Updated on 09/17/2011 12:50PM

Smarty Jones taking Oaklawn trail


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though there is a $5 million bonus awarded by Oaklawn Park for a horse that sweeps that track's Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby, and then win the Kentucky Derby, that's not the primary reason trainer John Servis is taking Count Fleet Stakes winner to Arkansas.

"We're not going for the bonus," Servis said. "I'm going because I think that's the route that will suit him best."

Servis hopes Smarty Jones is talented enough to get him to the Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs. He took a small step in that direction Saturday, winning the Count Fleet at Aqueduct by five lengths. His final time of 1:41.42 was the second fastest in 21 runnings of the Count Fleet at its current distance of a mile and 70 yards. Smarty Jones, a son of Elusive Quality, earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure in the Count Fleet.

Had Servis kept Smarty Jones in the Northeast, he would have likely run in the two-turn, 1 1/16-mile Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 7 and then cut back to a one-turn mile in the Gotham on March 20, before stretching back out to two turns in the Wood Memorial on April 10.

Servis also said that he felt the Florida route to the Derby - including the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby - would be much tougher than the Arkansas route.

At Oaklawn, Servis can keep Smarty Jones around two turns in the Southwest, Rebel, and Arkansas Derby.

The Count Fleet was the first start around two turns for Smarty Jones after he won two sprint races so impressively at Philadelphia Park. In the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes, Smarty Jones won by 15 lengths and earned a 105 Beyer, equaling the highest by a 2-year-old in 2003. Because Smarty Jones had shown tremendous speed in his first two starts, even Servis was somewhat skeptical of whether Smarty Jones would be successful around two turns. "I was a little suspicious going into the race," Servis said. "After watching the race, I feel a lot more comfortable. I know he didn't beat a quality field of horses, but he ran a good time, he settled off horses, and he galloped out really good."

Smarty Jones leaves for Arkansas on Thursday and will have plenty of time to prepare for the $100,000 Southwest, a two-turn, one-mile race run on Feb. 28. After that, his races get closer together, with the Rebel on March 20 and Arkansas Derby on April 10.

The victory by Smarty Jones was the third from four starts for Servis over the inner track. Servis won the Mom's Command Stakes with Stephan's Angel on Dec. 12 and the Garland of Roses with Balmy on Dec. 13. Stephan's Angel is headed to Oaklawn, while Balmy will return to Aqueduct in the Correction Handicap on Jan. 31.

Abreeze likely for Aqueduct

Abreeze, who won his 9-year-old and inner-track debut Friday, will run back in the Grade 3, $75,000 Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 17, trainer Scott Lake confirmed Monday.

Abreeze, who Lake and owner John Rotella claimed for $100,000 in August at Saratoga, successfully sat off a horse early in Friday's race before winning a stakes-caliber allowance race by 1 1/2 lengths. It was his second straight victory and 10th from 44 career starts.

Abreeze had lost his first three starts for Lake, two coming in stakes, before returning to form.

"I thought he ran a tremendous race," Lake said. "He laid second and let a horse in front of him and he relaxed a little bit. Before, he'd get behind horses and he wouldn't try."

Lake was speaking from Gulfstream Park, where he was checking in on his stable. His horses there include multiple stakes winner Shake You Down, who is being pointed to the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 24. Lake said Shake You Down would have one workout, probably on Jan. 19.

Lake also said that My Cousin Matt, the General George Handicap winner who hasn't run since finishing fifth in the Vosburgh on Sept. 27, is on the farm recovering from injury. Lake hopes to begin training him again by the end of February.

Caught in the Rain headed to Florida

Caught in the Rain, who won the Athenia Handicap here in November, will head to Ocala, Fla., this week for a short rest before being put back on the turf, possibly in a pair of stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Caught in the Rain, a 5-year-old daughter of Petionville, has won stakes on turf and dirt. After the Athenia, she made two starts on dirt, finishing fourth in the Top Flight and fifth in the Ladies Handicap. She is nominated to this weekend's Affectionately Handicap, but trainer Guadalupe Preciado said Caught in the Rain is headed south.

"Right now, I think she's leaving for Ocala this week," Preciado said. "We'll try and freshen her up a little bit and maybe run a couple of times in Tampa."

The two races that best fit Caught in the Rain at Tampa are the $100,000 Endeavour on Feb. 7 and the $100,000 Hillsborough Stakes on March 14.

Cotto begins 10-day suspension

Jockey Pedro Cotto Jr., who recently won his 40th career race to become a five-pound apprentice, began a 10-day suspension Monday for what stewards termed "gross careless riding" in Saturday's seventh race. The suspension was reduced from 15 days after Cotto waived his right of appeal.

Cotto was aboard Memo, who faded to sixth after setting the early pace. When he tired, he nearly put Aaron Gryder, aboard Byback, over the rail. Memo was not disqualified by the stewards