Nine to go in Smarty Jones Stakes
Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Oaklawn Park's initial stakes for 3-year- olds, the $150,000 Smarty Jones, has attracted a field of nine for the mile test. Monday's Smarty Jones is the first of three stakes leading up to the $1 million Arkansas Derby.
Trainer Lynn Whiting, who won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee, has entered Officer Alex. The colt will be ridden by Stewart Elliott from post 6.
"He's a pretty decent horse, but he has to prove how good he is. You can project a lot of things but he has to answer the questions," Whiting noted.
Owned by Winning Horses Stable and Choctaw Racing Stable, Officer Alex won the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes in his last start, a stakes also won by Smarty Jones who captured the 2004 Arkansas Derby, Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Elliott was Smarty's rider.
Officer Alex won the seven-furlong PA Nursery by a length over 7-10 favorite Res Judicata. The Pennsylvania-bred colt had been eighth in a Churchill Downs allowance race more than a month earlier on Oct. 28. He broke his maiden first time out at Parx Racing on Sept. 8. His two wins in three starts was worth $72,222.
Brown Almighty, a son of 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has drawn post 8 and will be ridden by Corey Nakatani. The chestnut colt is trained by Tim Ice.
The colt raced exclusively on turf during his first five starts, posting wins in the initial two, including the Sunny's Halo Stakes at Louisiana Downs.
Remaining at Louisiana Downs, the chestnut colt was second in the Sunday Silence Stakes and third in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland. Sent off at 18-1 under Kent Desormeaux, Brown Almighty finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in November.
Brown Almighty comes into the one-mile Smarty Jones with earnings of $114,000.
"You kind of put the pressure on yourself," explained Ice who won the 2009 Belmont Stakes with Summer Bird. "As far as everybody is concerned, if we've done our job, he's going to go out and do his. The expectations are high, but there's no pressure."
Here is the field for the Smarty Jones in post position order: Stormy Holiday Seth Martinez; Always in a Tiz, Paco Lopez; Avare, Kevin Krigger; Texas Bling, Cliff Berry; Best of Birdstone, Luis Quinonez; Officer Alex, Stewart Elliott; King Henny, Robby Albarado; Brown Almighty, Corey Nakatani and Will Take Charge, Jon Court.
Post-time will be approximately 5:38 p.m. (ET).
Coming up at Oaklawn for 3-year-olds will be the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 18 followed by the Rebel on March 16 with the Arkansas Derby on April 13.
01/19 19:33:53 ET