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Junebugred closes late to win Smarty Jones S.


Monday, January 16, 2012 |
Corinthian's 3-year-old colt Junebugred worked his way past the front-runners in the stretch to capture the $100,000 Smarty Jones S. Jan. 16 at Oaklawn Park in just his third career start and first in a stakes.

Corinthian thus became the first Kentucky stallion in his crop to sire two $100,000 stakes winners on the dirt, following Hunt Crossing's victory last season in the $130,000 NATC Futurity. Corinthian, who will stand the 2012 season at Gainesway for $17,500 LFS&N, finished last year ranked third among all North American freshman sires by worldwide earnings, with over $1,000,000 in progeny earnings.

Junebugred came into the Smarty Jones off a maiden win at Aqueduct in late November. After a little trouble at the start, Junebugred settled in fifth down the backstretch. Jockey Joe Bravo had his mount under a tight hold until midway on the final turn, then made his way around and inside the frontrunners to surge to the front inside the final furlong. The winner held on bravely to the wire to get the mile in 1:38.45.

The Smarty Jones is the first race of Oaklawn's lucrative 3-year-old series leading to the Triple Crown, which wasn't lost on winning trainer Steve Hobby. “We're here. You always have to look around, but we will see how it is, but unless something were to make me look elsewhere, I imagine we will look at the races here.”  

Junebugred is now 2-for-3 lifetime and has earned $95,400 for owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. The couple bought the colt, who was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway, from the farm's consignment at the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale.