07/20/2009 12:00AM

Trainer profile: Marty Jones


Pedigree dictated that Marty Jones almost had to become a trainer. His grandfather was West Coast legend Farrell Jones. His father, Gary Jones, was one of the top trainers on the West Coast in the past 30 years. Nevertheless, Marty Jones tried some different things as a young man, thinking maybe his future lay somewhere else.

Eventually, however, the pedigree and the lure of the game brought him back, and he has proved that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The 37-year-old Jones has carved his niche on the Southern California circuit, and those who play those races know him well. After some time assisting his father, the younger Jones struck out his own in 1996, when his father opted for retirement.

Success was not long in coming, either. His first stakes win came with Auriette in the 1996 Gamely Handicap. Not only was that his first stakes win, it was a Grade 1 stakes win. Since then, he's directed the campaigns of stakes winners such as Alphabet Kisses, Bilo, Hugh Hefner, Gastronomical, High Standards, and Lucky Primo.

His newest pride and joy is Compari. The 3-year-old gelded son of multiple Grade 1 winner Redattore has already shown versatility and promise in three career starts. He was third in his career debut, a synthetic-track sprint at Santa Anita on Feb. 26, and then led wire to wire to win his maiden in a turf route there March 29. He came back in the Snow Chief, a 1 1/8-mile main-track event against winners here April 25, and promptly led wire to wire. The only bad news connected to him is that he bruised a foot and hasn't worked since. Jones, however, reported Compari will point to Del Mar, possibly the La Jolla Handicap on the turf Aug. 15, though time is growing short.

Compari's versatility mirrors that of his trainer. Jones has found success at all levels and divisions. Whereas some colleagues boast huge numbers in specific categories, Jones instead cuts a solid swath across the board.

Distances have mattered little - he's 12 percent in sprints, 14 percent in routes. He does, however, see improved numbers when changing distances. He's 15 percent going sprint to route, 25 percent going route to sprint.

He's 2 for his last 7 (29 percent) when adding blinkers, but is 0 for his last 6 when removing them.

Surface hasn't been an issue. He's hit at 11 percent on dirt, 15 percent on turf, and 12 percent on synthetic. He's been effective switching surfaces, regardless of which direction (6 percent going turf to synthetic; 8 percent going synthetic to turf).

One category where his father's influence is obvious comes with inexperienced horses. Gary was well known for having his young horses ready to go, and son Marty is no different. He's a solid 11 percent first out, and even if things don't pan out in the debut run, things get even better second time out, where he's 17 percent. Overall, he's a strong 24 percent with 2-year-olds, not a bad stat to have in your pocket at this time of year with a bevy of juvenile races likely to dot the Del Mar cards.