Son of Smarty Jones Tops Field for Saturday’s PA Nursery
A field of ten Pennsylvania-bred two year-olds will enter the gate this Saturday in hopes of capturing the most important juvenile race in the Commonwealth, the $100,000 seven furlong Pennsylvania Nursery. It’s been eleven years now since a young colt named Smarty Jones burst into the national spotlight with an eye catching and overwhelming win in this race in 2003, and Saturday, one of his progeny has a major chance to be the first of his offspring to win the prestigious race.Sporting the same blue and white colors of the Someday Farm that Smarty carried to victory will be a promising colt named Nasa. Opening as 5-2 morning line favorite, he debuted on September 6th for trainer John Servis in a five furlong state-bred special weight and despite a wide trip, rallied well to finish second behind a rival he’ll see again Saturday named Flagndini. He came back three weeks later here at Parx and dominated a group of eleven in an open special weight, winning by better than nine lengths at the same seven furlong distance he’ll race in the Nursery. After sitting out for nearly two months following his maiden breaker, he prepped for this race on November 16th in the $75,000 Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes and despite a third place finish as a heavy favorite, he did close well in what appeared to be a very useful prep. Kendrick Carmouche has been named to ride.
The aforementioned Flagndini, who opens at 7-2 racing for Bill Hartwell, is expected to be a major factor as well. The gelded son of Bandini debuted alongside Nasa in September and was terrific for current leading trainer Ramon Preciado. After pressing the pace early, he took command rounding the far turn and drew away to a thoroughly convincing five and three-quarter length win. He has not raced since. It will be interesting to see how the added experience gained by Nasa and the extra distance in the Nursery factor into the outcome on Saturday. Roberto Alvarado gets the mount.
Third choice in the morning line is Cash is King’s Awesome Alex (9-2). While the Afleet Alex colt has yet to win in four starts, he’s shown the ability and style that could prove very dangerous. He’ll turn back is distance for trainer Butch Reid after three consecutive starts at a mile or better having been beaten by only a neck in two of those three races. He should be able to fashion a good trip under soon-to-be jockey champion Frankie Pennington and it would not a surprise if he’s able to garner his first win in the Pennsylvania Nursery.