11/16/2012 12:55PM

Churchill Downs: Jones well familiar with main rival in sprint feature


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Larry Jones has confidence that Hamiltonian will represent his stable proudly when the feature race is run Sunday at Churchill Downs. Problem is, one of his former trainees could play a spoiler’s role.

“To be honest, I wasn’t real happy to see that Prince Silver was in against us,” Jones said with a smile.

Between them, the present and former Jones runners form a nice place to start when handicapping the ninth of 10 Sunday races, the lone allowance on the card. Hamiltonian, with Ramon Vazquez to ride, will start from post 6 in a field of 10, while Prince Silver will have Malcolm Franklin aboard when breaking from post 2. The second-level allowance carries a purse of $54,000 and will be run at seven furlongs.

Prince Silver was purchased privately this summer after going through his first allowance condition while still trained by Jones. Merrill Scherer bought the 5-year-old Prince Silver on behalf of Otter Rock Farm LLC.

“He can run a bunch when he’s on his game,” said Jones, who soon will take his stable to the four-month Fair Grounds meet in New Orleans.

As for Hamiltonian, an impressive first-out winner in June, the six-furlong distance should be to his liking, said Jones.

“When he won going seven-eighths first out, we thought it wouldn’t be a problem for him to stretch out to a mile,” he said. “But apparently it was. We’re turning him back to three-quarters thinking that sprinting is what he’s going to do best. He ran a big race last out and should fit this spot.”

Hamiltonian, a 3-year-old gelding by Bellamy Road, is owned in part by Bret Jones, the son of former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones and no relation to the trainer.

Prince Silver and Hamiltonian both are listed as 4-1 chances on the Churchill morning line. Among the other considerations in a well-matched field are In the Beat, going turf-to-dirt for Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger; De Price, a Dale Romans-trained 5-year-old with two career wins over the Churchill surface; Maan, a 3-year-old making his first start since Kentucky Derby Day; and Brown Eyed Jozi, trying to get back on form for the Borel brothers, Cecil and Calvin.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for two days before the final five-day stretch starts Wednesday.

First post every day is 12:40 p.m. Eastern, except for Thursday (11:30 a.m.).