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Sunday Notes: Here Come the Jones Girls Again at Fair Grounds
By Graham Ross, Staff Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Sunday, January 6, 2013) – Last winter it was Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can who parlayed a win in the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks to another in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks a few weeks later for trainer Larry Jones. Five years ago it was that same owner’s Proud Spell who pulled off that same graded Oaks double for that same trainer.
However, it should be noted that Believe You Can kicked off her sophomore campaign with a score in Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes, first leg of the local series for 3-year-old fillies, and four years ago, in 2009, it was Just Jenda, owned by Larry’s wife and hardworking assistant trainer Cindy Jones who won the Silverbulletday Stakes.
Who does Larry Jones have in mind for this season’s upcoming Silverbulletday Stakes as part of Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Jan. 19? Could it be Bret Jones’s Dancinginthecircle, who Larry Jones vanned over to Delta Downs last Thursday to win Delta’s $100,000 By The Light Stakes by nine lengths on Friday night?
“It’s still a little early to think about that race until we see how quickly she bounces back from that win the other night,” Jones said of Dancinginthecircle, who finished third beaten a neck and a nose in Chicago’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie last September. “She ran a really big race the other night, and the Silverbulletday would only be a 15-day turn around. She’s a nice filly and there’s no need to rush her along right now.
“I am targeting the Silverbulletday for (Fox Hill Farms’) Smitten,” said Jones of his gray daughter of Tapit who broke her maiden at last asking going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds on Dec. 16. “I think she learned a lot in that last race. She’s starting to be more of a push-button type of horse now. In fact, she’s improving so fast lately that she’s starting to remind me of where (Fox Hill Farms’) Eight Belles wasat this point in her career.”
Eight Belles won Oaklawn’s Martha Washington, Honeybee and Fantasy stakes for Jones and finished second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby but suffered catastrophic injuries pulling up.
Meanwhile, Believe You Can is progressing nicely this winter, according to Jones, and at the present time is being pointed for Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes Feb. 2.
Brereton Jones’s Mark Valeski,winner of Belmont’s Grade II Peter Pan Stakes last spring after finishing second in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Louisiana Derby andGrade II Risen Star Stakes, worked five furlongs in 59.80 Sunday morning. Brereton Jones’s Mr. Bowling, winner of Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes last winter, was timed working the same distance in 1:01 flat Sunday morning. However, both of those works were compromised by a training-hours incident that occurred in front of them while they were working. Neither horse is being targeted for specific goals at this time, although the $100,000 Louisiana Handicap Jan. 19 is under some consideration for Mark Valeski.
GAL ABOUT TOWN GETS SUNDAY WORK FOR SILVERBULLETDAY STAKES – Iroquois Racing Club’s Gal About Town, most recently second by a half-length in Churchill’s Grade II Golden Rod Stakes Nov. 24, breezed six furlongs in 1:13.60 Sunday morning for trainer Bret Calhoun and is being pointed for Fair Grounds’ $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes Jan. 19 as the first leg of Fair Grounds’ three-race sophomore filly series that concludes with the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks March 30.
“Everything is good with her so far and she worked good today,” said Calhoun’s assistant trainer, Peaches Geier,later in the morning.
TOUR GUIDE TRAINING TO STRETCH OUT FOR LECOMTE STAKES JAN. 19 – Gary and Mary West’s Tour Guide, an accomplished sprinter who easily won Fair Grounds’ $60,000 Sugar Bowl Stakes at last asking Dec. 22 for trainer Bret Calhoun, breezed an easy mile in 1:44.40 Saturday morning and is now under strong consideration for Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes at one mile and 70 yards on Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Jan. 19.
“Basically, we just ‘two-minute licked’ him a mile to try and stretch him out a little,” said Calhoun’s assistant trainer, Peaches Geier, later in the morning. “This time of year if you’ve got a nice 3-year-old you want to stretch him out if you can.”
In the only two-turn race of his career to date, Tour Guide made the pace in Delaware Park’s $75,000 Dover Stakes last October but gave way steadily after going three-quarters to finish fifth beaten 13 lengths at the wire.