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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Mike McCarty’s Gold Street continued his upward trajectory on Friday, taking the field from flags fall to that’s all in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Breaking swiftly from post 6 under Martin Garcia at 10/1 odds, Gold Street quickly set himself out on the front end and cleared most of the horses to his inside, crossing over heading into the clubhouse turn and forcing the rail-breaking Lykan to check slightly. After taking command, Gold Street posted opening fractions of :24.08 and :48.96 while Lynn’s Map tracked him from second.
Still setting the pace as he entered the far turn, Gold Street remained in hand while Shoplifted and Three Technique began gaining ground from their stalking positions. Put to a drive at the top of the stretch, Gold Street shook clear of his rivals and drew off.
Kept to task through to the wire, the Steve Asmussen trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths clear, completing the mile-long event over the muddy surface in a final time of 1:39.63.
“It felt really good to win on the first day and to win a big race like this, especially for Steve, that horse can probably go to the Kentucky Derby,” said Garcia, who relocated his tack to Oaklawn Park after spending several years on the southern California circuit. “That’s the first time going two turns, and he did it so easy, so I don’t see why he wouldn’t go.”
Three Technique, the slight 2/1 favorite, was no match for the winner but did outkick Shoplifted by 2 3/4 lengths in the end.
““I got a perfect trip,” said Three Technique’s jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. “Can’t complain. He’ll learn from this one. The track, he probably wasn’t really loving it today because the speed was holding. He was going comfortably. Short stretch, different wire. He did good. I think he’ll be all right for the next one.”
Silver Prospector, the 2.4/1 second choice, was 2 lengths behind in fourth after bumping with Shared Sense out of the gate and trailing early. Lynn’s Map weakened to fifth after getting split in the far turn, finishing a length ahead of Shared Sense. Lykan, Jungle Runner, and Nucky completed the order of finish.
The Smarty Jones is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Gold Street earned 10 points for the win, with Three Technique receiving 4 for second, Shoplifted 2 for third, and Silver Prospector 1 for fourth.
Gold Street’s win was his third straight, having broken his maiden at Churchill Downs on November 23 before taking the Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds on December 21.The 3-year-old son of Street Boss has an overall record of 6-3-2-0 with $225,218 earned. Both prior wins were at 6 furlongs over sloppy (sealed) main tracks.
“We felt very fortunate to have four stakes winners coming into this race,” said Asmussen, who also saddled Shoplifted, Silver Prospector, and Jungle Runner. “Obviously, we have very high hopes for them in the future. Gold Street is three for three on an off-track, so I was surprised they let him get such an easy lead. We’ll see how he comes out of this and make our plans from there.”
Gold Street returned $22.80 to win, $9 to place, and $6 to show. Three Technique brought back $4.20 to place and $3.60 to show, while Shoplifted paid $3.60 to show.
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