03/29/2006 12:00AM

Delaware lands Jones barn


Trainer Larry Jones got to know Delaware Park last year when he sent out Island Sand to win the track's biggest race, the Grade 2, $1 million Delaware Handicap. This year, he plans to bring his entire stable there. Jones is one of several new trainers who will compete at the upcoming Delaware meet, which opens on April 22 and runs through Nov. 19.

Jones traveled to Delaware last July with Island Sand, who is now retired and is in foal to A.P. Indy. He will have a 32-horse stable at Delaware Park.

"I was up there that week with Island Sand, and just kind of got to look it over and liked what I saw," Jones said. "It looked like it was a spot where every one of our horses would fit. They had enough races for our good horses, and our cheaper horses would fit there as well.

"One stop will do it all there at Delaware. It just makes it a lot easier than being divided all the time."

Jones usually divides his stable between Prairie Meadows in Iowa and Kentucky after Oaklawn Park closes. Before heading to Delaware, he will have an eight-horse stable at Keeneland, which opens next Friday, including Oaklawn stakes winner Wildcat Bettie B. She is being pointed for the Grade 2 Beaumont on April 13.

John Servis, who won the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Smarty Jones, will return to Delaware Park after an absence of several years. He will also have a division at Philadelphia Park. Servis trains the top-class filly Round Pond, who figures to be a leading contender in this year's Delaware Handicap. She races for Rick Porter of Delaware.

Other newcomer trainers expected to run horses this meet are Dale Capuano, Barclay Tagg, and Kathleen O'Connell. Among the regulars returning are Scott Lake, Tim Ritchey, and Michael Pino.


Knowwhatimean, upset winner of the Lightning Jet Handicap for Illinois-breds at Hawthorne last November, scored a comfortable two-length win in his 2006 debut in Saturday's featured $16,112 allowance at Fairmount Park. Knowwhatimean earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 84.

Finishing second in that five-furlong allowance race was Bebasque, who last August won the $50,000 Circle C Classic Handicap at Fairmount. Bebasque will likely compete in longer races this meet since the bulk of his earnings last year came in routes.

Surprisingly, Knowwhatimean did not earn the highest or even the second-highest Beyer Figure on Saturday's card. Harkey Malarky, a stablemate of Knowwhatimean in the barn of trainer Mike Nance, earned an 88 Beyer while winning a starter allowance, while Shakey won a $3,200 conditioned claimer by nearly 11 lengths and earned a 90 Beyer.

* Jockey Roberto Villafan won with 5 of his 9 mounts on Saturday's program. In addition to riding Shakey ($6.80), his other winners were Morning Shift ($4.20), Blackberry Sizzle ($5.20), Fortunate A. J. ($9.80), and General Ike ($6.60). Carmelo Mendoza trains Morning Shift, Fortunate A. J., and General Ike.

* Rafael Hernandez rode the winners of the first three races on Tuesday. It was the second time this meet Hernandez has ridden three winners on a single program.

- Vance Hanson

Fonner Park

Tonight Rainbow's string of consecutive appearances in the Budweiser-Tondi Stakes was extended to four last weekend - and he scored his second win in the race. A 7-year-old gelding trained by Boyd Caster, Tonight Rainbow first won the race in 2003 and won it again on Saturday by five lengths under Larren Delorme.

Tonight Rainbow's win in 2003 propelled him to local sprinter of the year honors that season, a title he won again in 2004.

Saturday's win was Tonight Rainbow's sixth stakes victory at Fonner Park and second this season; he also won the Grasmick Stakes on Feb. 26 in his season debut. Tonight Rainbow now owns a career mark of 9-1-3 from 17 starts at Fonner Park, with earnings of $95,980 there, more than half his career total. Overall, Tonight Rainbow has a record of 12-6-5 from 44 starts for earnings of $182,109.

Caster understandably is thrilled about Tonight Rainbow's return this year following a dull showing in 2005 when the horse was battling health problems that were a result of a blood disorder.

