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Lagynos Proven at 1 1/16-Mile Distance of Smarty Jones

The first stakes race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby for newly-turned 3-year-olds occurs Jan. 1 when Oaklawn Park stages the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes.

The Smarty Jones begins Oaklawn’s major Kentucky Derby (G1) preps for 3-year-olds, to be followed by the Jan. 27 Southwest Stakes (G3), the Feb. 24 Rebel Stakes (G2), and the March 30 Arkansas Derby (G1). Monday’s race offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 10-5-3-2-1 basis to its top five finishers. This year’s renewal has been extended from a mile to 1 1/16 miles and is carded as the ninth of 10 races at 4:14 p.m. CT.

Already proven at the distance is Lagynos , who captured an off-the-turf first-level allowance race Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs in his most recent start to push his record to 2-for-3. His time for completing 1 1/16 miles in a 1:45.67 earned him a modest 88 Equibase Speed Figure.

He also won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race on debut at Kentucky Downs in September before a third-place finish in a Nov. 9 Churchill Downs allowance in his first attempt in a dirt route.

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Joel Rosario rides for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the winningest trainer in North American history. Asmussen won the 2020 Smarty Jones with Gold Street .

Others in the Lineup

He is one of two Smarty Jones runners for Asmussen, the other being Kirk and Judy Robison’s Informed Patriot .

The latter, a son of Hard Spun   and a full brother to 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Spun to Run  , ran third in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race in the fall at Churchill Downs after also showing there over a sloppy track in the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense Stakes (G3). He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs when racing seven furlongs Sept. 22 after a fourth on debut in the summer at Saratoga Race Course.

Ricardo Santana Jr. rides the inside-drawn colt.

The race’s lone stakes winner is BC Stables’ Just Steel , who captured the 6 1/2-furlong Ed Brown Stakes at Churchill Downs Nov. 25 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. He earned a 94 Equibase Speed Figure for finishing the distance in 1:16.91.

Five of the Justify   colt’s six starts have come in sprints. His one route resulted in a distant sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in early October at Keeneland.

Ramon Vazquez picks up the mount after Rosario rode him in the Ed Brown.

Dual Smarty Jones winner Brad Cox trains three entrants: Catching Freedom , Gettysburg Address , and Fidget . Gettysburg Address, under Flavien Prat on Monday, races with blinkers off after setting a face pace and weakening to fourth in the Street Sense.

Entries: Smarty Jones S.

Oaklawn Park, Monday, January 01, 2024, Race 9

  • STK
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:14 PM (local)

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