Thursday, July 03, 2008
2005 Delaware Handicap led to big things for trainer J. Larry Jones
In 2005, trainer J. Larry Jones ran one horse at Delaware Park. The horse was Island Sand, who won the $1 million Grade II Delaware Handicap. Jones, a 51-year-old native Hopkinsville, Kentucky, liked what he saw of Delaware Park so much he decided to bring all of his horses to Delaware Park the following year. Moving his operation to Delaware Park eventually led to the opportunity to train Hard Spun, who ran second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and second in the Breeders' Cup Classic, and Eight Belles, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby this year.
"The Delaware Handicap was my first million dollar win, of course, it has also been my last million dollar win," said a chuckling J. Larry Jones. "It may be the only race worth a million dollars I get to win, so we better start running in the race every year. Seriously, the Delaware Handicap is what brought me to Delaware. We liked what we saw and decided to comeback. No telling who it may bring this year, so who knows may be we will get another trainer in here and then move some horses the following year. In 2005, I brought Island Sand to Delaware Park trying to avoid some horse out of New York where we had been running her. Little did I know that was going to turn my whole career and future around was coming in for that race and then deciding to make this home. So, it has been good to me."
"She came out of her race at Pimlico well," Jones said. "We have had designs on the Delaware Handicap for some time. She is the type of filly that likes a little time in between races, so this race comes up real good for her on the schedule. She is doing a very well. She is a horse on the improve. She has improved with every start since the middle of her 3-year-old season. With every race, she just gradually has gotten better. We know the Delaware Handicap is going to be tough especially with Pletcher's horse (Unbridled Belle) coming in and she has already had a trip over the track. But we are coming with a horse we like so we are going to give her the best we can."
Maren's Meadow on target for Delaware Oaks
Trainer J. Larry Jones confirmed he is pointing River Ridge Ranch Farm's Maren's Meadow to the mile and a sixteenth $500,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks to be run on Saturday, July 12.
In her last race, the daughter of Meadowlake had a rough trip and eventually finished seventh in the mile and an eighth $150,000 Grade II Black Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 16. Previously, the Ontario-bred won the one mile $150,000 Grade III Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park on March 22. She has a career record of three wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts with earnings of $177,225. Her Delaware Park record is a win, a second, and a third from three starts.
"Proud Spell looks like she will be a very long shot to make the Delaware Oaks," trainer J. Larry Jones said of his Kentucky Derby Oaks winner. "She came out of the Mother Goose with some lacerations, but we do have Maren's Meadow as her back up. She is doing very well right now. That is one reason we canceled the trip to Iowa was to get her ready for this engagement."
Her seventh place finish in the Black Eyed Susan Stakes was due to losing her shoe.
"She lost her shoe," Jones said. "She stumbled leaving the gate, she grabbed herself real bad and she pulled her shoe off. So she ran as far as she could slide. You should find a much better performance in the Delaware Oaks."
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