Jones Eyes West Virginia Derby Invasion

Jones Eyes West Virginia Derby Invasion
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Larry Jones

from Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort

The horsemen at Delaware Park are well aware that trainer Larry Jones has an arsenal of stakes competitors in his barn. And on Aug. 2, Jones plans to bring a vanload of his top horses to Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort for the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (gr. III) program.

 “When I talked to (Larry) Jones on the phone, he told me he was coming here with a full hand,” said Joe Narcavish, the racing secretary at Mountaineer. “Five horses, all of them proven runners. Jones believes he could have a very big day.”

Proud Kentuckian, owned by Brereton Jones, will be among the group. The 3-year-old Proud Citizen  colt has won three consecutive allowance races at Delaware Park, and the West Virginia Derby would represent his first try in stakes company, graded or otherwise. His most recent starts have come at the one mile, 1 1/16 miles, and one mile and 70-yard distances.

The West Virginia Derby is at 1 1/8 miles. Jones is convinced the additional yardage will not be a problem for his colt, whose record shows 12 starts, four wins, and five placings for earnings of $135,280.

Jones has nominated horses to four other stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard. Honest Man, who has won five of nine career starts and is graded stakes-placed, has been nominated to the $125,000 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes, while Shytoe Lafeet, who is stakes-placed at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Delaware Park, has been nominated to the $110,000 West Virginia Senate President Breeders’ Cup.

Clay’s Angel, who finished third in a stakes at Delaware Park in May, has been nominated to the $85,000 West Virginia Secretary of State Stakes. And High Mesa, a winner of his career debut at Delaware Park, has been nominated to the $85,000 Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes.

The draw for the nine-race, all-stakes program at Mountaineer will be held July 29. First post Aug. 2 is 2 p.m. EDT rather than the customary 7 p.m.

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