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Barn Notes: Friday, January 5


•           Larry Jones Expresses Excitement In Lecomte Trio  

•           Nobody’s Fault Seeks Redemption In Saturday’s Pan Zareta

•           Extra Credit Goes For Another Victory Against State-Breds In Sunday Allowance Event

•           12-Year-Old Dance Caller Finds The Winner’s Circle On Thursday Afternoon



Trainer Larry Jones can’t help but speak blessings of his three entrants in the $200,000 Grade III Lecomte on Saturday, Jan. 13, the first of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Derby which is run for 3-year-olds at a distance of one mile and 70 yards on the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track and awards the Top 4 finishers based off a 10-4-2-1 scale.

The first of Jones’ three Lecomte aspirants is Kowboy Karma, who will break from post five under Brian Hernandez, Jr., and is owned by Jones in partnership with wife Cindy and Michael Pressley. The son of Kodiak Kowboy kicked off his five-race career with a pair of wins at Delaware Park – a maiden win at first asking and a win in the Strike Your Colors Stakes on Aug. 10. Following that effort, he ran second in Monmouth Park’s Sapling Stakes on Sept. 2 before stepping up to graded stakes company in the Gr. I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, where he was fourth behind Firenze Fire. The second and third-place finishers of the Champagne were eventual Gr. I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic and Enticed who next out won the Gr. II Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. Kowboy Karma’s most recent outing took place in the James F. Lewis III Stakes on Nov. 11 where he finished second.

“He’s training well,” Jones said. “We had to do a little throat surgery on him after the (James F. Lewis III Stakes), he kept trying to displace on us, but hopefully we got that fixed. He’s training well though; he blew out nicely the other day (five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Jan. 3) so it looks like he’s coming along. We’re looking forward to running him. I don’t think that this distance will be any problem for him.”

Another contingent from the Larry Jones barn is the regally-bred Believe In Royaltywho is by leading North American sire Tapit out of 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can. The broodmare also was a product of the Larry Jones barn and won the Fair Grounds’ Silverbulletday Stakes and the Gr. II Fair Grounds Oaks before being draped with a garland of lilies at Churchill Downs that following May.

“I’ve had several Tapits, not as many as (Steve) Asmussen but I’ve had several of them,” Jones said. “I can see a little of both (Tapit and Believe You Can) in him. (Believe You Can) wasn’t a super early precocious kind of horse, she got good here (at the Fair Grounds).”

Believe In Royalty broke his maiden second time out at Laurel Park on Oct. 9, which he followed with another win around the Maryland oval defeating winners in a one-mile allowance race on Nov. 19.  Last time out, Believe In Royalty took a dive into some deeper waters

in the Remington Springboard Mile on Dec. 17, where he was sixth. Jones referred to his stakes debut at the Oklahoma oval as a ‘growing up race’ for Believe In Royalty and believes that the effort has served as a learning experience for the horse.

“The way he worked the other day (five furlongs in :59.60 on Dec. 31) after the Springboard Mile, it looks like the light finally came on with him,” Jones said. “His races got a little better up until the Springboard Mile but he had a little rough trip. He got a wide trip and (Greyvitos) kind of gave him a little squeeze, because that horse had to get out from the twelve hole. The horse is doing well though, he’s coming along.”

Perhaps it was a post-race discussion with jockey Robby Albarado that contributed to Jones’ confidence that Believe In Royalty will improve off his last effort.

“Robby came off of him that day and said ‘If he didn’t have hair on his chest this morning when he woke up he will tomorrow morning. He’ll become a man tomorrow,’” Jones said. “He does act like it. I gallop him every day myself and it feels to me like the light really has come on. He’s starting to get aggressive and doing the right thing.”

Believe In Royalty will break from the six hole.

The final Larry Jones starter for the Lecomte is Pennsylvania-bred Prince Lucky. The son of Corinthian, who will break from post 13 under Julien Leparoux, won Parx Racing’s Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes on Dec. 2 last out and will be making his first start around two turns in the Lecomte.

“It looks like that’s not going to be an issue,” Jones said. “I know the Pennsylvania Nursery is not a major prep, but it did produce a horse called Smarty Jones and I won (in 2006) with a horse called Hard Spun. We’re hoping that we have the same similarities coming out of that and actually, this horse comes out of an Elusive Quality mare that was the sire of Smarty Jones. This horse has come a long ways, too.

