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Jan 16, 2015

Solid nine entered for Smarty Jones Stakes


Hot Springs, AR ( - 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.

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.

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 riding.

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 Alamitos Futurity.

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 Corbett.

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.

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