* Apprentice Tanner Riggs had the best day of his career on Sunday, booting home three winners and moved into the top 10 in the rider standings over the weekend. Riggs won aboard first-time starter Brahms Requiem ($17.40) in the third race, then added wins on Blue Eyed Tiger ($6.40) in the fifth and Trusting Scout ($10.40) in the 11th.

* Former Fonner racing secretary Dennis Kochevar will move to the position of association steward at the upcoming Lincoln State Fair meeting. He replaces Rol Shaal, who has been suffering health problems at his home in Gordon, Neb. David Moore, an official at Canterbury Park in the summer, has filled the position here at Fonner.

"We needed somebody with [Kochevar's] qualities and strengths in the stewards' stand," said Greg Hosch, Lincoln's director of racing. "Dennis has the knowledge and skills to replace someone of Rol's standing."

Wayne Anderson, the assistant racing secretary at Fonner Park and the racing secretary at Columbus, was named racing secretary at Lincoln's State Fair Park last weekend. The Lincoln State Fair season starts May 12 and runs through mid-July.

- Bill Hodtwalker

Lone Star Park

Fasig-Tipton Texas's annual 2-year-olds in training sale will be held Tuesday in the sales pavilion in the stable area at Lone Star Park. The under-tack show will be held on Sunday. Both the workout program and sale will begin at 10 a.m. Central.

There are 315 horses consigned to the sale. Among the sires represented are Valid Expectations, Deputy Commander, Free House, Grand Slam, Honour and Glory, Silver Charm, and Yankee Victor.

Consignors include Asmussen Horse Center, Pre-K Training Center, Red Earth Training Center, and Safari Bloodstock.

Many of the horses in the sale are training at Lone Star.

- Mary Rampellini

Sam Houston

Lawyer Ron is not the only 3-year-old by Langfuhr on a win streak. Sweet Idea has come to hand over the Sam Houston Race Park meet, and won her last three starts by a combined 34 lengths. She will get the biggest test of her career next month, when she starts in the $100,000 Instant Racing Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn Park on April 15.

Sweet Idea won at a mile in her last start, capturing the $40,000 Sam Houston Oaks on March 11. In that race, she showed a new dimension, rallying for a 4 1/2-length win over a field that included stakes winners.

"She had been running on the front end, setting pretty strong fractions and drawing off," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Sweet Idea for Barnett Stables. "This time, she ended up back off the pace, in traffic, on the rail, and came through and drew off. I was very happy to see that she can change styles up when she needs to. Her last three races have been phenomenal."

Sweet Idea won her maiden by 16 lengths in November, and followed that race with a 13 1/2-length win in an allowance in December.

* Corey Lanerie, a past riding champ at Sam Houston, will be aboard Onthedeanslist for the track's Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Breeders' Cup on April 8, said Ralph Nicks, who trains the horse for Team Valor. In his last start, Onthedeanslist was second by a neck under Lanerie in the Grade 3, $200,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap in January. Before that race, Onthedeanslist won the $75,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs in December.

- Mary Rampellini

Turf Paradise

Mr Playwright was beaten just a head and neck in last Saturday's $40,000 Tempe Handicap, but rider O.A. Martinez Jr. felt lucky to get that close.

"Mr Playwright ran his race in the warm-ups," said Martinez. "He was washed out and misbehaving in the gate, something he's never done before."

The lone filly in the field, Nezi O, set an honest pace for the boys, zipping six furlongs in 1:10 before ducking in at the eighth pole and losing momentum. Ragin Nonno inherited the lead and was able to maintain a head advantage over Sans Serif, with Mr Playwright another neck back in third in the field of 11 3-year-olds.

Claimed for $8,000 by trainer Manuel Uriza on Dec. 19, Mr Playwright won his subsequent start, an allowance race, before stepping up into the Tempe.

"In hindsight I probably should have jogged him on race day," said Uriza. "He was a little on edge."

Uriza, 30, will next travel to his hometown, Mexico City, for the $100,000 Handicap de Las Americas May 27. Uriza will send out 7-year-old Resident Rogue, a son of 1982 Travers winner Runaway Groom, in the 1 1/4-mile race.

"This is one of Mexico's most important races," he said. "It would be nice to win it since I'm from there."

- Michael Hammersly