01/16/2008 12:00AM

Jones making first trip to Texas


Trainers Carl Nafzger and Larry Jones, who were frequent rivals last year with top 3-year-olds Street Sense and Hard Spun, will each be spending a little time in Texas in the near future. Nafzger is scheduled to be the keynote speaker during the Texas Thoroughbred Association's annual meeting and awards banquet Saturday night in Austin.

Jones, meanwhile, is planning to start Honest Man in the $100,000 Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 26. The horse is unbeaten around two turns, and in his last start won an optional claimer at Fair Grounds on Jan. 5 with a Beyer Speed Figure of 99. Honest Man will be the first Sam Houston starter for Jones, who will be making his first trip to Texas.

"I've never been in the state of Texas in my life," Jones said. "When I grew up, that's the only place I wanted to go. I was 4 years old and already said, 'I want to go to Texas,' and I'm finally making it at 51."

The Maxxam, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles, will share a card with the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff. Jones said he plans to start either Buy the Barrel or Sweetdownthelane in the Distaff, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares. Gabriel Saez will ride Honest Man, who races for WinStar Farm and Fox Hill Farm.