07/11/2006 12:00AM

Trainer profile: Larry Jones

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Jack Coady / Coady Photography
Larry Jones admits that his good fillies have the burden of carrying his stable.

To say that trainer Larry Jones, based at Delaware Park with a stable of 50 runners, has recently had a hot hand with 3-year-old fillies would be an understatement of high order. Currently under his supervision are Wildcat Bettie B, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont Park last Saturday; Hello Liberty, second-place finisher in the Grade 1 Acorn behind division leader Bushfire; and Gasia, winner of the Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware Park in her last start.

What's the secret, Mr. Jones?

"If you are asking me what I do differently or better than the next guy, you are asking the wrong guy," said Jones, 49, an owner/trainer who says he "started at the bottom" in this game. He was involved with Quarter Horses before paying $800 for his first Thoroughbred at Ellis Park. "I know the things I do poorly, that's for sure.

"I'd like to think the success we've had with fillies is because we now go to sales to select fillies because that's what our clients want. The colts we race are largely horses from owner/breeders that were not sold, but our fillies have the task of carrying our barn. I'm not doing anything anyone else doesn't do, we've just been very fortunate and have a great crew. I've always had a good work ethic. My crew has followed suit, and they'll work 20 hours a day if that's what it takes to get it done."

Jones enjoyed a breakout year in 2005 when he won nearly twice as many races as he had in any single year prior. He posted a record of 62-42-42 from 304 starters, his runners earned more than $2.2 million in purses, and bettors reaped a $2.31 return on investment. This year, he has already won with 30 of 140 starters and generated more than $1.4 million in purses. Oh, and a $2.46 ROI.

"In 2004, things started to turn where we were able to get our hands on some better quality horses and in turn our numbers improved," Jones said. "It's all about the horses - good horses make good trainers. We won the Acorn with Island Sand in New York in 2004, and winning another Grade 1 with Wildcat Bettie B felt just as good. New York is the center of attention in this game, and to me it is now very rewarding to now be able to compete with the guys you look up to - Mr. [Allen] Jerkens, Wayne Lukas, Shug McGaughey - and now actually compete and not just get beaten against the wall."

Jones may be modest and humbled by his ascent in racing, but don't believe for a minute that he is succeeding on blind luck or by suddenly coming across owners with deep pockets. He clearly has an eye for finding and then developing young talent - Gasia, Hello Liberty, and Wildcat Bettie B brought a combined sum of $129,000 at auction.

Anchored by his trio of superstar fillies, Jones's barn should continue to excel in the second half of the year.

"Hello Liberty will be aimed for the Darley Test at Saratoga," Jones said.

Gasia is entered for this Saturday's Delaware Oaks.

"With Wildcat Bettie B, the Prioress was the priority, so now may be the time to sit back and take a little break - there are limited opportunities when it comes to sprinting fillies," he said. "The Prioress was our goal, and like they said on 'The A-Team': 'It's wonderful when a plan comes together.' "

INSIDE THE STABLE

HorseAge/SexLast raceFinishLast 3 BeyersCareer recordEarnings
Miss Elsie5MCandy Eclair299909516-5-5-1$163,210
Gasia3FSusan's Girl19584869-5-1-1239,976
Tricky's Tick Tock2CMdSpWt165----1-1-0-021,600
Hello Liberty3FAcorn-G128997818-4-3-1283,314
Wildcat Bettie B3FPrioress-G119898738-5-0-1313,420
Les Ry Leigh3FAlwN2X17577516-3-0-171,584
With a Passion4FOC35k/N3X281793718-3-5-4134,210
Josh's Madelyn5MBCDistaffH-G321001009227-8-6-2480,309

VITAL STATISTICS

CategorySts.W%ROI
First North American Start10.000.00
1st race after claim11.0021.60
2nd race after claim10.000.00
1st race with trainer280.112.83
+180 days since last race150.202.80
60-180 days since last race370.083.04
Second off layoff 45-180 days430.120.78
Second off layoff +180 days150.334.85
1-7 days since last race20.000.00
1st time starter380.161.76
2nd start as maiden300.234.06
Maiden special to maiden claimer100.302.04
1st time turf130.080.32
1st time blinkers50.202.44
1st time Lasix170.295.95
2-year-olds540.204.11
Dirt to turf190.110.76
Turf to dirt160.000.00
Blinkers on60.172.03
Blinkers off60.000.00
Sprint to route360.141.16
Route to sprint260.121.08
Sprint-sprint-route20.501.80
31-60 days since last race900.161.74
Won last start850.221.92
Wet tracks600.232.74
Dirt4160.222.49
Turf280.070.50
Sprints3450.222.54
Routes990.161.79
Maiden claiming460.221.37
Maiden special weight1190.192.92
Claiming530.212.80
Allowance1570.222.42
Stakes620.191.74
Graded stakes230.172.37
Debut in a maiden claming race50.000.00

Trainer statistics reflect North American starts from Jan. 1, 2005 through July 9, 2006