Hot Springs, AR (SportsNetwork.com) – Monday, while the nation observes
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Oaklawn Park begins its series of stakes for 3-
year-olds with the one-mile, $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes.
The Smarty Jones, named for the locally raced colt that won the 2004 Kentucky
Derby and Preakness, is followed by the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 16 and the
Rebel on March 14 with the Arkansas Derby on April 11.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle a pair of 3-year-olds among the nine
entered Monday. Leaving from post 7 will be Bayerd, winner of the Springboard
Mile last year at Remington Park. The colt, owned by Clark Brewster, will be
ridden by Ramon Vazquez.
“Bayerd is a nice horse who has run five very good races,” Asmussen said. “He
won his last race at a mile so the Smarty Jones is a good spot to start his 3-
“I’m anxious to see how he does at Oaklawn, which can be a horse specific
Joining Bayerd will be Lucky Player, owned by Jerry Durant. The colt will be
ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. from post 6. Lucky Player won the Iroquois
Stakes at Churchill Downs after being second in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile.
“He’s a nice horse too,” Asmussen said of Lucky Player. “We’ll see if he can
handle two turns at this time of year. Neither one is quirky. They are both
straightforward colts and easy to be around. They are young, good-feeling
boys. We have hopes and dreams for them.”
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will start battled tested Mr. Z. The
chestnut colt, owned by Zayat Stables, will break from post 3 with Jon Court
Mr. Z won his debut effort last June at Churchill and then saw nothing but
stakes competition. He was second in Saratoga’s Sanford and Saratoga Special,
fifth in the Iroquois, second in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity, fifth in the
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, second in the Delta Downs Jackpot and third in the Los
Mr. Z has earned $499,726 in eight starts.
Here is the field for the Smarty Jones from the rail out: Far Right, Mike
Smith; Paid Admission, David Mello; Mr. Z, Jon Court; American Sailor, Joe
Rocco Jr.; Hebbronville, Shaun Bridgmohan; Lucky Player, Ricardo Santana Jr.;
Bayerd, Ramon Vazquez; Private Prospect, Alex Birzer and Runaway Bling, Glenn
The Smarty Jones has an approximate post time Monday of 5:38 p.m. ET.
Last year’s Smarty Jones Stakes was won by Tanzanite Cat one year after Will
Take Charge won on his way to being voted 2013 champion 3-year-old male.