Oaklawn Park has been a key track for Kentucky Derby prep races and the track honors one of their own Monday with the running of the Smarty Jones.
Smarty Jones won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2004 before finishing second in the Belmont Stakes after prepping at Oaklawn.
The one-mile test is the 8th race on the holiday card at Oaklawn and is set for a 2:38 p.m. post time.
Bob Baffert – as always seems to be the case, especially for a prep race at Oaklawn – brings the likely horse to beat from Southern California in Mourinho. Even though a Baffert horse has never won the Smarty Jones, he is nails as the preps progress, winning 12 of them thus far in his career.
Mourinho (3-2) has a win and two seconds in three starts, with a second in his most recent start, the Bob Hope at Del Mar in early November. Through his three starts he appears to like being close to the lead, but does not need to be setting the pace.
He also won his debut, beating Instilled Regard in the process. Instilled Regard looked very strong in winning the Lecomte at the Fair Grounds on Saturday.
Combatant (2-1) is out of the Steve Asmussen barn and is coming off a second in the Springboard at Remington Park. Combatant likes to come from off the pace and will be one to watch in the lane.
Navistar (5-2) is from the Todd Pletcher stable and comes into Monday with a win in a maiden special weight race at Gulfstream in mid-December.
Tap Daddy (8-1) is another out of the Asmussen barn. The horse has been off since mid-November but has put together a solid series of works for his return.
Lone Rock (12-1), Arched Feather (30-1) and Bode’s Maker (30-1) round out the field for the Smarty Jones.