12/08/2010 1:07PM

Blue Jay Attack needs sufficient pace to set up closing kick


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Already this year, trainer Marty Jones has won seven sprint stakes on turf with four horses, including the four-time stakes winner Unzip Me, who was third against males in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs last month.

Jones has an improving turf sprinter to follow in Blue Jay Attack, who starts in a first-level allowance race over six furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park on Friday.

Owned by Ron and Marilyn Allen, Blue Jay Attack, 3, has won 2 of 6 starts, and arguably should have won his last race over five furlongs on turf here on Nov. 13 when he broke slowly and rallied to finish second.

Jones does not consider Blue Jay Attack to be exclusively a turf sprinter, even though those races have worked well this season.

“He could be a good horse doing a lot of things,” he said. “I think he’s got a bright future. As long as it’s working, we’ll stick with that. I wouldn’t label him quite like that right now.”

Blue Jay Attack won his second career start on the main track here in July. At Del Mar, Jones gave Blue Jay Attack a turf workout, liked what he saw, and decided to switch surfaces. Since then, Blue Jay Attack has made four starts, winning once, finishing second twice, and running a troubled seventh in another start.

The key to victory on Friday is a favorable pace scenario, Jones said. Blue Jay Attack is a closer, and needs something to follow.

“He’s the horse that needs a little pace in front of him,” Jones said. “If they go slow, it’s kind of hard on the horse. He can sit back there and come get them.”

Friday’s race has a field of eight, but lacks a confirmed front-runner. Dahoud, a New Zealand import, has raced near the front, but is making his first start in this country. Unico Lider led in sprints in Argentina last year, but broke slowly in his U.S. debut over a mile on turf on Nov. 19 and finished seventh.

Format V and Smokey Lonesome are a threat to Blue Jay Attack. Format V won a $50,000 claimer on Oct. 27, ending a seven-race losing streak. Smokey Lonesome was a troubled fifth behind Blue Jay Attack on Nov. 13, his first start in 19 months.