Odds-on choice Jonesboro edged away from Smokeyjonessutton through the homestretch to post a 1 3/4-length win in the $151,500 Tiznow Handicap at Louisiana Downs Sept. 20, earning a berth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in the process.
The Tiznow was one of five stakes races on the Super Derby undercard at Louisiana Downs, but the only race on the program that carried a "Win and You're In" designation as a Breeders' Cup Challenge race.
A 6-year-old son of Sefapiano trained by Randy Morse for owner Michael Langford, Jonesboro was winning for the 11th time in 33 lifetime starts. Jonesboro, who paid $3.60 as the 4-5 choice in the eight-horse field, earned $90,000 to boost his bankroll to $836,575.
Jonesboro, on the inside ridden by Robby Albarado in the 1 1/16-mile test, hooked up with Smokeyjonessutton and Kent Desormeaux soon after the start and those two tested one another into the stretch through fractions of :23.43, :47.02 and 1:11.59. Jonesboro, carrying top weight of 119 pounds, began to pull away mid-stretch and finished under firm handling. Autobearcat, rated in fourth by Donnie Meche, made a bid on the outside but could not make a tussle of it with the winner while edging Smokeyjonessutton by a neck for the runner-up spot.
Elsewhere on the stakes program, 13-10 choice Abbott Hall, ridden by Albarado, left the field behind in the homestretch for a six-length victory in the $150,450 Happy Ticket Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
Trained by Hal Wiggins for owner Dolphus Morrison, the Kentucky-bred El Corredor miss won for the second time in three starts. She beat a maiden field at Ellis Park at one mile on the turf by 6 1/4 lengths in her last start. Abbott Hall ($4.60) was timed in 1:43.32, with Meaux Speed finishing second and Splash of Roses third.
The $150,000 Sunday Silence for 2-year-olds, also on the turf at 1 1/16 miles, went to City Style ($41.40), a two-length upset winner over Classy Gentleman and Valid Message. Favored Marquee Event finished fifth.
City Style, a Stonerside Stable homebred, is a gelding by City Zip trained by Cheryl Asmussen. He won for the second time in three starts while completing the journey in 1:43.20.
Tortuga Flats ($17.40), ridden patiently by Kirk LeBlanc, grabbed the lead in the final furlong and held on for a one-length win over Pleasantly Blessed in the $106,000 River Cities for fillies and mares at one mile on the turf. Odds-on choice Brownie Points settled for third.
The Lousiana-bred daughter of Wild Zone won for the 15th time in her 25-race career while boosting her earnings to $539,340. Ralph Irwin trains the 5-year-old mare for John P. Balensiefen. The final time was 1:35.77.
Favored Steve's Double ($6.40), ridden by Albarado, got up in time to edge Tricky Causeway by a half-length in the $197,200 Unbridled Handicap in the final stakes race of the day contested at one mile on the turf. Ernesto finished third.
Steve's Double gained his first win in six starts in 2008 for trainer Ronny Werner and Oxbow Racing. The 4-year-old Maryland bred Stephen Got Even gelding earned his fifth win in 14 tries and improved his earnings to $403,286. The winning time was 1:36.82.