Thursday, May 17, 2007

Will Street Sense Win Preakness

Larry Jones, trademark Stetson in place, led the best horse he has trained off a van and into the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course yesterday, took two laps around the shedrow and introduced the Kentucky Derby runner-up to the stall in which he will await the chance to turn the tables on Street Sense in Saturday's 132nd Preakness.

"Easy haulin'," the one-time Kentucky farmer said after the 90-minute ride from Delaware Park, where his stable is based. Ten days after a grueling 10 furlongs at Churchill Downs, there was spring to Hard Spun's step as he surveyed the unfamiliar terrain. "Don't even need a bath," Jones said.

The 50-year-old Jones, who came into racing as owner of a horse he bought out of a $2,000 claiming race in 1980 and eventually gave up commercial farming to launch a training career, was largely unknown outside Kentucky before Hard Spun. Until moving to Delaware last year, he raced primarily in Kentucky and Arkansas, where he gained a reputation for finding inexpensive yearlings at auction and developing them into productive racehorses and for his unconventional approach to training. Hard Spun is an example.

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