How to bet the Smarty Jones Stakes

January 22nd, 2020

It seems trainer Steve Asmussen is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Friday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones S. on opening day at Oaklawn Park.

The Hall of Fame conditioner secured his 1,000th stakes victory Saturday and will seek another in the Smarty Jones, a one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race. Asmussen will saddle four of the nine starters, including expected favorites #2 Silver Prospector and #7 Shoplifted.

Both of these colts have made solid progress on the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail. Silver Prospector has seemed like a different horse since he transitioned from turf to dirt last fall, and most notably rallied to victory in the Nov. 30 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Shoplifted competed with mixed results against Grade 1 company as a juvenile before he dropped in class for the Dec. 15 Remington Springboard Mile S., which he rallied to win by a head.

In terms of Brisnet Speed ratings, Silver Prospector has a narrow edge, and the form of his Kentucky Jockey Club triumph was flattered when fourth-place finisher Enforceable returned to win the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds. It's worth noting Ricardo Santana Jr., the regular rider for both Silver Prospector and Shoplifted, will stick with Silver Prospector for the Smarty Jones, which reiterates that the Kentucky Jockey Club winner is the horse to beat.

Another Asmussen trainee, #6 Gold Street, warrants consideration for exotic wagers, after he cruised to an easy victory in the 6-furlong Sugar Bowl S. at Fair Grounds last month. #8 Lynn’s Map can also challenge after a victory over eventual Lecomte third-place finisher Mr. Monomoy in a Dec. 21 allowance race at Fair Grounds. But if you really want to spruce up the exotics, why not take a shot with the maiden #3 Shared Sense?

Trained by Brad Cox, this Godolphin homebred is winless in three starts, but he has shown potential in defeat. Two starts back he missed by just a half-length against Lynn’s Map in a one-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs, where he finished fast to post a 100 Brisnet Late Pace rating. He wasn’t quite as sharp over a sloppy track Nov. 30, but still fought on to finish second behind the exciting Blackberry Wine.

Shared Sense has trained forwardly for the Smarty Jones and will pick up the services of hot jockey Florent Geroux. Let’s key him for second and third place behind Silver Prospector in a trifecta.

$5 trifecta: 2 with 3 with 6,7,8 ($15) $5 trifecta: 2 with 6,7,8 with 3 ($15)

Good luck!