Fox Hill Farms’ Havre de Grace,
the leading candidate to be named Horse of the Year 11 days from now,
arrived at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots at 5:30 a.m. Thursday
after an overnight van ride
from the Vinery farm near Ocala, Fla.
“She’s just sleeping right now,” trainer
Larry Jones said a few
hours later during the daily renovation break. “We haven’t even had her
out walking. We just walked her right to her stall and let her sleep.
She looks good.”
5-year-old mare, Havre de Grace last raced in November’s $5 million
Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing fourth against several of the world’s
top older horses. She won five of seven starts in 2011, including a
victory against older males in
Saratoga’s Grade I Woodward.
confirmed earlier this week that the March 17 $100,000 New Orleans
Ladies was circled on the calendar for Havre de Grace’s 2012 debut.
However, the trainer said he has “no clue” as to when the three-time
Grade I winner might have her first official breeze over the Fair
been doing a little something with her,” Jones said, referring to the
staff at Vinery. “They jogged her for a couple weeks and then
they loped her for a week, and I think they’ve been Aquatreding her, as
well. It probably won’t take long to get her ready.”
Aquatred is an underwater treadmill that allows horses to exercise in a
controlled environment with minimal impact on the legs.
who personally exercises most of the horses in his barn, said Havre de
Grace will visit the Fair Grounds track most mornings either right
at the start of training hours at 6 a.m. or immediately after the
renovation break, which ends at 8:30 a.m.
Several Horse of the Year winners and contenders have spent part of the winter at Fair Grounds in recent seasons, including
Curlin (2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year), Rachel Alexandra (2009 Horse of the Year) and
Blame (2010 Champion Older Male and runner-up in Horse of the Year voting).