Reigning Horse of the Year
Havre de Grace will make her long awaited 2012 debut Saturday at
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots when she goes to the post as the
prohibitive favorite in the
$150,000 New Orleans Ladies, becoming the second Horse of the Year in the last three seasons
to use that Crescent City stakes test for older fillies and mares for her return to competition.
de Grace, who has breezed six times at
Fair Grounds since February 10 in preparation for her return, has
accomplished all those moves impressively, never being asked for much
but twice being timed in the fastest work of the morning at the
The 5-year-old bay mare, owned by Rick Porter’s
Fox Hill Farms and trained by Larry Jones, has been away from competition since finishing fourth against male rivals in the
Breeders’ Cup Classic last Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. She was bumped
during the running of the Classic but was only beaten three lengths for
the win despite that troubled trip. Earlier last fall she had beaten
male rivals in
Grade I Woodward, and her victories against members of her own sex last year included wins in
Grade I Beldame and Oaklawn’s Grade I Apple Blossom.
Defending Eclipse Award-winning jockey
Ramon Dominguez, Havre de Grace’s regular rider, will journey to
New Orleans for the mount
Saturday on Havre de Grace, who has been installed as the 1-5 morning line favorite for the New Orleans Ladies.
Havre de Grace will be facing four rivals,
with her most serious challenge expected to come from William and Graydon Patterson’s
Juanita, a daughter of
Mineshaft who was third in Fair Grounds’ $75,000 Tiffany Lass last time
and runner-up in the $75,000 Marie Krantz Memorial here before that.
Mike Maker, Juanita will be ridden by Fair Grounds’ defending rider champion and current leading rider
Rosie Napravnik and has been pegged at 5-1 in the early line for the New Orleans Ladies.
Paul and Andrena Van Doren’s
Sterling Madame will be the
119-pound high weight in the New Orleans Ladies field and has been
slated at 8-1 in Fair Grounds’ richest test of the season for older
members of the distaff set. The homebred, conditioned
by nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion
Tom Amoss, will be ridden by James Graham,
currently second in Fair Grounds rider standings. The 4-year-old filly
is undefeated at Fair Ground this season, winning her two local starts
by a total of eight lengths.
A D K Racing’s
Distorted Love, a 6-year-old mare trained by
Helen Pitts-Blasi who finished fourth in the Tiffany Lass, will be ridden by
Richard Eramia and is 12-1 in the morning line, and David and Sarah Schwartz’s
Annabel Lee, a supplemented shipper trained by her owner with
John Jacinto up is pegged at 30-1.