2015 Smarty Jones

Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones Stakes

International StarMonday, January 19th we have the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. This race is a part of the 2015 Kentucky Derby Points System where the winner receives 10 points towards a possible Kentucky Derby entry. If you are unfamiliar with the points system, you can read up on it here- 2015 Kentucky Derby Points System. You’ll want to bookmark that page as we will be keeping up with the points leaders, races and replays leading up to this year’s Kentucky Derby to help you with your handicapping efforts. Before we jump into the Smarty Jones, let’s recap Saturday’s LeComte at Fair Grounds. My longshot play, International Star won by 2 ½ lengths over War Story in a nice closing move and paid $20.40 for the win. Let’s see what kind of value we can grab out of this year’s Smarty Jones Stakes!

2015 Smarty Jones at Oaklawn

Mr. ZThe $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes is Race 8 on Monday’s card at Oaklawn and will feature 9 three year olds traveling 1 mile. The morning line favorite is Mr. Z at 2 to 1. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Jon Court, I can’t help but like this colt. Besides my love for this jockey/trainer combo (let’s not forget that it was these two who got Will Take Charge the Smarty Jones win 2 years ago!) Mr. Z is pretty well seasoned for a three year old. Although he hasn’t won since his very first race, he has made 4 places and 1 show in 8 starts. 7 of those starts were graded races including finishing 3rd in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity where he missed the win by a neck. Yet with all of those great efforts, he still hasn’t won a graded event. Personally, I’ll be rooting for him here as I think moving forward he will be one to watch, but… being that I’m on a mission to find some value in this race, let’s look elsewhere. Keep in mind that he will be the one to beat and you just can’t leave him out of your exotics. He may prove me wrong there, but I doubt it. For value, I have to find a stalker or a closer. Private ProspectQuite simply, there’s just too much front end speed in this one (which could be a disadvantage for Mr. Z as well, although he has stalked in the past). I look for an all-out slugfest between horses like Bayerd, Hebbronville, Lucky Player and American Sailor in attempts to gain the early lead and that should open up an opportunity for my value/longshot plays, Far Right and Private Prospect, both at 6 to 1 on the Morning Line. Of the two, I’m leaning more towards Far Right, but I’ll be betting both and hope that one or both get clean trips. Good luck everybody!



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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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