12/08/2006 12:00AM

Jones comes into big weekend with serious arsenal


Paul Jones, the four-time defending national Quarter Horse training champion and the solid choice to win the 2006 national title, has four horses in the Grade 1, $192,000 Southern California Derby and the probable odds-on favorite in the Grade 1, $50,000 Marathon National on Sunday night at Los Alamitos.

In the Southern California Derby, Jones will send out Spike It and Fly, the fastest qualifier, as well as Volcom, In Dispute, and Redwood Creek.

Snowbound Superstar brings an undefeated record at 870 yards into the 870-yard Marathon for Jones.

Spike It and Fly surprised as a 28-1 winner of his Southern California Derby trial with the fastest time of 19.685 seconds for 400 yards. He joined the Jones barn for the trials after finishing a troubled ninth in the Grade 3 Altoona Derby at Prairie Meadows as a 26-1 outsider.

The other three Jones derby runners bring in superior stakes credentials.

Volcom was third as the 1-5 favorite in the trials to Spike It and Fly. He came into the trial off a second-place effort behind stablemate Wave Carver - a favorite for Saturday's Champion of Champions - in the Grade 1, $700,000 Los Alamitos Super Derby. The colt won the Grade 1 El Primero Del Ano Derby on April 14.

In Dispute was third in the Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Derby two starts ago after he was bumped at the start.

Redwood Creek has been third in his latest three races, including a third-place effort in the Los Alamitos Super Derby at 54-1.

A Marathon victory would make Snowbound Superstar a short-priced favorite to be named the 2006 champion distance horse. In fact, he could lose the Marathon and still be the favorite to be named the sport's premier 870-yard runner.

Snowbound Superstar won his maiden race in his 870-yard debut and is perfect in his five starts at the distance. In his third 870-yard start, the Gold Rush 870 Derby, he raced the distance in 44.02 seconds, nearly matching the track record of 43.99 seconds set by three-time champion Griswold in 1991.

In his five victories, including stakes wins in his latest three starts, Snowbound Superstar has an average winning margin of nearly five lengths.

Jones, whose horses earned nearly $6.5 million in 2005, came into this weekend with nearly $5.4 million in 2006 earnings and with live horses in the $2 million Los Alamitos Million Futurity on Friday night and the $600,000 Champion of Champions - a race he has won three of the last four years - on Saturday night.