Home of the Louisiana Derby

BARN NOTES: February 5, 2016

  • ·        Jensen to Allowance, Possibly Louisiana Derby
  • ·        Shaken Promising on Debut, Allowance or Rachel Alexandra Next
  • ·        Majestic Harbor Tops Work Tab Wrap-Up



After years of preparing horses for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks for nationally heralded owners like Fox Hill Farm and Brereton C. Jones, trainer Larry Jones just might have his own colors in the gate on the first weekend in May. Jensen, an attractive homebred maternal grandson of one of Jones’ most talented pupils, Hard Spun, has been progressing well for the veteran conditioner, including a sharp second last out in a salty allowance on Sunday.

After debuting a good second going six furlongs to the well-regarded Bret Calhoun trainee Start a War, Jensen came back four weeks later to graduate with ease and professionalism by a 1½ lengths on Jan. 10. Wheeled back three weeks later in Sunday’s allowance, he stretched out from six panels to a mile and 70 yards well to be beaten only three-quarters of a length by Rachel Alexandra’s half-brother Dolphus (below), from connections of Dede McGehee and trainer Joe Sharp.

While his fourth career start has not be decided, the son of Haynesfield will tentatively be pointed toward Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ top race, the Grade II $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby on Mar. 26. Options for the interim include the Grade II $400,000 Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 20 and an allowance/optional claiming event on Feb. 25 – both at Fair Grounds.

“Right now everything seems good with him after the race,” Jones said. “Right now I would say that the race on the 25th might be better for him than the Risen Star. We have options.

“I thought his race was good,” he continued. “He definitely looked good at the wire. At one time he might even have been last in the stretch, but he came back running good once he shook out of there. I think he might have got a little intimidated turning for home, but it should have been a really good learning experience for the horse. 

“He came out of the race like he’ll move forward,” he concluded. “He galloped out well after the race and we feel like he’s setting good right now. We might come back in the allowance and then hopefully that’ll put us in the Louisiana Derby.”



Mark Stansell’s Shaken may not have been fully cranked for her debut on Jan. 30, but that didn’t stop the big daughter of Uncle Mo from a stirring effort to win under Brian Hernandez, Jr. Trained by leading conditioner Mike Stidham, Shaken settled well behind horses in fifth of seven sophomore fillies in the six-furlong maiden special weight event before launching a sustained bid at the top of the stretch and eventually getting the better of Stradivarius, a well-regarded and traffic-hindered half-sister to Eskendereya from the Al Stall, Jr., barn.

“She came out of the race really well,” Stidham said. “She looks good and has been back on the track. We liked her a lot in the mornings, but you never really know for sure until you get them out there (in a race). She handled it all very well and I loved how she sat back and made a run.

“She came to us and went through all her works without a setback,” Stidham continued. “I had the option of running her there or waiting for the next maiden special weight. What made her run even more impressive is that she only had a pair of half-mile works and a couple going five-eighths. She wasn’t tightened down completely as far as fitness, so that was an impressive effort that earned her a little more credit.”

Out of the Seattle Slew mare Seattle Shimmer, Shaken is a half-sister to multiple Grade II-placed Sway Away, who finished fourth in the 2011 Grade I Arkansas Derby and was an also-ran in that year’s Preakness. Her second dam was Golden Gale, a talented Summer Squall filly who won four of her first five, including the Grade II Beaumont Stakes, and would go on to clash with the likes of champions Hidden Lake and Escena later on in her career for Dogwood Stable and trainer Nick Zito.

Bred by Stansell, Shaken was offered in the 2014 Keeneland January sale as a weanling and sold for $190,000 to Fleetwood Bloodstock. More than a year later, last July 9, Stansell bought his bay filly back for $80,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Summer Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale – reaping not only a profit but gaining a filly who has now excited him and Stidham for the future.

“Because of her stride and how easily she does things – and the important races and big money at those trips – I think we may stretch her out soon,” Stidham said. “My gut says that she should be okay stretching out, but you don’t know until you try. She has a big hip and shoulder and isn’t the typical stretchy lean horse you see who definitely goes two turns.

“We’ll nominate her to the (Grade II $200,000 TwinSpires.com) Rachel Alexandra (on Feb. 20), but there’s also an allowance around that time around two turns. The realistic thing is the allowance.”


Grade I winner Majestic Harbor worked a bullet five furlongs on Friday in 1:01.20 for trainer Paul MGee and owner Gallant Stable. The son of Rockport Harbor is possible for the Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap on Feb. 20.

Speedway Stable’s multiple graded stakes-winning Canadian champion Leigh Court worked a half-mile in 49.20 on Monday for trainer Mike Stidham. She starts Tuesday in the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes.

Multiple stakes winner Eden Prairie worked a sharp half-mile in 48.60 for trainer Neil Pessin on Tuesday. The daughter of Mizzen Mast starts this coming Tuesday in the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes for Lothenbach Stables.

William S. Farish’s stakes winner Eagle worked six furlongs on Thursday in 1:15.80 for trainer Neil Howard.

Fox Hill Farm’s two-time stakes winner in her last two starts Thirteen Arrows worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Tuesday for trainer Larry Jones. She starts next week in the Grade II Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park.

Mike G. Rutherford’s homebred multiple stakes-winning Stageplay drilled a half-mile in 49.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen in advance of her next start in the Grade II $200,000 TwinSpires.com Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 20.

William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s four-time stakes-winning sprinter Cinco Charlie worked a half-mile in 48.80 on Monday for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Louisiana-bred millionaire Sunbean worked five furlongs on Wednesday in 1:02.80 for trainer Ron Faucheux and owner Brittlyn Stable.

Michael Hui’s turf stakes-performer Flashlight, fourth last out in the Grade III $125,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap on Jan. 16, worked a half-mile in 48.40 for trainer Mike Maker on Monday.

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s highly regarded Gun Runner – fourth last out in the Grade II $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov. 28 at Churchill Downs – worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:12.60 under Florent Geroux for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Highly touted million-dollar 3-year-old filly Royal Obsession returned to the work tab for the first time since winning her sophomore debut on Jan. 23, working a half-mile in an easy 51.80 on Monday for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Stonestreet Stables.

Richard and Bertram Klein’s homebred half-sisters Cash Back and Cash Control each worked a half-mile in 50 flat for trainer Brad Cox on Tuesday.

Frank Mancari’s two-time meet winner Candy My Boy, who starts next in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 20, worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Friday.

Impressive maiden winner Zapperini worked a half-mile on Friday in 51.60 for trainer Greg Foley and owner Lloyd Madison Farms.

Smart debut winner at Fair Grounds and recent allowance winner in her second start, Finley’sluckycharm worked a half-mile in 49.60 on Wednesday for trainer Bret Calhoun and Carl R. Moore Management.

-Michael Adolphson | Media Specialist, Senior Writer