Knights Key, the promising two-year-old colt profiled in a recent article here on The Turf Board (click here to read), is scheduled to make his next start in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes on January 20th at Oaklawn Park.
The one-mile race is an early prep race for the Kentucky Derby, offering 17 qualification points to the top four finishers. Trained by Steve Hobby, Knights Key won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on November 20th at Churchill Downs, and according to the Oaklawn Report for December 3rd, Hobby was impressed with the way that Knights Key won after getting off to a poor start.
“It was just bad timing. He just turned his head as the gates opened.” Hobby was quoted as saying. “He got a lot of education in one race. Joe [Rocco Jr., who was aboard Knights Key] did such a nice job that day of sitting and waiting, instead of chasing down the backside. It was amazing that a 2-year-old would do that – sit and wait. That was maybe the most impressive thing he did that day.”
In 2014, the Smarty Jones Stakes was won by Will Take Charge, who went on to secure victories in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II), Travers Stakes (gr. I), and Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) to win an Eclipse award as champion three-year-old male.
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