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Mr. Bowling Knocks Down Foes in Lecomte

Giving trainer Larry Jones his second victory in Saturday’s two stakes restricted to sophomores, Brereton Jones’s Mr. Bowling rallied from just behind the early leaders to gain the advantage in upper stretch and then withstood a late bid by Zayat Stables’ Z Dager and capture the 68th running of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes by a head on the New Orleans oval’s Road to the Derby Kickoff Day.

 

After winning Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies with Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can earlier in the afternoon, Jones saddled Mr. Bowling to win the Lecomte, first leg of Fair Grounds’ three-race series for sophomores with designs on a Triple Crown campaign later this spring. 

 

Jones, a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, flew briefly to Southern California Monday to accept 2011 Horse of the Year honors for Fox Hill Farm’s Havre de Grace, and the affable conditioner then put the icing on his banner week by winning his second Lecomte Stakes in three years and his third in the last five. Fox Hill Farm’s Hard Spun won the Lecomte in 2007 and then went on to run second in the Kentucky Derby that year. Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm’s Friesan Fire won the 2009 Lecomte and went on to sweep Fair Grounds’ other two legs in its three-race local series, winning the Grade II Risen Star Stakes in February before making it followed three straight in that year’s Grade II Louisiana Derby.

 

This winter’s Risen Star Stakes will be run on Feb. 25 as part of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby Preview Day program. The 99th running of the $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby will be contested on April 1, closing day of the Crescent City oval’s 2011-2012 84-day session.

 

“To be honest, we thought (Mr. Bowling) was just starting to get good,” Jones during the Lecomte winner’s circle ceremonies. “He’s maturing at the right time. He really showed an affinity for this track when we got down here. I can tell he liked it better than anywhere we’ve been to this point. He pretty well got himself ready. Having Believe You Can, they’ve been work mates. They got each other ready and it paid off.”

 

Winning rider Robby Albarado, a seven-time jockey champion at Fair Grounds in past seasons, made his move aboard Mr. Bowling in upper stretch, gaining a one-length lead at the furlong grounds and then holding the colt together late with strong urging.

 

“I figured if I could get him clear turning for home, and give him a chance to run home he would,” Albarado said. “When that horse (Z Dager) ran to him late, he gave me some second effort.”

 

Favored Z Dager, never far back, launched his bid in the final furlong to gain the runner-up spot by a half-length from Jerry Namy’s Shared Property. Z Dager paid $4.80 and $3.60, and Shared Property returned $3.80.

 

Photo: Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

 

 

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Older Comments about Mr. Bowling Knocks Down Foes in Lecomte...

Gotta love this sharp breeze he had: 01/09/2012 FG 5F :58.80 Dirt Fast B I'm a fan of workouts.
Game win, but I'm not convinced he'll make it to the Derby.
Thank you sir, and ... I hold my own ;-)
That marks another super selection by Zipse, which he touted multiple times. Wonder what his ROI is?

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