Arkansas Derby Trail Begins in Smarty Jones
Photo: Coady Photography
Warrior's Club wins the 2016 Spendthrift Stallion Stakes at Churchill Downs

Paths to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) go through several venues, and the route through Arkansas begins Jan. 16 in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The one-mile Smarty Jones begins a series of four Derby preps, with the Southwest (G3), Rebel (G2), and Arkansas Derby (G1) to follow in the winter and early spring.

Of eight entered for the Smarty Jones, which offers 17 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, Warrior's Club is the lone stakes winner. The Warrior's Reward   colt owned by Churchill Downs Racing Club and trained by D. Wayne Lukas broke his maiden Oct. 30 in the Spendthrift Stallion Stakes at Churchill Downs, then followed with a third-place run in the Nov. 26 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2), behind McCraken and Wild Shot.

SHEA: Warrior’s Club Wins Spendthrift Stallion

Two others in the Smarty Jones field also ran in the Kentucky Jockey Club, including fourth-place finisher Uncontested, who set the pace and was just headed for third by Warrior's Club.

Romeo O Romeo was also involved early in the Kentucky Jockey Club, but tired to finish 12th. That effort was the Macho Uno   runner's only poor start, however. Prior to the late-November contest, the Brian Williamson trainee placed in three stakes following a debut maiden score at Arlington International Racecourse. Romeo O Romeo ran second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity (G3), third in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile at Presque Isle Downs, and third in the Cup and Saucer Stakes on turf at Woodbine.

Rounding out the field are stakes-placed runners Petrov, Cu Rahy, and Rowdy the Warrior, along with maiden winners Unbridled Eagle and Love That Lute.

Petrov, a Ron Moquett-trained Flatter   colt, has done little wrong in two starts. He won his six-furlong debut in November by 3 1/4 lengths at Churchill, then finished a head second to Even Thunder in the Dec. 2  King's Swan Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Smarty Jones S.

Oaklawn Park, Monday, January 16, 2017, Race 8
  • STK
  • 1m
  • Dirt
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:38 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Petrov (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz115Ron Moquett5/2
22Warrior's Club (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateRobby Albarado119D. Wayne Lukas7/2
33Cu Rahy (MD)Glenn W. Corbett115Danele Durham15/1
44Rowdy the Warrior (OK)Luis S. Quinonez115Donnie K. Von Hemel6/1
55Unbridled Eagle (KY)Ramon A. Vazquez115Steven M. Asmussen8/1
66Uncontested (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateChanning Hill115Wayne M. Catalano2/1
77Romeo O Romeo (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateChris Landeros115Brian Williamson12/1
88Love That Lute (KY)Alex Birzer115Jack C. Van Berg20/1

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