J. Larry Jones
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J. Larry Jones (born September 2, 1956 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky) is an American Thoroughbred horse racing trainer. A former commercial farmer, he embarked on a career as a professional trainer in 1982.
Jones trained at principally at Ellis Park Racecourse in Henderson, Kentucky, and at Oaklawn Park Race Track in Hot Springs, Arkansas, before coming into national prominence in 2007 with the front-running bay colt Hard Spun. Hard Spun brought Jones into the spotlight with his runner-up finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Breeder's Cup Classic, as well as impressive victories in the Lane's End, King's Bishop, and Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes.
In 2008, Jones was again in the nation's spotlight, this time with the talented fillies Proud Spell and Eight Belles. He saddled Proud Spell to a decisive win over a sloppy track in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). (Proud Spell went on to win the Eclipse Award as top three-year-old filly that year, becoming Jones's first Eclipse Award winner.)
The day after the Kentucky Oaks, Jones saddled his other top filly, Eight Belles, to run in the Kentucky Derby. Following the race, Eight Belles, the first filly to run second in the Derby in over one hundred years, broke both front legs and was humanely euthanized on the track.
After Eight Belles' breakdown, Jones was accused of drugging the filly or running an unsound horse and received hate mail from people who felt that he was to blame for the tragedy. Tests done on Eight Belles proved she had run clean. In the summer, Jones announced that after one more year of training, he would retire, partially because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
In 2009, Jones had two top Kentucky Derby hopefuls in Old Fashioned and Friesan Fire. Old Fashioned won the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct in a romp and became the early favorite for the Derby. He also won the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park by open lengths before he was upset by Win Willy in the Rebel Stakes. In the Arkansas Derby, Old Fashioned finished second to Papa Clem and was retired after it was discovered the son of Unbridled's Song had slab-fractured his knee. Friesan Fire impressed on his way to the Derby, sweeping the Lecomte, Risen Star, and the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds in Louisiana.
In the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Friesan Fire was the favorite. He broke badly, was stepped on and bumped at the start of the race, suffered a bad trip, and faded to second-to-last place. Friesan Fire went on to run in the Preakness Stakes.
Other Jones-trained horses, such as Just Jenda (a stakes-winning filly owned by Larry's wife, Cindy), Solar Flare, Maren's Meadow, Payton D'Oro, Kodiak Kowboy, and It Happened Again, continued to compete that season.
On November 7, 2009, Jones retired, and his wife, Cindy, took over training duties at the barn. Jones became an assistant to Cindy and galloped horses in the mornings for her.
The Joneses are based at Delaware Park in Wilmington, Delaware, in the summer, and at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the winter. Their current barn stars include Just Jenda (2009 Monmouth Oaks winner), Payton D'Oro (2009 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes winner), and No Such Word (2010 Honeybee Stakes winner).
-  (Miscellaneous articles that chronicle Larry Jones's career as trainer)