Tips and Analysis for the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park and the Jerome at Aqueduct

Tips and Analysis for the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park and the Jerome at Aqueduct
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The new year is an exciting time for horse racing fans because 2-year-old thoroughbreds celebrate their third birthdays on Jan. 1. All eyes are on this emerging group as the early-season starts to define the possible Kentucky Derby field.

On New Year’s Day, we will see the first two meaningful stakes races for 3-year-olds with Derby aspirations. Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, will be the scene of the Smarty Jones Stakes. The Jerome Stakes will be run at Aqueduct in New York, and we will look at both races here.

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The Road to the Kentucky Derby

These two races are the first installments of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series. Forty-eight races comprise the series, and points are awarded to the top four finishers. More points are available in the most important graded stakes races leading up to the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

This series began on Sept. 18 with the Iroquois for 2-year-old thoroughbreds at Churchill Downs. It will conclude with the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 16, three weeks before the Run for the Roses.

The two Jan. 1 races have the same point structure. The winner is awarded 10 points, the runner-up gets four, the third horse earns two points and the fourth-place finisher gets a single point.

The field is limited to 20 horses, and we will be covering the series race by race. We will update the 2022 Kentucky Derby qualifier leaderboard on an ongoing basis, so you should bookmark this page.

Current 2022 Kentucky Derby Qualifier Standings

Rank HorsePoints Earnings
1 Pappacap 12 $538,000
2 Rattle N Roll10 $300,000
3 Jack Christopher 10 $275,000
4 Make It Big 10 $240,000
5 Smile Happy 10 $234,410
6 Slow Down Andy 10 $180,000
7 Major General 10 $177,525
8 Mo Donegal 10 $137,500
8 Epicenter 10 $60,000
10 Commandperformance 6 $200,000
11 Classic Causeway 6 $126,100
12 Double Thunder 4 $320,350
13 Giant Game 4 $180,000
14 Red Knobs 4 $177,070
15 Osbourne 4 $80,000
16 Tough To Tame 4 $57,550
17 Zandon 4 $50,000
18 Wit 2 $202,500
19 Oviatt Class 2 $86,000
20 White Abarrio 2 $38,050

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2022 Smarty Jones Stakes Field with Opening Lines and Odds

The Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park is a key winter race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It is run Jan. 1 at the historic horse track in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with qualifying points on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

The Smarty Jones premiered in 2008, honoring a legendary racehorse featured on a Sports Illustrated cover, and, more important, the winner of the 2004 Kentucky Derby. The champion Thoroughbred also won the Preakness Stakes that year and missed the Triple Crown because he finished second at the Belmont Stakes.

The 1-mile dirt race at Oaklawn, with a purse of $150,000, is an important prelude to the Louisiana and Arkansas Derbies.

The Smarty Jones has produced more than a half dozen Kentucky Derby qualifiers, including 2013’s Will Take Charge, voted champion 3-year-old male at the Eclipse Awards after running in each Triple Crown leg.

The 2022 Smarty Jones looks like it could be held on a soggy day, with a 93% chance of rain (morning thunderstorms, a cloudy afternoon) and a high temperature of 69 degrees.

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Field for the Smarty Jones

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Dash Attack Kenneth McPeek David Cohen12-1
2All In Sync Steve Asmussen Ricardo Santana, Jr.8-1
3Home Brew Brad Cox Florent Geroux3-1
4Kavod Chris Hartman Francisco Arrieta5-1
5Ignitis D. Wayne Lukas Luis Contreras15-1
6Bureau Ron Moquett David Cabrera12-1
7Ruggs Ron Moquett Julian Leparoux10-1
8Vivar Brad Cox Martin Garcia8-1
9Don’tcrossthedevil Philip D’Amato Lane Luzzi10-1
10Barber Road John Ortiz Mario Gutierrez4-1
11Cairama Steve Asmussen Geovanni Franco8-1
12Cool Papa G Steve Asmussen Ramon Vazquez6-1
13Immoral Michael Puhich Tiago Pereira20-1
14Ben Diesel Dallas Stewart Jon Kenton Court5-1

Picks and Analysis for 2022 Smarty Jones Stakes

Home Brew is the 3/1 favorite in the New Year’s race at Hot Springs. Trained by Brad H. Cox, the impressive Kentucky-bred colt had three starts in 2021, with two first-place finishes and a second-place finish, earning $113,000.

Barber Road, at 4/1, is expected to finish strong. In 2021, the colt bolted to two first-place finishes and one second-place finish. The John Alexander Ortiz-trained Thoroughbred earned $100,720 during the year.

Two 5/1 challengers, Kavod, trained by Chris Hartman, and the Dallas Stewart-trained Ben Diesel are worthy contenders. Other top challengers are Cool Papa G at 6/1, and three 8/1 entries — All in Sync, Vivar, and Cairama.

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2022 Jerome Stakes Field With Morning Lines and Odds

The Jerome Stakes is a Grade III race that is contested at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, NY. The 1 mile, 70 yards race has a purse of $150,000.

The Jerome is the second oldest stakes race in the country — beginning in 1866 — and is Named after Leonard W. Jerome, the grandfather of Sir Winston Churchill. It had two stints at Belmont Park, from 1906 to 1959, and from 1968 to 2009.

The first of four stepping-stone preps, the Jerome awards the top finishers qualifying points toward the springtime Kentucky Derby (10-4-2-1).

Typically a cold-weather test, this year’s Jerome looks to be held on a 55-degree day with 75% chance of rain that could reach a quarter of an inch.

Field for Jerome Stakes

Position HorseTrainer RiderOdds
1 Cooke Creek Jeremiah O’Dwyer Manuel Franco5-2
2 Unbridled Bomber James T. Ryerson Dylan Davis8-1
3 Ohtwoohthreefive George Weaver Kendrick Carmouche7-2
4 Rumble Strip Ron Anthony T. Quartarolo Eric Cancel30-1
5 Smarten Up Alfredo Velazquez Anthony Salgado12-1
6 Courvoisier Kelly J. Breen Jose L. Ortiz5-1
7Mr Jefferson Michael J. Trombetta Mychel J. Sanchez9-2
8 Hagler Rudy R. Rodriguez Jorge A. Vargas, Jr.4-1

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Picks and Analysis for 2022 Jerome Stakes

Hagler has yet to run in stakes company, but he is on a two-race winning streak after coming in second in his first attempt. He has won more than $112,000 during his brief career, so there is some quality here.

Cooke Creek is running his third straight 1 mile race and has a good draw on the rail. He finished second in his last race and has the talent to win this one.

It took four tries, but Ohtwoohthreefive broke his maiden at Belmont in October with an 85 Equibase Speed Figure (ESF). His next race was a fifth-place finish in the Awad Stakes, and the next time out, he came in second in the Central Park Stakes at Aqueduct.

He earned a respectable 93 ESF in the Central Park, and he has experience running at the Big A.

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The Smarty Jones and the Jerome Stakes will help ring in the new year on Jan. 1 and are key races to start your looking ahead to the Kentucky Derby.

Since you are interested in the sport of kings, you should check out our horse race betting page. It contains a lot of great information, and we will be tightly focused on the Road Kentucky Derby every step of the way, so you should come back to visit us.

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