January 27, 2023

Pavel a decisive winner of the Smarty Jones

Pavel is one of the leading older horses for 2018 but will first try to add the Malibu to his burgeoning resume (Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Trainer Doug O’Neill has another exciting three-year-old prospect for major races this fall in Pavel, who walloped five opponents on Labor Day in the $300,000 Smarty Jones (G3) at Parx Racing.

Stablemate to three-time graded winner and recent Travers (G1) third-place finisher Irap, Pavel has the look of a serious racehorse himself after the 1 1/16-mile Smarty Jones, an ostensible tune-up for the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G1) on September 23 for which Irap is being pointed.

Under Mario Gutierrez, Pavel was no more than three lengths off a pace of :24.29, :47.84, and 1:11.20 set by Colonelsdarktemper. Making a three-wide bid between rivals approaching the quarter pole, Pavel opened up easily in upper stretch and won virtually eased up by six lengths in a time of 1:42.27.

Owned by J. Paul Reddam, Pavel paid $9.80 as the third choice. Talk Logistics, a 10-1 chanced, finished second by a length over Colonelsdarktemper. Bonus Points, 13-10 favorite Battalion Runner, and Hence rounded out the order of finish.

This was only the third career start for Pavel, who debuted in a July 1 maiden at Santa Anita going six furlongs. Victorious by 4 1/2 lengths there, he was ambitiously entered in the July 29 Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga, which featured Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and Preakness (G1) hero Cloud Computing.

Sent off at 8-1 in the Jim Dandy, Pavel outran expectations and performed admirably given his relative lack of experience. While no threat to 4 3/4-length winner Good Samaritan, he finished fourth, beaten only a head by Always Dreaming for third, with Cloud Computing behind him in fifth.

A $90,000 Keeneland November weanling buy, Pavel was bred in Kentucky by Brereton Jones and WinStar Farm. He’s a gray by Creative Cause and out of Mons Venus, a Maria’s Mon mare that has already produced multiple Grade 2 winner Caracortado and Grade 2-placed stakes winner He’ll Pay.

Pavel now has career earnings of $242,400.