HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) Mourinho led all the way in winning the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes by 3¼ lengths at Oaklawn, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a top Kentucky Derby prospect.
Ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, Mourinho ran a mile in 1:37.25 on Monday and paid $3.20 and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite. The 3-year-old colt earned 10 points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility with the win.
Combatant returned $2.40 to place and earned four points on the Derby leaderboard. There was no show wagering after the scratches of Lone Rock and Navistar reduced the field to five.
Tap Daddy was third, worth two points, and Bode’s Maker got one point for finishing fourth. Arched Feather was last.
“Bob said we’re the fastest horse in the race, so to get the lead and go from there,” said Van Dyke, a Hot Springs native based in Southern California. “That worked out well for us. Threw his ears up and just coasted home.”
Mourinho, a son of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, has two wins in four career starts and earnings of $154,360.
Baffert stayed home in California and had Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas saddle Mourinho for him.
“Who would have thought 37 years ago that Trump would be president and D. Wayne Lukas would be my assistant?” Baffert said by phone.
He was impressed with Mourinho, who wore blinkers to keep his attention focused.
“He broke well and was able to make the early lead. He looked like he had plenty left,” Baffert said. “It’s that time of year when you start to get excited.”