The extended holiday weekend takes horse bettors to Oaklawn Park for a special Monday afternoon race card highlighted by the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. This race is part of the 2017 Kentucky Derby prep race schedule for three-year-old thoroughbreds looking to earn 10 points towards qualifying for this year’s “Run for the Roses” at Churchill Downs later this year.
Monday’s main event at Oaklawn Park is still coming together as we get closer to post time, but there are a few pretty strong entries listed as probable at Horse Racing Nation. Digging a bit deeper into this projected field, I have uncovered three horses that come together perfectly to form my trifecta pick for this race.
2017 Smarty Jones Stakes: Oaklawn Park
The Smarty Jones is an ungraded stakes race for three-year-old thoroughbreds and the total prize purse for this year’s event has been set at $150,000. The race will be contested on the dirt track at Oaklawn over a distance of one mile.
The class of Monday’s field should be trainer Wayne Catalano’s Uncontested, who comes into this race with a Horse Racing Nation rating of 7.06. This three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt closed out his juvenile campaign with a respectable fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs over an extended distance of 1 1/16 miles. His only other race last season was a victory at Keeneland in a Maiden Special Weight race as a distance of 6 ½ furlongs.
Uncontested comes from solid racing stock with Tiz Wonderful and Galileo’s Star as his pedigree and his early results has placed him in the HRN’s rankings at No. 320.
My second choice in Monday’s Smarty Jones is Warrior’s Club. This three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt has famed trainer D Wayne Lucas in his corner, which is already a plus for this race. He is also one of two entries in the projected field with a HRN rating (5.84). Going back to his results as a juvenile, he finished the season on a strong note by placing in the money in his last three events. After winning the ungraded Spendthrift Stallion Stakes at Churchill on Oct. 30 at a distance of seven furlongs he added an impressive third-place run in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes to his early racing resume.
This colt has already raced five times as a two-year-old and you could see the progress in his stride and stamina as the year wore on. A pedigree of Warrior’s Reward, this will be a good test to see if he can work himself into the mix as a top three-year-old.
The talent level in the projected field for this race drops off a bit from here, but I do like trainer Danele Durham’s Cu Rahy as my third choice to round out a trifecta pick. This three-year-old Maryland-bred colt is still a work in progress after closing out his juvenile campaign with a distant ninth-place finish in the ungraded Remington Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 11. This followed an encouraging third-place run in the ungraded Kip Deville Stakes at that same track over a distance of six furlongs back in late September.
One of the main reasons this colt has caught my eye is his pedigree to Curlin with a progeny that goes back to Mr. Prospector.