Kentucky Derby

Uncontested Wins $150,000 Smarty Jones With Ease

HOT SPRINGS, AR (Monday, Jan. 16, 2017) – Harry T. Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta’s Uncontested, living up to his name, was never challenged in easy 5 ¼-length victory in Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes, the first of three preps leading up to Oaklawn’s $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 15.

With his win, Uncontested earns 10 points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility and is now ranked fourth in the standings with 11 total points. He had already earned one point for his fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club last November at Churchill Downs.

In the Smarty Jones, jockey Channing Hill guided Uncontested to the lead and the two never looked back, cruising through fractions of :23 and :46 1/5 for the first half mile. Hill gave his charge a few quicks taps down the lane and the winner responded and galloped home to win in 1:36 1/5 for one mile over a sloppy track.

Petrov, the 8-5 second choice, finished second, 4 ½ lengths in front of Rowdy the Warrior. Warrior’s Club was fourth and was followed by Cu Rahy, Unbridled Eagle, Romeo O Romeo and Love That Lute.

“I almost feel bad getting after him,” Hill said. “He’s a horse that fools you. At the top of the lane he was traveling really nice and he was handling the track well. He’s such a cool, classy little guy. He doesn’t lollygag, but he can get a little lazy on you. He was still moving forward, but I just gave him a few taps as a reminder about what we were doing today and he absolutely cruised from there.”

It worked out how we wanted it to,” trainer Wayne Catalano said. “The goal was break and go. You think you want to be on the front end, but when you do that there’s always a cavalry charge. You just have to let it play out. You never want an off-track, but he handled it before ok. I was kind of ok with it. You hate to have an off track for everyone. But, sometimes it rains on the first Saturday in May, so you better be ready.”

The 3-year-old Tiz Wonderful colt has now won two of three starts and has earned $135,300. He returned $4.40, $3.40 and $2.80 as the 6-5 favorite.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Oaklawn with a 1:30 p.m. first post. The next leg in the track’s 3-year-old series will be the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Presidents Day Monday, Feb. 20.

$150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Quotes

Winning Owner Harry Rosenblum – “We’re very blessed and fortunate. We had a good pilot (Channing Hill) and a good trainer (Wayne Catalano). We ran against a very good field.”

Winning trainer Wayne Catalano – “It worked out how we wanted it to. The goal was break and go. You think you want to be on the front end, but when you do that there’s always a Calvary charge. You just have to let it play out. You never want an off track, but he handled it before ok. I was kind of ok with it. You hate to an off track for everyone. But, sometimes it rains on the first Saturday in May, so you better be ready.”

Winning jockey Channing Hill – “I almost feel bad getting after him. He’s a horse that fools you. At the top of the lane he was traveling really nice and he was handling the track well. He’s such a cool, classy little guy. He doesn’t lollygag, but he can get a little lazy on you. He was still moving forward, but I just gave him a few taps as a reminder about what we were doing today and he absolutely cruised from there.”

Jockey Jose Ortiz, second aboard Petrov – “He ran good, but the winner was the best horse clearly, you can’t take that out of him, he was a really nice horse, he was the favorite, you can’t knock him, he won in 1:15 first out, that’s tough. Today, he showed he was a good horse. Petrov had a perfect trip, just like we wanted, but no one went with him (Uncontested) in the early stages and he got an easy lead. By the half mile pole, I tried to put myself in the clear, because if I want to beat him I had to go after him, and that’s what I did. It didn’t work out, but we held onto second. We will see next time.”

Source: Oaklawn Park

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