HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, Jan. 25, 2019) – Dwight Pruett’s Gray Attempt earned his third straight victory with his front-running win in Friday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes before an opening day crowd of 20,000.
Ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Gray Attempt went straight to the lead from his far outside post and led the field of eight through fractions of :23 and :46 4/5 for the first half mile. Long Range Toddy and Boldor raced in close pursuit, but were never able to pass the winner, finishing a neck back in second and third, respectively. Winning time for the one mile was 1:36 4/5 over a fast track.
“He left there like we thought he would,” trainer Jinks Fires said. “I knew with Steve (Asmussen) having three in there, he’d send at least one of them. Our horse just had enough speed to overcome it. We’re staying right here and if everything goes well, we’ll go in the Southwest.”
Six Shooter was fourth and he was followed by Sleepy Eyes Todd, 3-2 favorite Bankit, Super Steed and Forloveofcountry.
“Obviously, I'm disappointed as heck in Bankit, but Long Range Toddy and Boldor both ran solid,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Kind of a merry-go round race. They went in :46 and change fractions. That's pretty solid, but nobody changed any positions. First day of the meet, things will change. We'll see what happens.”
With the win, Gray Attempt also earned 10 points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility and is now ranked 11th on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. Second-place finisher Long Range Toddy, who had earned 10 points for winning the Remington Springboard Mile in December, earned an additional four points Friday to move into fourth place with a total of 14 points. Boldor earned two points for third and Six Shooter earned one point for finishing fourth, but neither are currently in the top 20 on the Leaderboard. The Kentucky Derby is limited to the top 20 points earners.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Oaklawn with a 1 p.m. first post. The day is highlighted by the traditional 50-cent Corned Beef Sandwiches and 10-cent sodas promotion and $100,000 America Beauty Stakes.