04/04/2016 1:50PM

Jones boys: Common name, uncommon success

Barbara D. Livingston
Larry Jones (right) saddled his 1,000th winner Saturday with He'll Pay. Longtime partner Brereton Jones (left) owns the colt.

There is no relation between racing’s “Jones boys,” former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones and trainer Larry Jones.

On paper, anyway.

“We all tell everyone we’re cousins now,” Larry Jones said. “We’ve been at this long enough. We’re family.”

Larry Jones saddled his 1,000th winner with He’ll Pay, a colt whom Brereton Jones co-bred and owns, in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes on Saturday at Turfway Park. That milestone victory was just the latest in the long string of successes for the trainer and his longtime client.

“You can’t do it for better people,” Larry Jones said. “It’s great. They’re just super people and have meant so much to me in my career. Every owner that we’ve had has been a reason that we got to where we are, but what an honor.”

Runners trained by Larry Jones, who saddled his first winner in 1983 at Ellis Park, have bankrolled more than $44.4 million. His career highlights include Kentucky Oaks victories with the champion Proud Spell (2008), Believe You Can (2012), and Lovely Maria (2015). All three were owned – and two bred – by Brereton Jones, who, with wife Elizabeth, owns and operates Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky. Much of the 2,500-acre property is part of the former Woodburn Stud, home of the immortal Lexington during his run as America’s leading sire in the 1800s. The Joneses founded Airdrie in 1972, and since then, more than 150 stakes winners, including more than 20 Grade 1 winners, have been bred and raised at the farm.

Larry Jones’s other career highlights include campaigning the Grade 1 winner Hard Spun, second in the 2007 Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness; 2008 Derby runner-up Eight Belles; and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. All three were owned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm, another longtime client. Other top homebreds the trainer has conditioned for Brereton Jones include the graded-stakes-winning half-brothers Mark Valeski and Albano.

He’ll Pay is from the first crop of Airdrie stallion Haynesfield, and Brereton Jones bred the colt in partnership with nearby WinStar Farm. Larry Jones and his wife and assistant, Cindy, keep a small broodmare band at Airdrie and support the farm’s sires, including Haynesfield in his initial year. Another promising 3-year-old by the stallion is the couple’s homebred Jensen, first or second in his first four starts before finishing unplaced in the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes in his stakes debut.

“All of my mares are at Airdrie Stud, so we try to breed to their stallions,” Larry Jones said. “He had Haynesfield coming in, and he was a hot property. It just worked out.”

He’ll Pay was making his stakes debut in the Rushaway off a maiden special weight victory at Fair Grounds in his seventh career start. Larry Jones said no next target has been discussed for the colt.

“We’re just gonna enjoy this one right now,” the trainer said.