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Believe You Can Fantastic in New Orleans Ladies

Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can, away alertly and quickly in command, made the pace and increased the margin while galloping out in the late stages to a 5 3/4-length win in Saturday’s fourth running of the listed $150,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

As the odds-on choice of the fans, many of whom watched her parlay her Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks score to another in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks last season, Believe You Can returned mutuels of $2.10, $2.10 and $2.10, again. The daughter of Proud Citizen set early fractions of 24.76 and 48.72 before accomplishing the final 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:44.48.

She increased her earnings to $1,239,484 with her eighth win in 12 career starts.

“Our main objective with her this year is the (Grade I) Breeders’ Cup (Ladies Classic),” said trainer Larry Jones after the race. “We want to get her on a championship kick. We missed it last year when she went off form during the summer and we had to stop on her. We won’t get aggressive with her until later in the summer but in the meantime a race like the (Grade II) La Troienne at Churchill might be a next logical spot for her. She loves Churchill and we know (Fox Hill Farms’) Joyful Victory does not, and we want to keep them apart for as long as we can.

“I can’t wait until she’s running in a graded stake and we can see how good she’s going to be for her 4-year-old year,” said winning rider Rosie Napravnik. “She’s done everything right this year and, in both races, I wrapped up in the last sixteenth, but she did it even easier this time.”

Coffeepot Stables’ Imposing Grace rallied late to be second-best in the New Orleans Ladies, paying $3 and $2.10 while finishing seven lengths in front of Brereton Jones’s Young and Lovely, who returned $2.60 to show.

DELAUNAY DOES IT AGAIN IN SATURDAY’S $150,000 DUNCAN F. KENNER STAKES

Maggi Moss’s Delaunay completed his sweep of the three major sprint stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots with a 4 1/2-length tally in Saturday’s listed $150,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes.

After being settled just behind the early pacesetter Amanecer de Oro, owned by Northpointe Thoroughbreds, Delaunay took command leaving the backstretch, gradually increased the margin while kept to pressure by winning rider Rosie Napravnik and won with something left.

As the odds-on choice of the fans based on his earlier wins in Fair Grounds’ Thanksgiving Handicap and F.W. Gaudin Memorial, Delaunay returned mutuels of $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 and toured the six furlongs in 1:08.36 – a tick off the track record following early fractions of 21.68 and 44.48.

The Tom Amoss trainee increased his career earnings to $539,455 with his 13th victory from 38 career starts.

“He does it all by himself,” said Amoss said after the race. “He’s a very laid-back kind of guy and I feel very fortunate to have him.”

What might be next for the 6-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding?

“Sleep well tonight and take another look at him in the morning,” Amoss said.

Delaunay’s final time was the fastest six-furlong time of the meet and the fastest six-furlong time at Fair Grounds since Mountain General’s track-record-setting 1:08.03 in the 2002 Thanksgiving Handicap.

“I’m not big on time,” Amoss said. “I’ll say this in defense of his time – he broke a little flat-footed today and that’s not him. I think if he breaks on his toes today maybe it would’ve been a little bit quicker. That field today was very good. Gantry is a great sprinter and we’ve gotten the best of him this whole meet. I think that tells you what kind of horse Delaunay is.”

Napravnik was similarly pleased.

“He is a very cool horse,” she said. “He is just very responsive and will do whatever you ask him to do and he just tries his heart out every time.”

Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry, the defending Kenner champion, was closer to the pace on Saturday than in his recent races, continued willingly late to be clearly second best, paying $2.80 and $2.10 while finishing 2 3/4-lengths in front of Michael Maker’s Ghost Is Clear, who returned $2.40 for the show position.


 

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