Last winter it was 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 a few weeks later for trainer Larry Jones. Four years ago it was that same owner’s Proud Spell who pulled off that same graded Oaks double for that same trainer.
However, it should be noted that Believe You Can kicked off her sophomore campaign with a score in Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, first leg of the local series for 3-year-old fillies, and four years ago, in 2009, it was Just Jenda, owned by Larry’s wife and hardworking assistant trainer Cindy Jones who won the Silverbulletday Stakes.
Who does Larry Jones have in mind for this season’s upcoming Silverbulletday Stakes as part of Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Jan. 19? Could it be Bret Jones’s Dancinginthecircle
, who Larry Jones vanned over to Delta Downs last Thursday to win Delta’s $100,000 By The Light Stakes by nine lengths on Friday night?
“It’s still a little early to think about that race until we see how quickly she bounces back from that win the other night,” Jones said of Dancinginthecircle, who finished third beaten a neck and a nose in Chicago’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie last September. “She ran a really big race the other night, and the Silverbulletday would only be a 15-day turn around. She’s a nice filly and there’s no need to rush her along right now.
“I am targeting the Silverbulletday for (Fox Hill Farms’) Smitten
,” said Jones of his gray daughter of Tapit who broke her maiden at last asking going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds on Dec. 16. “I think she learned a lot in that last race. She’s starting to be more of a push-button type of horse now. In fact, she’s improving so fast lately that she’s starting to remind me of where (Fox Hill Farms’) Eight Belles was at this point in her career.”
Eight Belles won Oaklawn’s Martha Washington, Honeybee and Fantasy stakes for Jones and finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby but suffered catastrophic injuries pulling up.
Meanwhile, Believe You Can is progressing nicely this winter, according to Jones, and at the present time is being pointed for Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes Feb. 2.
Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski
, winner of Belmont’s Grade II Peter Pan Stakes last spring after finishing second in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Louisiana Derby and Grade II Risen Star Stakes, worked five furlongs in 59.80 Sunday morning. Brereton Jones’s Mr. Bowling
, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes last winter, was timed working the same distance in 1:01 flat Sunday morning. However, both of those works were compromised by a training-hours incident that occurred in front of them while they were working. Neither horse is being targeted for specific goals at this time, although the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap Jan. 19 is under some consideration for Mark Valeski.