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Larry Jones Trainer

Thursday May 31, 2007 12 p.m. (ET)

Trainer Larry Jones, 50, was born in Hopkinsville, Ky. and resides in Henderson, Ky., home to Ellis Park Racecourse. Jones, who is assisted in his operation by his wife Cindy, is known for his strong work ethic and trademark cowboy hat. He rides many of his horses in morning workouts and is also known for personally hauling his horses to race at tracks where he is not stabled.

Jones was based at Ellis Park during the summer months until 2006 when a tornado that damaged the Kentucky track led him to Delaware Park. While at Delaware Park, Jones became associated with Rick Porter, who operates as Fox Hill Stable. The most prominent horse in training for Jones and Fox Hill is Hard Spun, the game pacesetter in the Kentucky Derby before being overtaken by Street Sense who went on to finish third in the Preakness Stakes.

With more than $1.7 million in earnings this year, Jones’ stable ranks in the top 20 among North American trainers. Jones has conditioned two grade I winners- -- Island Sand and Wildcat Bettie B, and the additional graded winners Josh’s Madelyn and Hello Liberty.

Previous to becoming a trainer, Jones gained experience working with horses on his farm, where he raised cattle and hogs and grew corn, tobacco, and soybeans. The first horse he owned, a $2,500 claimer named Ala Turf,  was a winner. Questioning the way his horses were being trained, Jones took out his trainer’s license in 1982 and began his new career.

Sydney, Australia:
G'Day Larry, What edge does having a seat on the horses you will be sending to the races give you? Does your agricultural background come in handy? Also, where'd you get the hat?

I feel like it does, especially when you have large stable like I have. It gives me a chance to know more about where my horses are, what they’re doing. If my riders are having a problem with a horse I can get on and tell them what the issue is and what they need to do, so I definitely feel like it gives me an advantage. I don’t get to use the agricultural background every day, but it does come in handy, from buying different hays to learning to read the weather channel… but that’s how life is; everything you’ve learned throughout the years makes you knowledgeable and adds to your experience. As far as the hats go, I get them at whatever western store I happen to be close to. They’re mostly Stetsons or Resistols. If I see one I like, I buy it.

Mont Belvieu, TX:
I see you gallop some of your horses. How early in a horses beginning training can you tell he will be special? Can you tell by a 1/8 mile breeze, or is it before the first breeze? Thanks!

Some of them, the first few times you ever lope them you think you’ve got something nice. But then I’ve had some very good horses that I didn’t know were good until after they started racing; they didn’t train well, but by George, they wanted to win really bad – and that helps! In Hard Spun’s case I knew pretty quick. He did everything right from the beginning.

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