06/15/2004 11:00PM

Jones loaded with 3-year-old fillies


ALTOONA, Iowa - Belmont Stakes weekend is one that Prairie Meadows-based trainer Larry Jones will never forget.

Jones, a 47-year-old native of Kentucky, saddled his first Grade 1 winner when Island Sand and jockey Terry Thompson won the $250,000 Acorn Stakes on June 4 at Belmont Park. It was the first time that Jones and Thompson had ever raced at Belmont.

The weekend was far from over for Jones, however. That night Flaming Dixie, another 3-year-old filly trained by Jones, captured the feature race here, a two-other-than-allowance against older mares.

The next evening, Jones sent out yet another 3-year-old filly, Josh's Madelyn, to score an upset in the $50,000 Panthers here at one mile with Thompson in the saddle. The race was the first time Josh's Madelyn had ever tried two turns and ran her career record to 4-2-1 from 10 starts, good for more than $89,000 in earnings. Josh's Madelyn was purchased for $10,000 at the Keeneland 2002 September sale.

"It was quite a weekend," said Jones in an understatement.

Jones splits his stable between here and Ellis Park. He currently has 24 horses in training Prairie Meadows. Another dozen, including Island Sand, are at Ellis where his wife, Cindy, runs the barn.

Jones said that all three of his fillies exited their races in good order and would run in stakes races next out. Jones will head back to New York on a flight with Island Sand on June 22 and she will compete in the Mother Goose at Belmont next Saturday.

Jones said he won't train Island Sand much between now and the 1 1/8-mile Mother Goose. "She isn't very big, and she's better off if she doesn't do a lot of hard work between races." he said.

Jones took over the training of Island Sand in January after she was purchased privately in New York by owner Jim Osborne on the advice of her breeder, Richard Maynard, who serves as a consultant to Jones.

Island Sand has since run second in the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn and second in the Kentucky Oaks before her Acorn victory.

Josh's Madelyn's next start will come here in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks on Friday, July 2. Flaming Dixie will take on older rivals in the $100,000 Saylorville at six furlongs here on July 4, the final day of the Thoroughbred meet. Jones will then ship the remainder of his barn to Ellis Park for the summer meeting there.

With an 11-11-6 record from just 41 starters at this meeting, Jones is tied for fifth in the trainer standings.

Two of Jones's previous top runners, Ruby's Reception and Don't Countess Out, who are now retired, were also mares. Jones says his success with female runners in not a coincidence.

"That's what my owners send me to the sales to buy, it seems like a safer market than the colts. We don't have enough money to spend to buy horses that could be stallion prospects if they don't make it to the races, so we stick with the fillies," said Jones, who added that 17 of his 20 2-year-olds this year are fillies.

Corbett to fight through the pain

With three weeks of racing remaining in the Thoroughbred meeting, a tight three-way battle for leading jockey is developing. Tim Doocy holds a 52-50 lead over the four-time defending champion, Terry Thompson. Glenn Corbett, who has won five straight mixed-meet titles here, is another win back in third through Monday.

The race looked like it may be down to a two-man battle over the weekend when Corbett was forced to take off his mounts because of a broken fibula in his left leg.

Corbett, who won his 2,000th career race earlier this month, suffered the injury here on June 1 when a horse stumbled badly leaving the gate and unseated him. Corbett rode for nine days after the incident but was in increasing pain last week and took off his remaining mounts after riding in one race Friday night.

Corbett, who was on crutches over the weekend, visited an orthopedic specialist on Monday, and was given a clean bill of health to ride if he can withstand the pain, according to his agent, Bobby Dean. "They told him if he was going to break a bone in his leg this was the best one to break and that riding won't do any more damage," said Dean, who added that Corbett would be back riding here Saturday night.

This is the first year that Doocy, 48, has ridden on a regular basis at Prairie, although he has been a fixture in the Midwest for the past two decades.

Doocy, whose brother Dan is the racing secretary here, is represented by veteran agent Kenny Washburn, who took over his book at Oaklawn Park this winter after representing Thompson for the past five years.

Doocy, who had 4,392 career wins and earnings of more than $53 million through Monday, will ride the mixed meeting here, which begins on July 9, according to Washburn.