Springboard Mile top two return in Smarty Jones

The opening day feature this Friday at Oaklawn Park is the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. Nine Kentucky Derby hopefuls will line up for the one-mile affair. There are 10 Derby points available to the winner, down to one point for fourth. As always, be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#7 BANKIT (7-2) was last seen finishing just behind LONG RANGE TODDY with an inferior trip in December’s Springboard Mile. BANKIT was the last of 11 in the Remington Park feature behind a slow pace. Ricardo Santana Jr. got to work on him just a bit too late, and LONG RANGE TODDY survived. If BANKIT can run back to that effort or improve upon it with a clean trip, he could be a handful with Santana climbing back aboard.

#1 LONG RANGE TODDY (4-1) makes plenty of sense as the Springboard Mile winner, though the post puts jockey Richard Eramia in a predicament. He’ll have to play the break carefully and not get involved in a speed duel or drop too far back early. LONG RANGE TODDY likes to be forwardly-placed but not necessarily on the lead. The Smarty Jones will be his first start outside Remington, but he’s drilled nicely at Oaklawn in recent mornings.

#8 GRAY ATTEMPT (5-2, morning-line favorite) might just be better than these based on his last speed figure, but he earned it going six panels in the Sugar Bowl Stakes at the Fair Grounds. The modestly-bred son of Graydar is not a great bet at 5-2 or less making his first start beyond 6.5 furlongs. However, he drilled a bullet for this outing and retains Shaun Bridgmohan.

The play: $2 trifecta box 1/7/8, $3 exacta 7/1,8, $1 exacta 1/7,8 ($20)

DFJ analysis: We’ll head to Aqueduct for a confident addition to the stable this Friday. Jose Lezcano rides in five races and has a good shot at a victory in each. All his calls are 5-1 or less on the morning-line, including heavy favorite Spring Drama (Even) in Race 3, and Sower (5-1) in the Interborough Stakes.

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