01/16/2017 8:08PM

Uncontested all the way in Smarty Jones Stakes

Coady Photography
Uncontested and jockey Channing Hill win the Smarty Jones Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths Monday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Uncontested was left alone on the lead in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on Monday at Oaklawn Park and put on a show in the slop, winning off by 5 1/4 lengths while picking up 10 eligibility points for the Kentucky Derby.

Petrov, who made a run at the leader into the final turn, finished second, and it was another 4 1/2 lengths back to Rowdy the Warrior in third. Those horses, plus fourth-place finisher Warrior’s Club, also earned points on a sliding scale of 4-2-1.

The Smarty Jones, a one-mile race that ended at the sixteenth pole, was the first local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby on April 15. The next race in the series is the Grade 3, $500,000 Southwest on Feb. 20, and that race is a target for Uncontested, said winning trainer Wayne Catalano.

Uncontested ($4.40) broke on top under Channing Hill and was up by a length through an opening quarter in 23.04 seconds. He increased his advantage through a half-mile in 46.21 seconds and six furlongs in 1:10.70 before winning in hand in 1:36.32.

“The speed that he’s got, we were going to take it out there and see,” Catalano said of the game plan Monday.

Hill said in the stretch, he took a little action to keep Uncontested’s mind on business.

“He doesn’t lollygag, but he can get a little lazy on you,” Hill told Oaklawn officials. “He was still moving forward, but I just gave him a few taps as a reminder about what we were doing today, and he absolutely cruised from there.”

Oaklawn opened its card with a sealed surface rated “wet-fast,” but rains hit around the fourth race, and by the fifth, the track was downgraded to “sloppy.” It rained on and off for a few more races, but it was clear for the Smarty Jones.

“You hate to see an off track for everybody, [but] sometimes it rains the first Saturday in May,” said Catalano.

Uncontested was favored following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, a race in which he was making his two-turn debut and broke from post 12. In his only other race, he had won a maiden special weight sprint on Oct. 19 at Keeneland, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in a quick 1:15.80 to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 89.

Uncontested earned $90,000 for the Smarty Jones win, his second victory from three starts. He has now banked $135,300. Uncontested is a son of Tiz Wonderful. He races for Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta, a partnership that won the 2015 Smarty Jones with Far Right. 

The remaining order of finish was Cu Rahy in fifth, Unbridled Eagle, Romeo O Romeo, and Love That Lute.

Attendance was estimated at 9,500 on Monday, and handle on the nine-race card from all sources was $3,257,973, according to figures from Oaklawn. The Smarty Jones closed out a four-day opening weekend. Racing resumes Thursday.

Anonymous 8 months ago
A LONG WAY OFF TO THE BIG RACES ?NEED TO CHECK Tiz Wondeful accomplishments on track in sire barn before we can see if this race means anything.
realgooddogtoo 8 months ago
If Petrov was in the hands of Baffert or Pletcher , he would be a serious contender for the triple crown races.
redboy 8 months ago
His next acid test will come in the Rebel ,but there isn't one derby prospect that has even come close to a  1 1/4 mile race, so they will ALL have to prove they can handle that distance.  The fact that he ran a quick 1;36 for the mile in slop is a nice step in the right direction ,
Joel Schiff 8 months ago
I think he will face a much better field in the SW, with more shippers due in. He may be vulnerable if there is other good speed in the SW plus the distance is longer.
redboy 8 months ago

.Has a really nice stride . Looks like he was just galloping  ,after gunning to the front and setting the pace. Can definitely move forward off this effort ,look forward to seeing his effort in the Southwest.