Trainer Larry Jones will saddle an imposing duo in Monday’s
Grade 1, $400,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap, with 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner
Believe You Can and
2013 Santa Margarita winner Joyful Victory shipping in from Kentucky to
take on four challengers in the 1 1/16-mile race at Belmont Park.
Believe You Can, who kicked off her 4-year-old season with a
pair of stakes victories at Fair Grounds Race Course in the Tiffany Lass
and New Orleans Ladies, most recently
was third after a troubled start in the Grade 2 La Troienne at
“It wasn’t [the poor start] that hurt her,” Jones explained.
“She can sit right off the lead, but they were going so slowly up front.
She needs to be able to use her
cruising speed, and she was using as much of her energy going that
slowly as she was if she would have been cruising out there.”
Owned by Brereton C. Jones, Believe You Can will have the
services of Hall of Famer John Velazquez in Monday’s race as she leaves
from post position 6 at 4-1 on the
morning line. Rosie Napravnik, who had ridden Believe You Can in her
last eight starts, has the call aboard her stablemate, Joyful Victory,
in the Phipps.
Second or third in five graded stakes appearances in 2012,
Joyful Victory captured the Houston Ladies Classic in January en route
to her first Grade 1 score in the March
16 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita Park. Napravnik was aboard the Fox
Hill Farm color-bearer for both 2013 victories.
“With Joyful Victory, I know one of them will be on the lead,”
said Jones. “A lot will depend on the break and the post positions, both
for us and for everyone else.
I think I have two of the best riders in the country. They’ll have to
do their jobs, and I’ll let them do their jobs.”
Joyful Victory, a 5-year-old daughter of Tapit, drew the rail
and was tabbed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite and 120-pound
Trainer Todd Pletcher has also entered a pair of runners, with
Disposablepleasure looking for her first Grade 1 win off a convincing
score in the Grade 3 Sixty Sails
Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course, and Authenticity exiting a head
victory in the La Troienne.
Disposablepleasure wired an optional claimer on March 17 at
Park en route to the Sixty Sails after a
winless 3-year-old season that included two runner-up finishes from
seven graded stakes starts.
“I don’t know if she’s matured, if the break helped her, [or] if
she’s just kind of put it all together as a 4-year-old,” Pletcher said.
“She ran some quality races
at two and three, but hopefully this is a sign that she’s become more
consistent. She’s had a couple of good races at
Belmont, so we’re hoping Monday she’ll have another one.”
Authenticity has two wins, a second, and a third since returning
to the races in January after more than a year on the sidelines. Prior
to the La Troienne, the 6-year-old
daughter of Quiet American was second in the Grade 3 Rampart, annexed a
Gulfstream optional claimer by 17 ½ lengths, and finished third at the
same condition to start the year.
“She’s had a really good three weeks since the La Troienne,”
said Pletcher. “Grade 1 opportunities don’t present themselves often and
she’s doing well, so I think we’re
going to go ahead and take a shot.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the call aboard Authenticity,
3-1, from post 3, while Javier Castellano will leave from post 5 on 6-1
Tiz Miz Sue, beaten a half-length in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom
Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 12, and Centring, most recently second
to Disposablepleasure at Gulfstream
on March 17, complete the field.