Hidden Brook Yearling Grad Cleon Jones Scores In Rich New York Stake

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A change in distance resulted in a change of fortune for Hidden Brook Farm sales grad Cleon Jones in the $145,000 Bertram F. Bongard Stakes for New York-bred Juveniles September 10 at Belmont Park.

A beaten second behind City Man in the 6 1/2-furlong Funny Cide Stakes Aug. 23 at Saratoga Race Course, he improved over the seven-furlong distance of the Bongard, edging pacesetter Three Jokers and City Man in a three-horse stretch battle.

More forwardly placed than he had been in the Funny Cide and two earlier races, Cleon Jones tracked fractions of :23.16 and :46.71 set by Three Jokers while sitting three wide in fourth, a few lengths off the pace. He remained in that position through the turn before gathering momentum in the stretch, passing three horses in the final furlong to win by a head. 

"He was responding very well every time I asked him," winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said. "He was coming, so I just kept riding him hard, and he got there on time."

In notching his first stakes victory in his fourth start, Cleon Jones finished in 1:22.88 and paid $15.60 to win as the second-highest price in the field of five. 

Three Jokers, who received mild pace pressure from slow-starting Moonachie, was stubborn in defeat, lasting for second by a nose over third-place City Man, the even-money favorite who surged into contention between horses down the lane. Moonachie and a distant Theitalianamerican, the race's lone maiden, rounded out the order of finish.

A 2-year-old son of Tale of the Cat out of the winning Quiet American mare Whispering, Cleon Jones was raised at Hidden Brook Farm for John Crown before being offered by Hidden Brook at last year's Fasig-Tipton New York Bred yearling auction. He was later purchased for $325,000 by Gold Square at the Ocala Breeders' Sales March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale from the consignment of Eddie Woods. He is trained by Jeremiah Englehart, who also saddled Moonachie.

Among the others raised for Mr. Crow Hidden Brook is Fifty Five, winner of the John Hettinger Stakes at Belmont Park two days later.

"He was such a good-looking colt" at the sale, Englehart said of Cleon Jones. "Tale of the Cat is getting a little long in the tooth, but Eddie Woods does such a nice job with his babies. He was one that looked the part. He had a nice, strong hind end to him, and I thought he'd be a nice racehorse. It seems like the longer the better for him, which is kind of surprising."

A two-time winner, Cleon Jones increased his earnings to $167,880 with the $82,500 first-place share of the purse.

-edited from www.bloodhorse.com