A cast of seven sophomore prospects will travel one mile on the Oaklawn Park dirt in Friday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones S. The 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby event will reward the top-four finishers with qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 structure towards the Run for the Roses on May 1.

Smarty Jones S. Picks

  • #7 Caddo River
  • #4 Big Thorn
  • #3 Cowan
  • #1 Martini Blu

Smarty Jones Wagers

  • $20 Win 7
  • $5 Exacta 7 with 3,4
  • $2 Trifecta Key 7 with 1,3,4

Smarty Jones Contenders

#1 MARTINI BLU was a dominant winner at first asking in a route race at Hawthorne for Robertson. The wild card in the field came home with excellent energy in his maiden romp, and the son of Maclean’s Music gets a fine post draw for his initial try with winners, as well. Francisco Arrieta picks up the mount.

#2 LAWLESSNESS adds blinkers for his stakes and route debut for Mason. The son of Congrats has displayed a solid turn of foot going short, and the dark bay could challenge for a placing if the equipment change moves him forward on Friday.

#3 COWAN was a clear runner-up in the Springboard Mile last time out for Asmussen. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) second has placed in four black-type events in succession, and the consistent late runner is an obvious win contender in the Smarty Jones. Santana will be in the stirrups.

#4 BIG THORN is a sneaky contender being the less-heralded contender from the Asmussen barn. The Florida import didn’t fire last time out, but he was dominant in his previous two assignments and seems poised for a positive showing in his local bow. Son of The Big Beast will track the pace under Cabrera.

#5 HARDLY SWAYED is a Bernardini colt who has improved his Brisnet Speed figure in each lifetime showing to date for Hernandez. The Kentucky-bred has won a pair of races in succession in advance of his stakes debut, but he will need a big move forward to upset this cast. Martin Garcia inherits the mount.

#6 MOONLITE STRIKE has been favored in each career race for Joseph. The talented son of Liam’s Map rolls in with two straight tallies in the Sunshine State, and the speedy bay will be a factor from the opening bell in his stakes debut as well. Joe Talamo will guide the interesting bay colt.

#7 CADDO RIVER comes in with a big reputation following his superb maiden special weight romp at Churchill Downs last time out. The Hard Spun homebred has moved forward in each career outing to date, and he comes into his stakes bow off of a bullet morning drill on the Oaklawn strip most recently. Regular pilot Geroux will be in the silks atop the one to beat.

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