2022 Smarty Jones Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

— By James Scully (TwinSpires.com)

1. Dash Attack (12-1) – Overlooked at 10-1 odds in his first start, Dash Attack rallied to prevail by about a length on the opening weekend of the Oaklawn Park meet. The chestnut colt will jump straight to a Road the Kentucky Derby series qualifier for Kenny McPeek. By Munnings, sire of Grade 1 winners Eda, Jack Christopher, and Kimari in 2021, Dash Attack registered commendable Brisnet Speed (87) and Late Pace (92) numbers breaking his maiden at today’s one-mile distance. He will have to overcome a tricky rail post, and spot seasoning to rivals, but the youngster rates as intriguing following an encouraging career debut.

2. All in Sync (8-1) – Did not disappoint as the favorite the second time out, recording a 1 1/2-length, frontrunning maiden special tally over a sloppy Churchill Downs track in late November. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trains the $310,000 son of Maclean’s Music, and All in Sync finished a commendable second when making his initial outing on a fast track at Keeneland. Both starts came at six furlongs, and the dark bay colt must stretch out to a two-turn mile here. His Brisnet Speed and Pace numbers are solid, and All in Sync will be a pace factor from the start under Ricardo Santana Jr.

3. Home Brew (3-1) – By virtue of a 3 3/4-length allowance score at Oaklawn four weeks ago, Home Brew appears likely to go favored for Brad Cox. The Street Sense colt was transferred to Cox after rallying to break his maiden going away at Laurel Park in his first outing, and the bay closed from just off the pace to narrowly miss against allowance foes at Churchill Downs for the new barn. A half-brother to Grade 2-winning sprinter Air Strike, Home Brew changed tactics last time, easily leading wire to wire, and his versatility is an asset. He’s a major player with Florent Geroux.

4. Kavod (5-1) – After being claimed for $50,000 from a three-length win at Churchill Downs, Kavod came back to win the six-furlong Advent S. by a length on Oaklawn’s opening-day program 13 days later. The Lea colt had raced in five consecutive stakes, recording four straight unplaced efforts, before dropping into the claiming ranks, and the chestnut has turned things around. His pedigree suggests the added ground will be no issue, but this will be Kavod’s first two-turn attempt in 10 starts. Francisco Arrieta will be back up on the stalker for Chris Hartman.

5. Ignitis (15-1) – A rousing five-length maiden scorer at Keeneland two starts back, Ignitis must show more after trailing among six runners in the Nov. 27 Lively Shively S. at Churchill Downs. The dark bay colt showed good speed in his first four outings, but the son of Nyquist has become more of a stalker in the last two outings. Third to subsequent Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Rattle N Roll when stretching out to a route two starts back, Ignitis will stretch back out to two turns Saturday for legendary Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas.

6. Bureau (12-1) – Following an eye-catching maiden romp at Remington Park, Bureau steps up significantly for his stakes debut. He wasn’t much of a factor in his first start, closing belatedly for fourth, and the Illinois-bred colt registered only a 79 Brisnet Speed rating breaking his maiden last time. He’ll need to run faster here. From the first crop of Mastery, the Ron Moquett-trained chestnut retains the services of David Cabrera.

7. Ruggs (10-1) – The second of two for Ron Moquett, Ruggs will add blinkers after weakening slightly to fourth in the Dec. 3 Advent S. at Oalawn Park. The Gun Runner colt, a $170,000 two-year-old purchase, rolled to a three-length win when debuting as the favorite in a Remington Park maiden special weight in mid-November, and the chestnut improved his Brisnet Speed ratings last time (82). Out of a Grade 3-winning dam, Ruggs appear capable of handling the added ground, but he will need to keep improving to offer a serious challenge. He should be prominent from the start with Julien Leparoux.

8. Vivar (8-1) – Following a sixth in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) at Churchill Downs, Vivar will make his second stakes attempt for Brad Cox. The gray son of Cairo Prince started his racing career on turf, breaking his maiden as an odds-on favorite at Kentucky Downs the second time out, and he captured an off-the-turf allowance at Keeneland when switching to the main track two starts back. Vivar was never a factor at 26-1 odds last time, but the closer did register a triple-digit Brisnet Late Pace rating two starts back. The gray sophomore will look to make an impact from off the pace with Martin Garcia.

9. Don’tcrossthedevil (10-1) – Perfect from two starts at Remington Park, Don’tcrossthedevil will make his stakes debut for new trainer Phil D’Amato after a private purchase. The Cross Traffic colt has done everything right so far, easily breaking his maiden prior to a six-length allowance score in late November, and the bay Kentucky-bred displayed a sharp turn of foot both times. Don’tcrossthedevil didn’t appear to beat much, and faces a significant class check on Saturday, but he merits consideration for at least a minor award after earning a respectable 86 Brisnet Speed rating.

10. Barber Road (4-1) – After just missing in the Nov. 27 Lively Shively S. at Churchill Downs, Barber Road rates as a top contender. The gray colt convincingly broke his maiden the second time out at Keeneland, dropping to the claiming ranks and stretching out to a route, and followed with a 6 1/4-length romp over starter allowance foes in a Churchill Downs sprint. The son of Race Day contested the pace from the start of the 6 1/2-furlong Lively Shively, grudgingly giving way by a half-length on the wire, and Barber Road will show speed in the Smarty Jones. Reylu Gutierrez, who won a pair of stakes at Fair Grounds last Sunday, will be up for John Ortiz.

11. Cairama (8-1) – Third in the Dec. 3 Advent at Oaklawn Park, Cairama will make his third straight stakes appearance for Steve Asmussen. The gray Cairo Prince colt, a $525,000 two-year-old purchase, won at first asking in a Belmont Park sprint in mid-November, leading wire to wire. He wasn’t a factor trying stakes foes in the Nashua S. (G3) next out, checking in a well-beaten fifth, and Cairama came up short after looming large at the top of the stretch in the Advent. Geovanni Franco picks up the mount for his first two-turn start.

12. Cool Papa G (6-1) – Rounding out a trio of Steve Asmussen runners, Cool Papa G exits a belated third in the 6 1/2-furlong Lively Shively S. at Churchill Downs. He was vanned off afterward, but shows three workouts in the 35-day interim. A debut winner at five furlongs in early June, the bay colt returned from a near four-month freshening to finish a well-beaten third in a Keeneland allowance. His Brisnet Speed numbers are solid, but the son of Maclean’s Music will stretch out to two turns with a sprint-oriented pedigree. Ramon Vasquez rides.

13. Immoral (20-1) – A gelding by Into Mischief, who has led all North American sires by progeny earnings for three consecutive years (2019-21), Immoral faces an imposing task after rallying to break his maiden in his career debut at Charles Town. The bay received only a 72 Brisnet Speed rating for the three-length decision, and he comes back from a 51-day freshening for new trainer Michael Puhlich.

14. Ben Diesel (5-1) – Marooned on the far outside, Ben Diesel looms as a serious contender if he can overcome the difficult post. The Dallas Stewart trainee rolled to a 3 1/4-length decision when making his career debut in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Churchill Downs in late October, and the Will Take Charge colt showed good speed when following with a fine fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) a month later. A full brother to Will’s Secret, who captured the Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn and finished third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) last spring, Ben Diesel is eligible to appreciate the class relief here. Jon Court will try to avoid going too wide on the first turn.