Eight Sophomore’s Do Battle on Labor Day in Jones Stakes

Jones Stakes, Purse $300.000, Grade 3, 1 Mile and 70 yards, Dirt for 3 Year Olds

On Labor Day it signifies the closing day for some of the biggest tracks in the United States so that means there a ton of stakes races on this holiday. Today at Parx is no different and the Jones Stakes is one of the best stakes races you will find. This is a nice Grade 3 race for 3 year olds that drew a nice field of 8 runners. If you look at the field you will see some horses that you may recognize from earlier this year on the Kentucky Derby trail. Let’s take a look at the field:

1- Byelobog (Sarah Stables)- This lightly raced gelding comes into the race winning 3 out of 8 lifetime starts with one of those wins going long. That route win came last out in an overnight stake going a flat mile at BOI. Since that race he has come back and posted a solid 6 furlong work at this track on August 29th. This is a huge step up from an overnight stakes win at BOI and this field appears to be very tough and salty for a Grade 3. We will find out if the step up is to big of one later today.

2-Seeking The Wild (Eastern Equine)- This gelding has won 2 out of 8 lifetime starts with 1 of those wins going a route of ground. The routing win came 2 races back going a mile and 1/16th in a nice Grade 3 race. After that win he was sold 2 times in quick succession and landed with his current owner Eastern Equine. He was promptly stepped up to the high Grade 1 level in the Haskel where he didn’t make much of an impact against better horses finishing 8 of 9 horses. He has been working fantastic since that race and it leads me to believe that he is sitting on a big run right here and he is one you have to watch out for.


3-Congo Rhythm Way (Oval Express Farms)- He has 1 win in 7 career starts and that win came last out in a maiden race. The win came going a flat mile and it was his first time going long on the dirt and he responded with a nice run. He appears to have come out of that win fair and has posted some solid but unspectacular work times in the morning compared to some of his competition. This is a massive step up for him and he will have to make a nice jump off his maiden win to beat this field.


4-Lukas Duke (Jkk Racing Stables)- He comes into the race with 4 wins in 14 career starts with 2 of those wins going a route of ground. His last 5 races have been against most of the elite 3 year olds in the game so not having a win in those races is nothing to be ashamed off as he has run respectable in most of those races. He did manage to hit the board in the Kentucky Derby with a nice 3rd place finish. His last start in a Grade 2 was off an almost 2 month layoff and he showed speed early and held on to finish 4th in a race won by the top 3 year old in training right now in A One. He has posted solid works leading up to this race and I would expect him to be right there in the end like he always is.


5-Prince Of Monaco (Nakamura Stables) He has won 2 out of 14 career starts which is nothing to sneeze at since 12 of those starts have come in stakes races.   His last win was his first start of his 3 year old campaign but did run a nice 3rd in the Preakness stakes which had to be his best race of the year. He last ran in the Prince of Wales stakes where he held the lead at the mile mark but faded to finish 3rd. After that race he got the ultimate equipment change and we will see if that helps him get back to his winning ways. In his one public work since the last race he fired off a nice 6 furlong dirt work. Could the gelding help him get over the hump?


6-Pinnacle West (Hippyheart )- He has won 4 out of 13 career starts with his most recent wins being a nice 2 race graded stakes win streak to start his 3 year old year. After those wins he continued to step up along the way and ultimately ran in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness but did not make an impact in either race. He was given a long time off from mid May until early August where he surfaced in an allowance race and showed speed early and faded to finish 3rd by a half length in an nice comeback race. He posted a nice turf work out of that race but will be racing on dirt here, but I still feel he has a very good shot off the layoff.


7-Di Nero (Barcelona Stables)- He comes into the race winning 3 out of 12 lifetime starts including his last start which was in an claiming race where Barcelona saw something he liked and dipped in and plucked him out. He has never ran in a stakes race and what a tough field to be facing for his first attempt against stakes company. Off the claim he has posted some solid work times and he was also given the ultimate equipment change, but it does not appear to have sped up his work times. This is another horse taking a huge step up and has picked a tough field to try and so against.


8- Mazula Ruler (D J C Racing Stable)- He has won 4 out of 10 lifetime starts including 2 wins in overnight stakes races. He has yet to break through in a big way against graded stakes company but his most recent 1 mile dirt work may show that he is ready to turn the corner running a blazing 1:36 and 2. He also has not embarrassed himself in his 2 graded stakes tries finishing 4th and 5th respectively. It’s just a matter of getting this horse to settle down and to try and get good trip from the outside post, but he could be sitting on a big race.


For being a Grade 3 race there are a lot of quality horses in this race, who will do battle with a few making a large step up. Will it be a tried and true stakes horse that comes away with the win or an up and coming one? Here is my prediction. 2-6-4-8


Categories: Grade III

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