Home of the Louisiana Derby

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Headlines for Friday, February 27, 2009

  • Keeping Up With the Joneses
  • Giant Oak's Work Schedule Updated
  • Louisiana Derby Day Nominations Close Saturday
  • Arlington's Greely at Fair Grounds Through Friday
  • Later Start on Fridays Included in FG March Post Time Changes


Keeping Up With the Joneses

NEW ORLEANS, La. - With Friesan Fire leading the parade, locally-based Larry Jones continues to have a strong hand showing on the table for Louisiana Derby Day March 14 at Fair Grounds.

"Friesan Fire will probably work again Monday morning," said Jones as he sat at his tack room desk during Friday's mid-morning break.  "He continues to be right on schedule for the ($600,000 Grade II) Louisiana Derby."

As the two-length winner of the Grade III Risen Star Stakes Feb. 7 and the 1 1/2-length hero of the Grade III Lecomte Jan. 10, the A. P. Indy colt is going for a sweep of the Louisiana Derby series - a feat not accomplished since 1993 - and will command considerable respect on the second Saturday in March if things continue to go according to schedule.

However, Cindy Jones' Just Jenda, who appeared to be a solid candidate for the $400,000 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks following her win in the Tiffany Lass Stakes here on Jan. 10, has now been taken off the local Oaks trail after a third-place finish in the Grade III Silverbulletday Stakes Feb. 7.

"I don't think we'll be running her in the Oaks," said Jones.  "She's probably headed to Oaklawn for her next start.  She'll probably work Monday and then we'll see what happens then."

But if Just Jenda failed to live up to expectations on Louisiana Derby Preview Day, Fox Hill Farms' Honest Man certainly did when posting a 4 1/4-length win in the Grade III Mineshaft Handicap.

"Honest Man is right on schedule for the ($500,000 Grade II) New Orleans Handicap (March 14)," Jones said.  "He's doing fine right now, and he doesn't really need a lot of work."

Jones said Kodiak Kowboy, like Friesan Fire owned in a Vinery Stables-Fox Hill Farms partnership, is being pointed for the $125,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes for sprinters on Louisiana Derby Day.

Kodiak Kowboy, fifth in the Grade I Cigar Mile in his last start Nov. 29, won the Grade III Sport Page Handicap at Belmont Oct. 25 and was beaten less than a length in the Grade I Vosburgh Sept. 27 at that Long Island oval.

"He'll have a major work this weekend," said Jones of Kodiak Kowboy, "Probably, that will come on Monday along with the others, but he still owes me a lot of works."

Brereton Jones' Proud Spell, another Jones trainee who used her victory in last winter's Fair Grounds Oaks as a springboard to two Grade I wins and an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly, breezed a bullet five furlongs from the gate in :59.80 Thursday at Fair Grounds.


Giant Oak's Work Schedule Updated

Virginia Tarra Trust's Giant Oak, who finished fifth following a troubled trip as the post time favorite for Fair Grounds' Grade III Risen Star Stakes, has an updated work schedule in advance of the Louisiana Derby, according to trainer Chris Block.

"This horse is pretty fit," said Block Friday morning.  "He jogged this morning and everything went good today, so we'll postpone his next serious breeze until next weekend." 


Louisiana Derby Day Nominations Close Saturday

Horsemen throughout the nation are reminded that nominations close Saturday for the six stakes on Louisiana Derby Day March 14 at Fair Grounds.

The upcoming Louisiana Derby Day is the richest day of racing offered during the Fair Grounds season each year.

The $600,000 Grade II Louisiana Derby for 3-year-olds on the road to the Triple Crown is the centerpiece event of the New Orleans racing season.

The $400,000 Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on that second Saturday in March is the feminine equivalent of the Louisiana Derby.

The $500,000 Grade II New Orleans Handicap for older horses on dirt and the $500,000 Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial for older horses on turf complete the graded stakes portion of the program.

Rounding out the stakes schedule March 14 is a pair of sprints:  the Duncan F. Kenner Stakes, which offers a purse of $125,000 purse including $50,000 from Breeders' Cup Ltd., and the $75,000 Bienville Stakes for fillies and mares on turf.


Arlington's Greely at Fair Grounds through Friday

Arlington Park racing secretary Kevin Greely arrived at Fair Grounds Monday and will be on hand through Friday at the New Orleans oval to accept stall applications for the upcoming meeting at Chicago's premier Thoroughbred oval.

Arlington Park will open May 1 (Kentucky Oaks Day) this spring, and run through Sept. 27, running four days a week from May 1-June 30, five days a week July 1-Aug. 29, and back to four days a week Aug. 30-Sept. 27.


Later Start on Fridays Included in FG March Post Time Changes

Fair Grounds guests are reminded that beginning Thursday, regular post time at Fair Grounds will slide back five minutes to 12:35 p.m.

However, for the last three Fridays of the season, March 13, 20, and 27, first post will be at 2:50 p.m.