“I don’t know which horse would have the best shot,” Jones added. “I’m sure it’s whoever gets the best trip and things like that. It could be detrimental to get hung on the outside of somebody.”



Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Nobody’s Faultwill be out for redemption in Saturday’s $50,000 Pan Zareta Stakes following a lack luster effort in the Richie Scherer Memorial Stakes as the lukewarm favorite, where she finished tenth and last beaten 6 ¾ lengths behind Rapid Rhythm who also is entered in Saturday’s event.

The 5-year-old daughter of Blame will break from post eight at odds of 8-1. Trainer Neil Pessin believes that such an effort was mainly because she did not get the best of breaks from the starting gate.

“She had a horrible trip last time from the start when she was in the gate,” Pessin said. “She never really picked it up. The gate was the start of a bad trip. We schooled her in the gate a little bit so hopefully she’ll be little better and break a little better and if she runs her race she’ll be tough to beat.”

Nobody’s Fault will also be looking to end a four-race slump. Her last victory came in Churchill Downs’ Unbridled Sidney Stakes on May 13 which she won by a length over fellow Pan Zareta contender Triple Chelsea. Prior to that effort, she was second at odds of 51-1 behind international multiple Group 1 winner Lady Aurelia in the Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland on Apr. 15.

“She (Lady Aurelia) just had to be in a non-graded stake at Keeneland,” Pessin joked. “The filly is doing great though; we’ll see what she does (Saturday) and figure out what to do after that.”

Nobody’s Fault will be ridden by jockey Mitchell Murrill, who piloted the mare to her lone victory over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course – an allowance victory on Feb. 26 where she was 11-1.

“Murrill rode her down here last year and she likes this turf,” Pessin said. “I’m just putting a line through the last race.”



Richard Klein’s Extra Credit will headline a field of seven Louisiana-breds in Sunday’s second race, a one-mile allowance optional claiming event over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course.

Trained by Brad Cox, the son of 5-year-old son of Proud Citizen won the Louisiana Champions Day Turf on Dec. 9 last out and boasts a record of three wins in five starts over the Fair Grounds lawn.

“He came out great and since we gelded him it seemed to help him a bit,” Cox said. “He didn’t have a great fall and we gelded him and he’s had two really good races down here, it’s really brought him back into form and he’s doing well.”

While the field for Sunday’s race drew seven entrants, this is not to say that it came up lightly. If Extra Credit wishes to add another triumph over the Stall-Wilson Turf Course to his resume, he will have to face state-bred stakes winners Grande Basin and Fort Pulaski, the latter of which finished second to Extra Credit in the Louisiana Champions Day Turf and won the Mr. Sulu Stakes on Opening Day, Nov. 18.

“It’s not a class drop,” Cox said. “It’s pretty much the same level of competition so he’s going to have to show up again and got to get a similar trip and if he does he’ll be tough. We kind of figured it would be a solid group of horses. There’s not a whole lot of a difference between this and the stakes.”

Shaun Bridgmohan was aboard for his Champions Day win, and will return to the saddle for Sunday’s race where he will break from the outside at 9-5 morning line odds.



3A Bucking Bulls’ Dance Caller proved that Thoroughbreds can find the winner’s circle even at the seasoned age of 12 and according to trainer Joseph Foster, “he ain’t done yet”.

“Age twelve and he’s still liking it,” Foster said. “I’ve had the chance to sell him or give him away or adopt him out, but he ain’t done yet. He likes his job. It’s not like he made an easy lead and somebody had to win, he gutted it out with second-place finisher (Stihl Harbor) and fought for that win. I bet he’ll miss it (when he retires), but we got a place to take him when he retires that will rehabilitate him, but he ain’t ready.”

This was not the first time Foster won with such a seasoned veteran. On May 19, 2016 at Louisiana Downs, Foster scored two victories with old warriors one of which was Dance Caller, who was ten at the time, as well as ten-year-old Drinking Fund.

“I won with Drinking Fund and Dance Caller in the same day at Louisiana Downs,” Foster said. “Two ten-year-olds for the same trainer winning on the same day is unheard of. They told me, ‘You’ll probably never do that again in your career’.”

A 12-year-old Florida-bred gelding by Concorde’s Tune, Dance Caller has now won 16 races in 78 lifetime starts and has $353,559 in career earnings.