06/15/2006 11:00PM

Jones glad he came to Delaware


It hasn't taken trainer Larry Jones long to realize his decision to base his stable at Delaware Park this summer was a good move.

Since Delaware's meet opened in late April, Jones has gone 10 for 34 at Delaware to rank in a tie for sixth in the trainer standings. He has also had success shipping to New York, where his filly Hello Liberty won the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup and finished second in the Grade 1 Acorn.

"Making the decision to come to Delaware may be the smartest decision I have made in this game," said Jones, who previously divided his horses between Prairie Meadows and Kentucky during the spring and summer. "We have been very mobile to where we could run up to New York or down to Pimlico. The racing at Delaware has been tough, but thank goodness we have been able to fit and mingle in with it."

Jones said he has a commitment to race at least one of his horses in stakes at Prairie Meadows this summer.

First-time starter Tricky's Tick Tock scored a 4 1/4-length victory over 2-year-old maidens last Monday, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 65. As an Iowa-bred, Tricky's Tick Tock is eligible to the $60,000 Iowa Stallion Futurity on Aug. 12 and the $65,000 Iowa Cradle on Aug. 26. Both races are at six furlongs at Prairie Meadows.

"Tricky's Tick Tock is going to be okay," Jones said. "I don't think he is going to be just a five-furlong wonder. I also have his half-brother called Ruba Dub Dub. He was a good horse as a young horse and this horse looks like he is going to be better than him."

Now 5, Ruba Dub Dub has won 4 of 21 starts and $103,365.

Saez making his mark

Gabriel Saez, an 18-year-old apprentice from Panama, had to wonder whether he picked the wrong place to ride when he glanced around the jockeys' room at Delaware Park and saw such well-established riders as Ramon Dominguez, Jeremy Rose, Mario Pino, Roberto Alvarado, and Stewart Elliott.

"We were told that Delaware Park was the wrong place for an apprentice when we arrived," said Saez's agent, Ruben Munoz. "But I believe in his ability, and I am convinced that if we work hard we'll have a good summer."

Coming into Saturday's program, Saez is Delaware's leading apprentice and tied for ninth in the overall standings with 10 wins in 84 mounts.

According to Munoz, Saez was champion apprentice in Panama, where he won 58 races in four months. Saez obtained mounts from such trainers as Todd Pletcher, Julian Canet, Ralph Ziadie, and Eoin Harty last winter at Gulfstream Park, but didn't collect his first win in the United States until he guided Greg's Syrah ($30.60) home on April 24 at Delaware.

"Our plans are to stay in Delaware all summer and get established in order to return next season as a journeyman," Munoz said. "He is only 18 years old, and he has a ton of ability. The sky is the limit."

* Alciabides Cortez collected the 1,000th win of his career when he rode Right on the Buff to victory in Wednesday night's 10th race at Charles Town.