The $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes will run as Race 8 on the Jan. 22 card at Oaklawn Park.
The event for 3-year-olds will cover one mile and include names like Caddo River, Martini Blu, Hardly Swayed, and Moonlite Strike among the field of seven.
Here is a look at the top runners set for the Smarty Jones Stakes.
Betting Preview: Caddo River, Martini Blu
One of the leading runners among the field is Shortleaf Stable’s Caddo River. The Hard Spun colt is trained by Brad Cox.
He has a career record of 1-2-0 from three starts and earnings of $76,092.
Last time out, he scored a Nov. 15 maiden special weight race at Churchill Downs, registering a 104 Speed Figure. He also finished second in an Oct. 11 maiden special weight race at Belmont Park and another on Sept. 5 at Saratoga.
Caddo River will break from the outside post 7 under jockey Florrent Geroux.
He will be up against Novogratz Racing Stables’ Martini Blu. The Maclean’s Music colt is trained by McLean Robertson.
He is 1-0-0 from one career start with earnings of $13,200.
That one victory came in a Dec. 27 maiden special weight race at Hawthorne where he registered an 82 Speed Figure.
Martini Blu will break from post 1 under rider Francisco Arrieta.
Betting Preview: Hardly Swayed, Moonlite Strike
Another runner to look out for is Arnaldo Monge’s Hardly Swayed. The Bernardini colt is trained by Ray Hernandez.
He is 2-0-1 from four career starts with earnings of $27,030.
One of those wins came last time out in a Dec. 29 allowance race at Mahoning Valley Race Course, and another was at the same track in a Nov. 24 maiden special weight race. He also finished third in a maiden special weight race on Oct. 28 there as well and took sixth on debut in one at Indiana Grand Race Course on Sept. 29.
Hardly Swayed will break from post 5 under rider Martin Garcia.
Sonata Stable’s Moonlite Strike will also be among the field. The Liam’s Map colt is trained by Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.
He is 2-0-0 from three career starts with earnings of $47,400.
The colt won a Dec. 10 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park in his most recent run, and he scored a Nov. 14 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream Park West. His other outing was a fourth-place run in an Oct. 16 maiden special weight race also at Gulfstream Park West.
Moonlite Strike will break from post 6 under rider Joseph Talamo.
The rest of the field (post, jockey) is set to include: Lawlessness (Post 2, D. Cohen); Cowan (Post 3, R. Santana, Jr.); and Big Thorn (Post 4, D. Cabrera).
Free Betting Pick
Martini Blu is a solid choice for this outing. The son of Maclean’s Music has already won around two turns during his career debut. In that outing, he stalked the leader and covered a mile and 70 yards in 1:42.70 over a fast track. He is coming off a good work over this surface, so he should handle the track well.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Martini Blu
Spooky Express is your Horse Racing Handicapping headquarters, home of the best Betting Tips from Top Level Elite Handicappers including daily free plays and the best Sports & Racebook Bonuses available! To read each individual handicapping breakdowns from this week in horse racing, CLICK HERE!