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MARTY JONES

with Kostroma in 1991 and his grandfather won with Sabina Louise in 1963 and Manta in 1969. During the past decade, Marty is best known for developing three Californiabreds – Alphabet Kisses, Bilo and Unzip Me – from scratch into major stakes winners. Alphabet Kisses, a gray/roan female owned and bred by John Harris, won the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita in 2004 and the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park in 2005 during a career in which she won seven of 17 starts and earned $590,271. Jones’s kid-gloves treatment with Bilo enabled him to score one of his most gratifying wins, in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap with the gelding as a seven-yearold on July 7, 2007 – 7/7/07 – at Hollywood Park. “Bilo came back from several setbacks and raced until he was ten,” said Marty of the horse who won seven of 19 starts and earned $535,236 under his care. “He’s our barn pony now. He gets treated like a king.” Unzip Me is the current star of the barn, a five-year-old chestnut mare with 11 victories in 19 starts and earnings of $724,803 at midyear. “She’s the big shot around here now,” said Marty affectionately of the turf sprint specialist who has won seven stakes, four of them graded, and finished a game third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in November. “She really blossomed when we put her on the grass,” said Marty of Unzip Me’s career since her sixth start. “I was really proud of her in the Breeders’ Cup. She got shuffled back early and came running at the end.” Marty has been challenged mapping a 2011 campaign for the mare, co-owned by breeders Harris and Don Valpredo in partnership with Per Antonsen. “She came out of [the Las Cienegas Handicap in April] with a little respiratory infection, and there was a good time after that for a little freshener,” said Marty, exploring future turf sprint options. Marty has quietly strung together seven straight years with more than $1-million in purse earnings, topped by a career-high $1.8-million in 2010. “I couldn’t be more proud of him,” said Gary, 67. “He’s a hard worker. He’s done wonders with a bunch of Cal-breds.” Gary did not push his son to follow in his footsteps. “He had the talent right from the get-go with a horse,” said Gary. “He was about the orneriest kid, a prankster always playing tricks on everybody. I told him I would pay for him to go to college, but he did about the same thing I did with my dad.” Gary discussed the shifting sands of the Southern California racing circuit during the past half century, from the time his father started with only three meets that ended

Bilo raced until he was ten and won the Triple Bend Handicap

Unzip Me is the current star of Marty Jones’ barn with earnings of more than $700,000

with Del Mar to the demands of a yearround circuit that his son is dealing with today. Farrell was an old-school trainer who did not give his son preferential treatment when he learned the ropes under him. “I thought my first name was dummy until I checked my first driver’s license,” Gary once joked. But Gary installed a different philosophy when he went on his own, too. “My approach was like Charlie Whittingham – I watched the way he came up to the big races,” said Gary, who won a batch of major stakes. “Marty is doing it differently than either of us,” said Gary. “We both wanted to be leading trainer and we both had heart attacks at 52. “He’s a lot more patient than I was,” concluded Gary. “He gets it from his mother [Joan]. It should help him for the long run.” Martel Castaneda, the former groom for Gary who has risen to chief assistant for Marty, has seen their differing methods. “Marty is more laid back, not as tough on the horse,” said Castaneda. “Gary believed in winning early. I remember he once ran ten

first-time starters, and eight of them won. “Marty lets them develop,” continued Castaneda. “Marty does not have as high a winning percentage with first-time starters, but it goes way up with second-time starters.” Photographs that line the walls of Marty’s stable office trace the evolution of the family. One shows a 1975 day at Oak Tree with groom Vicente Castaneda in the forefront during a four-win afternoon for the stable as Farrell was turning the reins over to Gary. Another is of Best Pal winning the 1993 Hollywood Gold Cup for Gary when Marty was an assistant. The others are some of Marty’s stakes winners: Auriette, Alphabet Kisses, Bilo and Unzip Me joined by Compari, El Don, Scholars Studio and Sharekann in a growing lineup. Marty looks forward to another Del Mar meet, not only to see more of his father, but also to win some more races. “In general, it’s a tough meet,” said Marty. “It’s a short competitive meet. You’ve got to bring your A game to Del Mar.” Marty’s report card should meet that requirement. n

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North American Trainer - Summer 2011 - Issue 21  
North American Trainer - Summer 2011 - Issue 21