You don't need stopwatches or tip sheets to tell how confident
trainer Larry Jones feels after his stable stars worked earlier this
week at Oaklawn Park. The important tool he was using Wednesday morning
were hair clippers on his trusted pony Pal.
"We just got him back from his winter break and he needed a shave,"
said Jones. "He's my Derby pony, and we can't go up to Louisville
Jones admits he's probably not going to get into the Kentucky Derby
(G1) this year, but he appears fully loaded for several other major
races both here and at Churchill Downs, including the Kentucky Oaks
(G1), where two 3-year-old fillies he trains, Joyful Victory and Summer
Soiree, continue to progress toward that goal in Saturday's $125,000
Honeybee Stakes (G3).
Joyful Victory, who races for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm, will enter
her first race of the year off a bullet workout posted Monday morning
when she covered five furlongs in 58 4/5. She will bid to give the Jones
Family their fourth straight Honeybee victory and help Porter win the
race for the second time after scoring in 2008 with eventual Derby
runner-up Eight Belles. Jones also won the race in 2009 with Just Jenda,
while his wife, Cindy, won last year with No Such Word. Joyful Victory
has been training at Oaklawn throughout the winter after capping her
2-year-old season with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup
Juvenile Fillies (G1) in November.