Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can, who parlayed a win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks to another in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks last spring for trainer Larry Jones, breezed five furlongs Monday in a bullet 59.20 in advance of Saturday’s $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes at the Crescent City oval.
“That was her last major prep,” Jones said while speaking in his tack room Wednesday morning during training hours. “Everything is done. Now all we have to do is hurry up and wait.
“Right now, we’re very happy with her,” Jones said of the 4-year-old daughter of Proud Citizen who has been away from competition since finishing third in the Grade I Mother Goose at Belmont last June. “The last few weeks she’s come along very nicely so things really couldn’t be going any better.”
Regular rider Rosie Napravnik, Fair Grounds’ two-time defending jockey champion, was aboard for Believe You Can’s Monday move and will be in the irons once again for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile test for older fillies and mares. Last May, Napravnik became the first female rider to win the Kentucky Oaks aboard this same filly. The Tiffany Lass serves as a preview of the listed $150,000 New Orleans Ladies five weeks later on March 9.
Last Saturday, Jones made a successful sojourn to Texas, hauling last year’s Tiffany Lass winner Joyful Victory to Sam Houston Park to saddle that Fox Hill Farms color-bearer for a 4 1/4-length tally in the inaugural running of the Houston Ladies Classic. Joyful Victory, also ridden by Napravnik, set a track record of 1:42.30 in the 1 1/16-mile affair. The previous track record had stood for 14 years.
“That was a very good night for us,” said Jones, who also took Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher Gray’s Icon Ike along to win the $75,000 Champion Energy Services Stakes earlier on the evening program. “I figured I might as well drive them up there myself. When I let them ride with me I always know how they got there.”
FAIR GROUNDS MEET LEADERS AT SEASON’S HALFWAY MARK
Last Saturday was the 42nd day of the 2012-2013 84-season at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and the season’s jockey and trainer standings for the halfway point of the meeting were established at the conclusion of the 12-race program.
Leading rider at the time with 51 wins was Fair Grounds two-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik, who was seven wins in front of jockey John Jacinto.
In third position with 39 wins was James Graham, who had five more victories than Miguel Mena, who was one in front of Shaun Bridgmohan and Richard Eramia.
Leading the trainer standings was nine-time Fair Grounds champion Tom Amoss with 20 wins, two more than Bret Calhoun, who had one more than Wes Hawley.
Ten-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Steve Asmussen and conditioner Larry Jones were tied for fourth position with 14 wins apiece.
The leading money-winner among the horses that have raced at Fair Grounds this season was Dale Ladner’s Sittin At the Bar, trained by Brett Brinkman, who had purse earnings of $123,369 based on her victories in both the Louisiana Champions Day Lassie and the Louisiana Futurity.
Charles Craig Smith’s String King, trained by Charlie Smith, was in second position with $121,000 garnered from wins in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf and Mr. Sulu Stakes, as well as a runner-up run in last weekend’s Grade III Col. E.R. Bradley Handicap.
Bluegrass Hall’s Oxbow, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, was in the third spot with $120,000 earned while winning the Grade III Lecomte Stakes.
Maggi Moss’s Delaunay, trained by Tom Amoss, had recorded earnings of $105,000 from his victories in the Thanksgiving Handicap and F.W. Gaudin Memorial.
Tied for fifth in purse earnings with $90,000 apiece, was James Miller’s Daisy Devine, trained by Andy McKeever, with wins in the Marie Krantz Memorial and Blushing K.D. handicaps, and Rebecca Farm and T. J. Dickey’s Heavy On Themister, trained by Shawn David, as the winner of the Louisiana Champions Day Classic.