11/24/2010 4:33PM

Jones looking for a big finish in Gazelle

Dustin Orona Photography
No Such Word, Terry Thompson up, wins the Remington Oaks.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Cindy Jones will look to put an exclamation point on her brief, albeit successful, one-year training career on Saturday when she runs No Such Word in the Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.

Cindy Jones took over the head training duties from her husband, Larry, who retired late last year. Larry Jones recently announced he will return to head trainer in 2011 while Cindy Jones will look to take some time off following Saturday’s Gazelle.

“It’s my last race period,” said Cindy Jones, who won 33 races from 167 starters with purse earnings of $1.687,092 this year. “Hopefully, I’ll go out with a bang.”

No Such Word has gone 5 for 9 this year for Jones and owner Brereton Jones, winning four stakes, including the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn in March, the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in August, and the Remington Park Oaks in October.

Two of her four losses this year came to probable Eclipse Award winner Blind Luck, including a fourth-place finish in the Delaware Oaks, where she was beaten only 2 3/4 lengths.

“I don’t know that she’s always run her best races at Delaware Park,” Jones said.

No Such Word won the Remington Park Oaks after trailing the field through a rapid first quarter. But No Such Word is versatile enough to lay closer to the pace if need be.

“She can take back or she can lay close,” Jones said. “She’s such a wonderful filly to ride and to train.”

No Such Word drew the outside post in the eight-horse field and will be ridden by Terry Thompson. Her competition includes Fair Grounds Oaks winner Quiet Temper, Iowa Oaks winner Seeking the Title, 2009 Matron Stakes winner Awesome Maria, as well as listed stakes winners Belle of the Hall, Dubai Dancer, Joanie’s Catch, and Ms Vanenzza.

Jones said that while her husband plans to resume his training career next year at Oaklawn, she plans to spend some time with her family in Kentucky.

“I’m going to take some time off,” Jones said. “I’ve been going at this hard and heavy for 25 years. I’ve been missing my family and my grandkids. We’ve got a log cabin in Kentucky and I’m going to spend some time there. I’m going to take a step back, take a deep breath and hopefully recharge my batteries.”

Remsen: To Honor and Serve faces six

Nashua Stakes winner To Honor and Serve drew post 5 and will take on six juveniles in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

To Honor and Serve, a son of Bernardini, will be reunited with John Velazquez, who rode the colt in his first two starts, but who was in Kentucky for the Breeders’ Cup when To Honor and Serve won the Nashua in front-running fashion under Jose Lezcano.

Though Velazquez is also the regular rider of likely juvenile champion Uncle Mo, the connections of To Honor and Serve wanted him to ride their horse in this race even if they lose him down the road.

“I really felt this was an important race on his schedule and Johnny’s ridden him a couple of times,” said Bill Mott, who trains To Honor and Serve for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation. “Ms. Weber is comfortable with Johnny – she’s had success with him in the last couple of months. My feeling is if we need to change, perhaps first out next year is a better time than the last start of this year.”

The main challengers for To Honor and Serve figure to be Mountain Town, a debut winner at Saratoga, who finished second to Uncle Mo in the Champagne; Bandbox, an undefeated two-time stakes winning New York-bred; Buffum, an impressive debut winner going a mile at Belmont; and Mucho Macho Man, who finished second in the Nashua.

Demoiselle: Dutrow and Pletcher have 4 of 6

Trainers Tony Dutrow and Todd Pletcher have four of the six 2-year-old fillies set to contest the 1 1/8 miles of Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Demoiselle Stakes.

Dutrow and Pletcher will be on the same team as Dutrow has Dixie City and Pletcher saddles Summer Laugh as part of an Edward P. Evans-owned entry. Dutrow also sends out Light Your World while Pletcher will also run Tap for Luck.

Summer Laugh, a daughter of Tapit, is 2 for 2 including a head victory in the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park. Dixie City won two races at Philadelphia Park before finishing third in the Grade 3 Tempted behind Full Moon Blues – who is also in this field – and Tap for Luck.

Believe in A.P., who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. completes the six-horse field.

Clement has two in Three Coins Up

If forecasted rain doesn’t wash the $60,000 Three Coins Up Stakes to the dirt, trainer Christophe Clement will have two good chances to win the 1 1/16-mile race scheduled for the turf.

Clement sends out the uncoupled entry of Bangalore Gold, who finished second in a third-level allowance race at Belmont in October, and Sal the Barber, who won the Grade 3 Calder Derby in 2009. The potential for soft ground is a concern for Clement regarding Bangalore Gold, who did not run well on soft ground in Europe. Sal the Barber, though, won an overnight stakes over good ground at Belmont in the summer of 2009.

If the race switches to dirt, it will be run at one mile and Slevin, one of two horses entered for the main track, becomes the horse to beat for Richard Dutrow Jr.

Skullestad, longtime cameraman, dies

Steve Skullestad, who worked for the New York Racing Association for 33 years, died Tuesday after complications from surgery to repair a carotid artery. He was 54.

Skullestad worked one of the two pan cameras from the press box level for the NYRA tracks – primarily Aqueduct and Belmont Park – since the summer of 1978. Though Skullestad worked for NYRA during Affirmed’s Triple Crown run, he wasn’t working the camera for that year’s running of the Belmont Stakes. Skullestad used to lament that he had never shot a Triple Crown winner.

“He took his job seriously, he was very professional, but he was also one of the funniest guys I ever met,” said John Mazzie, who worked the other pan camera alongside Skullestad for 25 years. “He could have been a stand-up comedian. Also, he was a very good-hearted guy.”

◗ Trainers King Leatherbury and Charles Carlesimo were each fined $250 by the stewards for failure to follow proper procedures regarding the administration of Lasix, which resulted in their horses being scratched from recent races at Aqueduct.

The stewards have levied 15 fines for Lasix violations since the race-day security barn was abolished in late July. Effective immediately, the fines for such a violation will now be a minimum of $500.