Trainer Larry Jones was all smiles during training hours at Fair Grounds Sunday morning – and that for at least two reasons.
Late Saturday afternoon, Jones saddled former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones’s
Mr. Bowling to register a tenacious head victory in Fair Grounds’
Grade III Lecomte Stakes in the centerpiece race of Fair Grounds’
Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone.
races earlier during the New Orleans oval’s expanded banner afternoon,
that same down-home western Kentucky-born conditioner with the constant
cowboy hat sent out that same former Kentucky governor’s Believe You Can to win the
$125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes – first significant stepping stone to the
Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks.
So now the Jones boys have early favorites for the
Grade II Louisiana Derby April 1 as well as its feminine counterpart for 3-year-old fillies
March 31, and in the interim, Mr. Bowling will be pointed for the
Grade II Risen Star Stakes on
Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 25 and Believe You Can will be directed to the
Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes that same afternoon at the
was a good day, that’s for sure,” said Jones Sunday – as always a
master of the understatement. “The Governor was also very happy
about the whole thing. He couldn’t make it down here yesterday, but
I’ve probably talked to him more on the phone yesterday and again this
morning more than we have in a long time. He’s still very excited about
how things went yesterday”
How did the trainer and his wife and chief assistant
Cindy Jones celebrate Saturday night?
my aunt and uncle are in town for a couple of days,” Jones said, “so
Cindy and I just went back to the apartment and then they came over
and brought us a sandwich,” Jones said. “That was our celebration.”
course, it has also been a good week for the Joneses. Last Monday
night, they were in Southern California attending the Eclipse Awards
when the Jones-trained Havre de Grace, owned by Fox Hill Farm, was named
2011 Horse of the Year, but by Tuesday they were back in New Orleans and then back at the barn before daylight Wednesday morning.
LECOMTE SECOND, THIRD-PLACE FINISHERS POINTING TO RISEN STAR
Nine-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Tom Amoss plans to point Jerry Namy’s
Shared Property, who finished third beaten less than a length in
Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes, toward the
Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 25, the conditioner confirmed Sunday.
thought (Shared Property) ran a really good race yesterday,” Amoss
said. “Obviously, we were at a disadvantage because of the outside post
(13), but we knew that before the race and we were pleased enough with
the way the colt ran that we’re going to look at the next race (the
$300,000 Risen Star) for him.
“We think he’s going to become a very nice horse for us,” Amoss said. “He hadn’t run in a long time before yesterday’s race, but
Leandro (Goncalves) and I have been working with him since I got him last summer and that race yesterday was just a first step for us.”
Ten-time Fair Grounds trainer champion
Steve Asmussen said about a half-hour after Saturday’s Lecomte that he would point Zayat Stables’
Z Dager, that race’s
runner-up, to the upcoming Risen Star Stakes, allowing the Louisiana
Derby Preview Day highlight to include a likely rematch of the Lecomte’s
first three finishers.
was that Eclipse Award-winning trainer’s response when asked if the
Risen Star was the expected next assignment for Z Dager, before
adding, “I think it was huge for his third race, coming out of a maiden
race, to run as well as he did.”