jones Stakes along with morning line odds.
1. Petrov, 5-2
2. Warrior’s Club, 7-2
3. Cu Rahy, 15-1
4. Rowdy the Warrior, 6-1
5. Unbridled Eagle, 8-1
6. Uncontested, 2-1
7. Romeo O Romeo, 12-1
8. Love that Lute, 20-1
1. #1 Petrov
2. #6 Uncontested
3. #4 Rowdy the Warrior
4. #Warrior’s Club