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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Racing At The Jersey Shore

Revisit: Is Havre De Grace the Best Horse Larry Jones Has Trained?

Back in July, before the Delaware Handicap, we had a lively discussion:  “Is Havre De Grace the Best Larry Jones Trained Horse Ever?”  I think it is time to revisit that question.
Just before the Woodward Stakes Larry Jones talked about Havre De Grace with Steve Byk on his satellite radio show, “At the Races”.  Jones said,” People want to know why I think she is the best horse I have ever trained.  It is because she doesn’t have a weak link.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and she just doesn’t have anything that stands out as a hole.  She travels well.  She eats well.  She is very durable.  She doesn’t have to have any particular pace scenario. She’s a very good individual.”
Jones also compared Havre De Grace to another one of his great fillies, “Proud Spell was very special, but we felt like that there were some things that she needed to have going her way. And I think this mare (HDG) can kind of make things happen her way.”
In July, I put great value on winning an Eclipse Award, the highest honor in thoroughbred racing. So, Proud Spell was my number one ranked Larry Jones horse, followed by Kodiak Kowboy. Thus far, those are Jones’ only winners of that honor. In third was Hard Spun and the Top 5 ended with Havre De Grace and Eight Belles.

Since then, of course, Havre De Grace won the Woodward duplicating what Rachel Alexandra did in 2009. (The race replay is posted on the HRN homepage.) In the process she earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure while winning for the fourth time in five starts this year and notching her second grade one of 2011.  Of course her only loss came to Blind Luck in the Delaware Handicap on July 16th.
Is Havre De Grace on the way to winning a Horse of the Year award?  Jones and owner Rick Porter have made that their goal.  Their plan was explained by Jones, “This (winning the Woodward) does not say, ‘O.K., you’re going to be Horse of the Year, but it at least gives her the opportunity to get up there.  If she was to go win now either the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic or the Classic, you’ve got to say she’s done enough the rest of the year, you’ve got to consider her.’ ”
I agree with Larry Jones when he says that a win in the Breeders’ Cup will give Havre De Grace an Eclipse Award. Does Blind Luck need to be in that BC race in order to get the Horse of the Year award? 
Is the victory in the Woodward enough to give Havre De Grace the distinction of the best horse J. Larry Jones has ever trained?  Give us your thoughts as we revisit this debate. 


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Older Comments about Revisit: Is Havre De Grace the Best Horse Larry Jones Has Trained?...

NYC, There is no place like it in the world. If you can't get it there it doesn't exist. The rest of the East Coast might be pleasantly surprising to you, it has a lot. Then again so does the West Coast. I joke around a lot but America is a great country to live in and I have traveled and lived in other countries. Our medicine, hospitals, universities are the best I've seen.
I think we all agree that a rematch between HDG and BL would be the best way to end this year!
lol icyhot......the east is the least.
@CraigBradshaw: Haven't you ever heard the old wise saying, "come East young man, come East."
...don't get caught up in all the east coast hyperbole just yet.
Ok Ill give you the benefit of the doubt . Very Good but I believe she has greatness in her future.
at this point, grace is a very good horse. when she goes to the breeders cup and wins the respective race that she is entered in, then we can possibly start calling her great.
imho, no.
Does winning an Eclipse Award make a horse "great"?
I have to agree with HORSEFACE, sadly, in that great is an overused word. She is a very good horse, but I would not categorize her as great. And I am not blind. But we all have our opinions on what great is.
So you dont see any Greatness in HDG? 2nd Female to win a hundred year old G1? You are blind
Here we go with that word.....Great Horse.... she only won 2 g1 race's that not great that's just ok.... 2 me he never had a great horse she is just the best he ever trained..
Eclipse or not she has proven she is a great horse.
Are you all assuming that HDG will win an Eclipse Award? In your ranking does it matter whether she wins one?
Being we never got to see the full scale of Eight Belles, I would have to lean towards HDG.
i like HDg and Hard spun..Eight belles never got to fullfill her potential so its impossible to know.
Havre de Grace and Hard Spun are 1-2 in my book
Not sure where Blind Luck comes into this discussion. Jones has had some good ones. Island Sand, Proud Spell, Eight Belles, or Hard Spun, to name a few. The fact that he feels this might be the best in Havre De Grace, is a great testimony. I would lean toward Eight Belles, because I thought she would've went on to greater things, but, if Larry says it's Havre De Grace, I believe he knows better than anyone. I will side with him, if they do ever meet again, as Andy suggested.
I sure hope BL and HDG get to meet in one of the Breeders Cup Classics.

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Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.


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