02/03/2012 3:51PM

Santa Anita: Marty Jones rises in standings with turf sprint success

Benoit & Associates
Tres Borrachos will try to add to trainer Marty Jones's strong Santa Anita meet in Sunday's San Antonio Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Success on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita has put trainer Marty Jones’s stable firmly in the top 10 at Santa Anita this winter.

Jones’s stable won three races, including two stakes, in late January and early February on the hillside turf course – the Sensational Star Stakes with Compari on Jan. 28, the Wishing Well Stakes with the remarkable Unzip Me on Jan. 29, and an optional claimer with Don Perico on Thursday. The 3-year-old maiden Zackn’mat won a seven-furlong race on dirt Jan. 29.

“It’s been a nice week,” Jones said Friday, in his understated style.

Through Thursday, Jones was tied for sixth in the standings with six wins from 27 starters. The stable may add to that win total Sunday. Jones has three runners – Stone Hot in a starter allowance on the hillside turf course, Tres Borrachos in the $200,000 San Antonio Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on the main track, and the maiden claimer Creative Writer in the eighth race.

Jones, 40, has high expectations for Stone Hot and Tres Borrachos.

The winner of the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar last July and third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November, Tres Borrachos makes his second start of the meeting in the Grade 2 San Antonio. In the Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 7, Tres Borrachos finished second by 1 3/4 lengths to Uh Oh Bango, a starter in the San Antonio.

“It looked like Uh Oh Bango got a jump on him,” Jones said. “He ran his race. He’s a true professional. It comes down to racing luck with that horse, and if he gets the right trip, he can win. If he doesn’t, he hits the board.”

Tres Borrachos drew the rail in a field of seven led by Game On Dude, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November.

“Game On Dude is in the San Antonio, that makes it tough for [Tres Borrachos], but he’s doing well,” Jones said.

Stove Hot finished fifth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in a $40,000 claimer on Dec. 29, his first start against winners. He is ideally suited for a starter allowance on the hillside turf course in Sunday’s third race. On Dec. 29, the temporary rails were set 24 feet from the permanent position, a setup that made it difficult for closers such as Stove Hot, Jones said. For Sunday’s race, the rails are out eight feet.

“He’s run good down the hill,” Jones said. “When the rail is out, it’s tough to make up ground.”

As for his recent stakes winners, they have big race goals in March. Unzip Me, who won the 10th stakes of her career in the Wishing Well, is a candidate for the $100,000 Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-bred females on the hillside turf course on March 17, pending conversations with the partners that own the 6-year-old mare.

“If it was up to me, that would be the most logical spot,” Jones said.

Compari is a candidate for the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 3, even though he has been running in sprints in recent starts. He won the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap over a mile on turf in 2010.

“I’m not afraid to stretch him out again,” Jones said.

Don Perico won an optional claimer for California-breds in an 8-1 upset Thursday, the second win in nine starts for the 5-year-old gelding. Don Perico races for breeder Don Valpredo. There may be more to come from Don Perico.

“He’s always been a promising horse,” Jones said.

Caracortado making slow recovery

Caracortado, winner of the Grade 3 Daytona Stakes last month but scratched from the Sensational Star Stakes because of a tender foot, is making a slower-than-expected recovery, trainer Mike Machowsky said.

Caracortaco was tack-walked at Machowsky’s barn at Santa Anita on Friday. There is a chance he could miss the Kilroe and be pointed to the $100,000 San Simeon Handicap on the hillside turf course April 21.

“If I make the Kilroe, I make the Kilroe,” Machowsky said. “If not, I’ll wait for the San Simeon.”

Keiber Coa riding at Santa Anita

Keiber Coa, the son of jockey Eibar Coa, has arrived in Southern California and will have his first mount on this circuit in Sunday’s eighth race on Corn Maze.

Coa, 19, was winless with 10 mounts at Gulfstream Park since Dec. 17 and claims 10 pounds. Coa will be represented by jockey agent Joe Ferrer, who books mounts on behalf of Rafael Bejarano.

Six owners added to TOC ballot

Six owners have qualified for the ballot for the Thoroughbred Owners of California’s board of directors through a petition process, the organization announced Thursday.

Tom Bachman, Joel Eichenberger, John Harris, Jerry Jamgotchian, Roxanne Smith, and Michael Wellman will appear on the ballot along with 24 previously nominated candidates. The election for 15 seats will take place from Feb. 15 to March 15, with a new board to be seated by April.