Smarty Jones Stakes 2019

Smarty Jones Stakes 2019

With opening day set for Friday, Jan.25 at Oaklawn, the succession of three year-old prep races for the Kentucky Derby starts on Day 1 with the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes where the 1st-4th place finishers will earn qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. The field of 9 will head to post at 4:52 ET in what figures to be a very competitive race.

How does a horse qualify for the Kentucky derby?

Established in 2012, the Kentucky Derby points qualifying system, known simply as "The Road to the Kentucky Derby," established a newtwork of key prep races at major U.S. tracks and a few select international venues. The winner 1st-4th place finishers of these designated races earn points, with the top 20 earners officially qualifying for a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May. 

Minor point races are scaled at 10-4-2-1, with more prestigious prep races weighted as heavy as 100-40-20-10. The 2019 Kentucky Derby post time is tentatively sheduled for Saturday, May 4 at approximately 6:45 ET. 

2018 Kentucky Derby winner Justify used the big race as a springboard towards becoming just the 13th Triple Crown winner in thoroughbred racing history. The big chestnut emerged from relative obscurity following his key prep win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby in April to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in succession.

Here's a look at the 2018 Kentucky Derby results:

  1. Justify $7.80  $6.00  $4.40
  2. Good Magic    $9.20  $6.60
  3. Audible                    $5.80 

Smarty Jones Stakes Odds

This year's Smarty Jones features a field of 9, with trainer Steve Asmussen holding an obviously live hand. Asmussen will saddle the 1-2 finishers from the $400,000 Springboard Mile Dec.16 where Long Range Toddy (4/1) edged stablemate Bankit (7/2) by a head in a driving finish to the wire. Interestingly, Long Range Toddy was 18/1 in that race and Bankit was a shade over 3/1. 

Morning line favorite Gray Attempt (5/2) won the Sugar Bowl Stakes Dec.22 at Fair Grounds in fast time, but will be racing beyond six and a half furlongs for the first time in his three-race career. The speedy son of Graydar out of a Consolidator mare is only moderately bred to handle additional distance and trainer William Fires is just 6% with the sprint-to-route angle. The short stretch configuration at Oaklawn for 1-mile races could work to his favor however. 

Here's a look at the field:

  • 1-Long Range Toddy 4/1
  • 2-Sleepy Eyes Todd 20/1
  • 3-Super Steed 9/2
  • 4-Six Shooter 6/1
  • 5-Boldor 8/1
  • 6-Forloveofcountry 12/1
  • 7-Bankit 7/2
  • 8-Gray Attempt 5/2
  • 9-Jack Van Berg 20/1

Bankit Odds
7/2

Picks and Previews

This race looks to be loaded with front-end speed. Jack Van Bergy and Gray Attempt should duke it out early, and they'll likely have company close in tow from the plethora of stretch-out sprinters. I wouldn't be surprised to see Long Range Toddy and Bankit form the exacta again, but I'll give a slight nod to Bankit in this sport.  

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