Today's Paper Search Latest Coronavirus Elections Core values App Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Horses and jockeys break from the starting gate at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs. (Democrat-Gazette file photo)

HOT SPRINGS -- For the second consecutive year, Oaklawn begins its season with implications on the road to the Kentucky Derby.

Oaklawn opens its 116-year old racetrack today with a nine-race card featuring the $150,000 1-mile Smarty Jones Stakes for 3-year-old horses, the first of four races at the track this season to offer qualifying points for the Grade I Kentucky Derby.

"We're fortunate to be able to offer Derby points," Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort President Louis Cella said. "That's meaningful this early in the season. Like everyone else, you want to be able to see if you have the real thing, and you're not going to know unless you race. It's a great kickoff to the season, but it's also a great kickoff to the 3-year-old season at Oaklawn."

The Smarty Jones, named for the winner of Oaklawn's 2004 Southwest and Rebel Stakes, the Arkansas Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness Stakes, is set with a field of nine and a post time scheduled for 3:52 p.m.

The nine horses entered include four trained by Steve Asmussen, a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Oaklawn's training champion the last three seasons and nine of the last 13. He trains Silver Prospector, the 5-2 morning line favorite ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. and owned by Ed and Susie Orr.

Among the deep list of contenders is Bill Parcell's Three Technique, trained by Jeremiah Englehart, in his 18th season as a trainer but his first at Oaklawn. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride Three Technique.

Parcells is the retired NFL coach who led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

"This is a nice group of horses," Englehart said. "You know, Steve's got four in there, so you're never excited to see that when you see the overnight, but the nice thing is, you know you're going to have to run. They're not going to hand you anything. We have to prove that we're good enough to compete with those horses and that field."

Silver Prospector joins Shoplifted as horses trained by Asmussen in the Smarty Jones field who enter with Derby qualifying points in hand. Silver Prospector, by Declaration of War and a maternal grandson of Tapit, won the Grade II $300,000 1-mile-and-1/16th Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1. His stablemate, Cheyenne Stables' and Grandview Equine and LNJ Foxwoods' Shoplifted won the $400,000 1-mile Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Dec. 15. Each earned 10 points with their wins.

The Smarty Jones winner also earns 10 qualifying points. The race distributes 4 points to the second-place horse, 2 for third, and 1 for the fourth-place finisher.

Three Technique, by Mr. Speaker, at 9-2 the Smarty Jones' morning line third choice, has yet to race against stakes company or beyond 7 furlongs but went through three-quarters of a mile in 1:10.40 in his 7-furlong maiden victory at Saratoga Racetrack in Saratoga, N.Y., on Aug. 31, to demonstrate talent adequate for a spot on the early road to the Kentucky Derby.

"From early on, he was a horse that did everything right," Englehart said. "He was very professional in the morning. In his races, he kind of developed the right way. He's at a point now that he needs to prove that he's a next-level horse."

Asmussen also trains Smarty Jones entrant Gold Street, a son of Street Boss and maternal grandson of Fusaichi Pegasus, who won the $75,000 6-furlong Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans on Dec. 21 in his last start.

Jockey Martin Garcia, in his first full season at Oaklawn, will ride Gold Street for the first time in the Smarty Jones. He said he didn't know Dwight Pruett's Gray Attempt followed up his victory in the 2018 Sugar Bowl to win by a neck over Long Range Toddy, then trained by Asmussen, in the Smarty Jones last season.

"That means [Gold Attempt] must be a good horse," said Garcia, who rode Lookin At Lucky to victory in the 2010 Grade I Preakness Stakes. "Plus, I'm riding for a really good trainer who is always successful. It will be a tough race, but I'm pretty lucky to be in a race like that. My possibilities to win are big."

Garcia said he looked forward to his seat in the Smarty Jones, but he said the community around him seemed thrilled first by the thought of opening day at its racetrack.

"With all these good horses and all these good things, everyone is excited," he said. "It's a small town. Everyone here knows about the horse racing. Wherever you go to buy stuff, it could be food or clothes or anything, everyone's talking about the races. I think that's good for us."

"We're very, very excited," Cella said. "We're so honored that our horsemen are ready to go, to jump in the game."

