From a Delaware Park release
With the 78th season of live racing beginning on May 16, trainer J. Larry Jones is looking forward to another successful season at Delaware Park.
In 2005, the 58-year-old native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, won the Delaware Handicap with Island Sand. The following year, he moved his entire operation to Delaware Park and for nearly every year since, the Jones operation has targeted Stanton, Delaware for the spring and summer months.
Before heading east, the Jones team has an engagement at Churchill Downs on May 1. Jones has both I’m a Chatterbox, the winner of the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, and Lovely Maria, the winner of the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, targeted for the Grade I Kentucky Oaks.
“After the Kentucky Oaks, we will be heading to Delaware,” said trainer J. Larry Jones, who has won the Kentucky Oaks twice with Proud Spell in 2008 and Believe You Can in 2011. “The Delaware Oaks is definitely one of our targets and I am sure we will have something in that race. We have won the race before with Proud Spell and it is a race we sure would not mind winning again. But, we are going to try and bring stock that will fit for all the occasions and hopefully we will have something to compete in all of the big races as well.”
Like Proud Spell and Believe You Can, Lovely Maria broke her maiden at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old and went on to win a graded race. Since 2002, there have been 32 two-year-olds who have broken their maiden at Delaware Park which have gone on to win graded races. Jones has trained 11 of those including Eight Belles, Friesian Fire, Hard Spun, Havre de Grace, Joyful Victory, Mark Valeski, Mr. Bowling and Old Fashioned. Some others Jones has not conditioned include: Afleet Alex, Barbaro, Bellamy Road, Forever Together, Pants on Fire, Ruler on Ice, Tapit and Union Rags.
“We love Delaware Park and look forward to coming every year,” Jones said, who will have approximately 50 horses in his barn. “Delaware Park has always been real horse friendly in regards to how the track was designed. It has nice wide horse paths, it has a lot of space, and there is not much hustle and bustle. It is tranquil. My horses have done very well there through the years and I do not see any reason to make a change.”
Jones has been happy with his results so far this year. His stable has won 22 of 83 starts to date in 2015, with earnings of more than $1.8 million.
“We had a great winter down in New Orleans,” he said. “We did well at the Fair Grounds and when we shipped out of town a few times, we did well. We had the best Keeneland fall meet, after we left Delaware, that we have had in several years and we have had the best Keeneland spring meet that we have had in several years. Right now, the stable is rolling at a very good level.”
Others making preparations for the 2015 season at Delaware Park include Jamie Ness, McLean Robertson, H. Graham Motion; Tim Ritchey, Randy Nunley, Mark Reid, Michael Matz, Michael Pino, Sam Cronk, Michael Gorham, Anthony Pecoraro, Louis Albertrani, Thomas Albertrani, John Rigaterri, Jonathan Sheppard, Bill Sienkewicz, Joe Arboritanza, Thomas Proctor, William Morey, Wayne Potts, Tim Ice, Carla Morgan, Arnaud Delacour, and Alex Rendon.