05/08/2010 11:00PM

Jones stable appears ready


Larry Jones may have officially retired as a trainer after last fall's Breeders' Cup. But he is still active on the backstretch at Delaware Park, where he is spending his fifth straight spring and summer.

During a 27-year career, Jones trained such stars as Kentucky Derby runners-up Hard Spun and Eight Belles, along with Delaware Handicap winner Island Sand. At age 53, Jones has backed off from his former hectic pace to serve as assistant trainer to his wife, Cindy, his former assistant.

"After the Breeders' Cup, Larry retired and put all of the horses in my name," Cindy Jones said. "I have a lot of good help, including the most accomplished assistant trainer in the world - Larry. With him by my side, I do not have to worry about anything. We both still do exactly the same things we have always done. The real difference is that we have cut down on the number of people we train for and Larry does a little less talking on the phone."

Jones has about 40 horses on the grounds at Delaware, including the 4-year-old colt Doc's Friend, who is among the contenders in Monday's featured eighth race, a third-level optional $65,000 claimer at a mile and 70 yards.

Doc's Friend returns to Delaware, where he recorded two wins and a second in five starts last season, after three off-the-board finishes at Oaklawn Park.

"We have been considering trying him on the turf, but this spot came up and it fits him well," Jones said. "He is ready for a race and he likes the Delaware Park main track, so we are expecting improvement from him."

Jones, who won 8 of 49 starts at the Oaklawn meet, has a number of quality horses lined up to run at Delaware, including the 3-year-old filly No Such Word, winner of the Grade 3 Honeybee; the 4-year-old filly Payton d'Oro, who won last month's Bayakoa at Oaklawn; and Just Jenda, a 4-year-old filly who was a two-time Grade 3 winner last season and most recently finished fourth to the unbeaten Zenyatta in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.

"I think we brought a lot of nice horses," Jones said. "And we have some promising 2-year-olds that we cannot wait to get going. We feel real good about this meet and we think we will make our presence felt."