Oaklawn's opening weekend is coming and on the race card are three $150,000 stakes races including the Smarty Jones, Pippin and Fifth Season.
The nominations to these races have some exciting horses, some of which are on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Smarty Jones is a Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race awarding points to the top four finishers.
The $150,000 Smarty Jones will be run on Friday, January 22nd and is a mile for 3-year-olds. Just a few of the horses nominated including COWAN, ESSENTIAL QUALITY, FIRE AT WILL, SAFFA'S DAY, and many more promising 3-year olds. Norm Casse, Mark Casse, Steve Asmussen, Todd Pletcher, Dallas Stewart, Jerry Hollendorfer, Bret Calhoun, Brad Cox, D. Wayne Lukas and other top trainers all have entries.
The $150,000 Pippin will run Saturday, the 23rd at a mile for 4 year old fillies and up. Current nominations include CASUAL, CHANCE TO SHINE, FINITE, GIBBERISH, MIZZEN BEAU, REGAL BEAUTY, SALLY'S CURLIN, and WICKED WHISPER, just to name a few. Again, all of the top trainers have multiple entries for this race as well.
The $150,000 The Fifth Season is for four year olds and up at a mile. Current nominees include BANKIT, HARPERS FIRST RIDE, HUNKA BURNING LOVE, KNICKS GO, LONG RANGE TODDY, NIGHT OPS, OWENDALE, SNAPPER SINCLAIR and WELLS BAYOU.
COWAN and SAFFA'S DAY both worked five furlongs on the dirt in preparation going 59 second flat. It will be interesting to see how these fields shape up closer to race time. Historically, the Oaklawn track tends to favor front runners with four of the Smarty Jones being won in gate to wire fashion between 2017 and 2020.
Horse Racing Radar will be onsite at Oaklawn for the Smarty Jones! Reservations for spectators open January 18th.