Mb Stables Has a Strong Trio for Jones Stakes

Jones Stakes (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
PRX- For Three Year Olds
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
August 22, 2023

Taking a moment to look ahead, we will have entertaining racing at PRX on Tuesday as the thirteenth running on the Jones Stakes takes place. This isn’t a small run of the mill midweek stake, either, as it will feature multiple runners that ran in the Haskell, and others who ran in at least one prep race for the KYD. Its conditions are favorable for that, being a little over a mile on the main track for three-year-olds, and trainers have not disappointed us with who they have brought along. The race debuted as an ungraded stake in 2011 but would be upgraded to its present Grade 3 state a year leader. The inaugural purse was $300.000, which is where it has been in most years, though there were two runnings at $350.000. Last year, the race was won by Crypto, for Maxmillion Farm. It was the middle race of a three-race win streak that came right after he was gelded. He would ultimately run in the BC Sprint, and continues to be competitive at high levels now, so is a good lead for any of our horses this year to try and follow. There will be eight of taking part, and here’s a look at them:

#1- Trigger The Woke (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Starting on the rail, this colt by Authorized has managed just one win over seven starts, but was second three times prior to breaking his maiden. After the win, he struggled in a pair of allowances. He works well, though, and he might like going this distance as it was where he was best earlier in his career. You can see the potential here, but when the breakout happens?

#2- Centennal Hall (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J C Ferrer)- Won a couple of races during the wintertime, including the $100.000 Rego Park at AQU, and that sent him into preps for the KYD. He showed promise in them when he ran third in the Gotham but ran out of time to compete further. Instead, the trainer targeted the Peter Pan (Grade 3) at BEL, and he would nearly win that before settling for second in a photo. Most recently, he was second in the NY Derby, but struggled mightily in the Grade 1 Stephen before that. Won’t be seen as a top contender but could get a piece of this.

#3- Battle Plan (Mb Stables, ridden by P Lopez)- You have to like the trainer’s chances here as not only does he have three of the eight horses in the field, but he’s bringing some very good ones. Battle Plan is a horse that impressed me quite a bit when I saw him earlier, likely in one of those three straight wins he had to start his career. After breaking his maiden on debut, he then won the Wood Memorial, and then the Grade 2 Day Mile. Next up for him would be the BEL, which was another great race for him, finishing within a half-length of a win, running third. The Haskell was a disappointment, but we can forgive that.

#4- Wisdom (Mb Stables, ridden by F Prat)- Ran with his stablemate, Battle Plan, in the Haskell, but if it was a disappointment for one, it was a disaster for the other. Wisdom finished in the 11th spot, six lengths behind the race winning Hiei. He had looked good going into that, too, with four wins over his five-race career, including the Grade 3 Sexton Mile right before it. But the Haskell was the toughest company that he ever took on, and he may have been humbled a little. Now, with the wisdom from that race learned, Wisdom will try for a bounce back against a lesser, but still very good, field.

#5- Royal Valor (Nakamura Stables, ridden by A Beschizza)- A veteran of 14 races, the only horse here with more than 10 starts. He ran in a couple of top graded stakes as a two-year-old, but struggled in each of them. He would eventually be gelded and scored a couple of optional claiming wins to start the year, sending him into TC preps. They didn’t get him into the KYD, but he was still to take part in the BEL, where he started on the outside and came from off the pace to be fifth. This is a good spot for him, especially on the heels of a 100 SRF in the IND Derby where he was third in the mud.

#6- Blazin At The Wheel (Gdp Inc, ridden by L Saez)- In eight starts, Blazin At The Wheel has three wins, all of which are in overnights. He has only made on stake start, which occurred up north at the Woodstock Stables in late April and ran fourth, and after winning an allowance at ELP last month, the trainer is giving him a chance to take on some very tough company. Had a strong work at MTH before heading out here but will still need to be at his absolute best.

#7- The Legend Of Farley (Arindel, ridden by D E Centeno)- This one ran well over the winter, sending him into the Battaglia Memorial Stakes, where he was fourth, so the trainer hoped that he could build on that. Instead, the opposite has happened, with a dud in the AR Derby, and then three poor finishes that followed, including two being simply in optional claimers. Finally, Arindel had enough, and gelded The Legend Of Farley. This will be his first race as a gelding, and that will need to be something that helps a lot for him to be a factor here. Fortunately, there is plenty of precedent out there for exactly that.

#8- Los Pollos Hermanos (Mb Stables, ridden by U Rispoli)- After winning an allowance, his prior trainer decided to sell him off, and it was off to Mb Stables for $250.000, certainly a very fair price for where he was in his career. Mb didn’t hurry him out there, taking his time to get the horse to his liking, and once he was happy, he ran Los Pollos Hermanos in the Grade 3 Marine on July 1st, and he got the win. It was off to SAR for the Dandy after that, where he finished in the middle of the field. Now, he gets to take on his stablemates that had run in the Haskell.

Prediction: 3-5-4-8

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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