Jones's Forest Grove gutsy in L.A. Times
Aaron and Marie Jones's 4-year-old colt Forest Grove showed courage slipping through on the rail at the three-eighths pole and holding off rivals in the stretch to win his first graded stakes in the L.A. Times Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park on Saturday, May 14.
"He has guts, doesn't he?" said co-owner Marie Jones. "He just goes in there, nothing bothers him. Even in the paddock you could tell he was ready. He was concentrating, he knew what was going on. [Trainer Eoin Harty] had him fit for the race, he ran like we thought he would. He's coming around. He's gorgeous. It was exciting for all of us."
Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Forest Grove is by the Jones's stallion Forestry out of Batonnier mare Charm A Gendarme, and is a half brother to dual grade I winner Tout Charmont.
Jockey Corey Nakatani allowed the colt to relax in fourth position in the opening furlong and he joined the leaders entering the turn under no pressure. He took advantage on the rail and opened up a two-length lead at the top of the stretch, holding off a late rally by Areyoutalkintome to win by 3/4 of a length in a very fast time of 1:08.57.
Mrs. Jones was at Hollywood Park on Saturday and was delighted with her colt's victory. During the race, she was on the phone to her husband Aaron Jones, who watched from his San Marino home. "Watching that race made me feel ten years younger," he said.
Trainer Eoin Harty said that he would point the colt toward the Breeders' Cup Sprint. "This horse is getting better and better and he's starting to learn to relax in a race and the more he can do that, the better he will be," said Harty.