2020 Oaklawn stakes schedule

JANUARY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

24 $150,000 Smarty Jones 3-year-olds 1 mile

25 $100,000 Fifth Season 4-year-olds and up 1 mile

25 $100,000 Pippin 3-up fillies and mares 1 mile

FEBRUARY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

1 $150,000 Martha Washington 3-year-old fillies 1 mile

1 $125,000 American Beauty 4-up fillies and mares 6 furlongs

8 $125,000 King Cotton 4-up 6 furlongs

15 $100,000 Dixie Belle 3-year-old fillies 6 furlongs

17 $200,000 Bayakoa+ 4-up, filles & mares 1 1/16 miles

17 $500,000 Razorback Hcp.+ 4-up 1 1/16 miles

17 $750,000 Southwest+ 3-year-olds 1 1/16 miles

22 $125,000 Downthedustyroad 3-up, fillies & mares (AR) 6 furlongs

29 $125,000 Spring Fever 4-up fillies & mares 51/2 furlongs

MARCH

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

7 $300,000 Honeybee+ 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles

7 $150,000 Hot Springs 4-up 6 furlongs

13 $125,000 Temperence Hill — 11/2 miles

14 $350,000 Essex Handicap 4-up 1 1/16 miles

14 $350,000 Azeri# 4-up, filles & mares 1 1/16 miles

14 $1 million Rebel# 3-year-olds 1 1/16 miles

21 $125,000 Gazebo 3-year-olds 6 furlongs

28 $125,000 Nodouble Breeders’ 3-up (AR) 6 furlongs

APRIL

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

4 $150,000 Purple Martin 3-year-old fillies 6 furlongs

10 $600,000 Fantasy+ 3-year-old fillies 1 1/16 miles

11 $200,000 Carousel 4-up, fillies & mares 6 furlongs

11 $250,000 Oaklawn Mile 4-up 1 mile

11 $500,000 Ct. Fleet Sprint Hcp.+ 4-up 6 furlongs

11 $1 million Arkansas Derby* 3-year-olds 11/8 miles

17 $125,000 Rainbow Miss 3-year-old filles (AR) 6 furlongs

17 $125,000 Rainbow 3-year-olds (AR) 6 furlongs

18 $1 million Apple Blossom Hcp.* 4-up, filles & mares 1 1/16 miles

18 $1 million Oaklawn Handicap# 4-up 11/8 miles

25 $150,000 Bachelor 3-year-olds 6 furlongs

MAY

DATE RACE CONDITIONS DISTANCE

1 $200,000 Ark. Breeders’ Champ. 3-up (AR) 1 1/16 miles

2 $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational 3-year-olds 11/8 miles

*Grade 1 race #Grade 2 race +Grade 3 race (AR) denotes Arkansas-bred race

2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby

The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) will be held May 2 and for

the eighth consecutive year, a tiered points system in select races will determine

who qualifies.

RACE TRACK WINNER POINTS

Iroquois Churchill Downs Cairo Cat 10-4-2-1

American Pharoah Santa Anita Park Eight Rings 10-4-2-1

Juddmonte Royal Lodge* Newmarket Royal Dornoch 10-4-2-1

Beresford* Naas Innisfree 10-4-2-1

Champagne Belmont Park Tiz The Law 10-4-2-1

Breeders’ Futurity Keeneland Maxfield 10-4-2-1

Prix du Jean-Luc Lagardere* Longchamp Victor Ludorum 10-4-2-1

Verterm Futurity Trophy* Doncaster Kameko 10-4-2-1

Breeders’ Cup Juveline Churchill Downs Storm the Court 20-8-4-2

Cattelya Sho^ Tokyo Racecourse Dieu du Vin 10-4-2-1

Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs Silver Prospector 10-4-2-1

Remsen Aqueduct Shotski 10-4-2-1

Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos Thousand Words 10-4-2-1

Springboard Mile Remington Park Shoplifted 10-4-2-1

Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun^ Kawasaki Vacation 10-4-2-1

Jerome Aqueduct Independence Hall 10-4-2-1

Sham Santa Anita Authentic 10-4-2-1

Lecomte Fair Grounds Enforceable 10-4-2-1

UPCOMING RACES

RACE SITE POINTS DATE

Smarty Jones Oaklawn 10-4-2-1 Today

Withers Aqueduct 10-4-2-1 Feb. 1

Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita 10-4-2-1 Feb. 1

Holy Bull Gulfstream Park 10-4-2-1 Feb. 1

Sam F. Davis Tampa Bay Downs 10-4-2-1 Feb. 8

El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate Fields 10-4-2-1 Feb. 15

Risen Star Fair Grounds 50-20-10-5 Feb. 15

Southwest Oaklawn Park 10-4-2-1 Feb. 17

Hyacinth^ Tokyo Racecourse 30-12-6-3 Feb. 23

Patton* Dundalk 20-8-4-2 Feb. 28

Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park 50-20-10-5 Feb. 29

Condition Stakes* Kempton Park 20-8-4-2 March 4

Gotham Aqueduct 50-20-10-5 March 7

San Felipe Santa Anita Park 50-20-10-5 March 7

Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs 50-20-10-5 March 7

Jeff Ruby Steaks Turfway Park 20-8-4-2 March 14

Rebel Stakes Oaklawn Park 50-20-10-5 March 14

Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds 100-40-20-10 March 21

Sunland Derby Sunland Park 50-20-10-5 March 22

UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse 100-40-20-10 March 28

Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 100-40-20-10 March 28

Fukuryu^ Nakayma 40-16-8-4 March 28

Cardinal Condition Stakes* Chelmsford City 30-12-6-3 April 2

Wood Memorial Aqueduct 100-40-20-10 April 4

Blue Grass Keeneland 100-40-20-10 April 4

Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita Park 100-40-20-10 April 4

Arkansas Derby Omaha Beach 100-40-20-10 April 11

Lexington Owendale 20-8-4-2 April 11

*Race held in Europe ^ Race held in Japan

Exercise riders jog their horses around the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort track Thursday in preparation for the 2020 live race meet which begins today. (The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen)

Sports on 01/24/2020

Print Headline: High stakes early: Smarty Jones headlines opening day at Oaklawn

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT