Smarty Jones Stakes Payoff for Discreetness
DISCREETNESS rewarded his betting backers as a 9-1 shot to win the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park January 16. The colt by Discreet Cat rallied off the pace to win by a neck and pay $20.20.
Trained by Jinks Fires and ridden by son-in-law Jon Court, Discreetness picked up 10 Road the Kentucky Derby points to move into a tie for eighth in the early standings.
Fires and Court said they expected a brisker pace, with so many horses stretching from sprints to the two-turn route distance for the first time.
“I expected to have half the field in front of me,” Court said. “However that wasn’t the case. I knew I had to keep him in a good spot, because with that short stretch in a flat mile there’s not much ground to lose. I was very fortunate to be in the position I was, and it paid off.”
Discreetness tuned up for the Smarty Jones with a 5-furlong bullet workout Jan. 7 (:59.80). His continued improvement paid off for the trainer and racing team of Xpress Thoroughbreds, who paid $105,000 for Discreetness at last year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March 2-year-olds in training sale. The colt now has earned well in excess of $282,122.
Gordy Florida, a 22-1 shot, was a game second as he dueled with Discreetness down the stretch. Synchrony, the 5-2 second betting choice, went by five horses in the final half mile to finish third. Betting favorite and three times stakes winner Toews on Ice faded to finish sixth behind Luna de Loco in fourth and Gray Sky.
It was 31 degrees at post time for the Smarty Jones, but trainer Von Hemel said cold weather bothers people more than horses.
“They’re not uncomfortable at all,” he said. “They weigh a 1,000 pounds or 1,100 pounds, what’s a little cold weather to them? They don’t get cold like we do. It’s hard to cool down that much mass.”
Oaklawn’s 3-year-old stakes program has produced eight horses which have accounted for 12 Triple Crown race victories. In addition to Smarty Jones and American Pharoah, this list also includes dual Classic winner Afleet Alex, two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and champion 3-year-olds Summer Bird.
Discreetness can earn additional points in qualifying for the Kentucky Derby by running well at the $500,000 Grade III Southwest Stakes on February 15 at Oaklawn Park. He’ll also run in the $1M Arkansas Derby (G1) April 14 at Oaklawn Park.