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Big workouts have Larry Jones excited

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 looking shaggy."

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.

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