04/02/2016 4:37PM

He'll Pay provides Larry Jones with 1,000th win in Rushaway Stakes

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He'll Pay, ridden by Mitchell Murrill, overcomes post 12 to upset the Rushaway for 3-year-olds.

FLORENCE, Ky. - On a blustery day at Turfway Park, Larry Jones had to hold on to his trademark hat in the winner's circle - but the popular Kentucky trainer did get his picture taken for the 1,000th time in his career, as He'll Pay gave him the milestone victory in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes.

"It's been a 32-year overnight success," said Jones, who scored his first win in 1983 at Ellis Park. His runners have earned more than $44.4 million to date, and his career highlights include Kentucky Oaks victories with Proud Spell (2008), Believe You Can (2012), and Lovely Maria (2015); all three were owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones, who also campaigns He'll Pay.

The trainer and owner are not related, but Larry Jones jokes that he and his longtime client are "cousins now. We've been at this long enough, we're family."

Larry Jones's other career highlights include campaigning Grade 1 winner Hard Spun, second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness; conditioning 2008 Derby runner-up Eight Belles; and handling 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace in her championship campaign.

He'll Pay ($27.60), who was making his stakes debut in the Rushaway, broke from the outside post in the full field of 12 3-year-olds, and Jones credited Mitchell Murrill, aboard He'll Pay, with working out a fairly ground-saving trip.

"He did a masterful job trying to save ground every shot he got," the trainer said. "Coming from the 12-hole, with that short run to the turn we were a lot wider in the first turn than I wanted, but he just kept easing down, easing down, and then got on the rail the last turn. That was the winning move."

He’ll Pay snuck his way through to seize the lead at the top of the stretch and continued on well, despite shifting out a bit, to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Virtual Machine. It was another 6 1/4 lengths back to Grade 1-placed Rated R Superstar in third, followed by 7-5 favorite Gimlet. Florent Geroux, the rider of Gimlet, who appeared to clip heels near the quarter pole, claimed foul against the winner, but it was disallowed. Jones pointed to the wind, gusting strongly near post time, for any erratic behavior from the colt.

"These horses, they switch leads and the wind will blow you so hard they switch back trying to stay under the rider," Jones said.

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles on Turfway's Polytrack was 1:44.29.

He'll Pay is by Haynesfield, whom Brereton Jones stands at his Airdrie Stud; the owner co-bred the colt with nearby WinStar Farm. He'll Pay was coming off a maiden special weight victory at Fair Grounds in his seventh career start. Larry Jones says no next target has been discussed for the colt.

"We're just gonna enjoy this one right now," the trainer said.