Caddo River (Hard Spun) made good on his 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy graduation at third asking with a facile first stakes score in Oaklawn's Smarty Jones S., good for 10 points on the Road to the GI Kentucky Derby.
Away well from his outside post, the 3-5 chalk seized the early advantage and clocked an unpressured opening quarter in :23.12 and a half in :47.16. Extending clear with ease on the backstretch run, the bay rolled home the easiest of winners under a hand ride from Florent Geroux.
Caddo River was second in his first two attempts at seven furlongs, debuting at Saratoga Sept. 5 and next out at Belmont Oct. 11. He took the field from gate to wire next out in a powerhouse performance going a mile at Churchill Nov. 15, romping by 9 1/2 lengths, defeating future Dania Beach S. winner Kentucky Pharoah (American Pharoah), among others.
“He broke very alertly,” Geroux said. “Very nice and relaxed. You want to see these type horses doing it the right way. It's easy to go to the lead and keep on going. You want them to relax and do everything right. He did everything perfect. The distance doesn't look like it's going to be a problem. Very excited about what's coming up ahead of us with him. Looks like he can run all day, which is a good problem. Hopefully, we can go on, go up the stepping stones and have a nice horse for the first Saturday in May.”
The victor, named for a river in Arkansas, has a 2-year-old half-sister by Into Mischief named Como Square and his thrice graded stakes-placed dam produced a Nyquist colt in 2020 before being bred back to Hard Spun. Second dam It's True Love was a SW as well and is responsible for recent GIII Allaire DuPont S. winner Eres Tu (Malibu Moon).
SMARTY JONES S., $150,000, Oaklawn, 1-22, 3yo, 1m, 1:38.19, ft.
1–CADDO RIVER, 115, c, 3, by Hard Spun
1st Dam: Pangburn (SW & MGSP, $338,480), by Congrats
2nd Dam: It's True Love, by Yes It's True
3rd Dam: Lovin Spoonful, by Dixieland Band
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. 'TDN Rising Star' O/B-Shortleaf Stable
(KY); T-Brad H. Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $90,000. Lifetime
Record: 4-2-2-0, $166,092.
2–Cowan, 115, c, 3, Kantharos–Tempers Flair, by Smart Strike.
($185,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP; $385,000 RNA 2yo '20 OBSMAR).
O-L. William & Corinne Heiligbrodt, Madaket Stables LLC &
Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $30,000.
3–Big Thorn, 117, c, 3, The Big Beast–Save a Rose, by Super
Saver. O/B-Alex & JoAnn Lieblong (FL); T-Steven M. Asmussen.
Margins: 10 1/4, 7 1/4, NK. Odds: 0.60, 2.40, 12.40.
Also Ran: Moonlite Strike, Martini Blu, Hardly Swayed, Lawlessness.