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BARN NOTES: February 26, 2016

  • ·        Jensen Possible for Louisiana Derby Following Allowance Romp
  • ·        Wesley Ward Gets First Fair Grounds Win
  • ·        Work Tab

 

JENSEN POSSIBLE FOR LOUISIANA DERBY FOLLOWING ALLOWANCE ROMP

Trainer Larry Jones’ decision to pass on the Grade II $400,000 Veterans Ford Risen Star Stakes with talented and lightly raced Jensen looked like a smart one on Thursday afternoon when his homebred – whom he co-owns and bred with wife Cindy – impressively wired a first-level allowance field going a mile and 70 yards in a smart time of 1:42.98 for the distance. Florent Geroux was aboard.

Second last out to well-regarded Dolphus at the same level and trip on Jan. 31, the son of Haynesfield skipped the Feb. 20 Risen Star to give him more time between races. Thursday’s effort was his second try around two turns and fourth race of the meet and his career following a runner-up on debut Dec. 17 going six furlongs, a smart victory at the same trip 24 days later and then his aforementioned runner-up effort three weeks after that.

The chestnut grandson of Jones’ Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure – one point below Gun Runner’s 90 from his Risen Star victory. Left in his wake were graded stakes-placed Harlan Punch and well-regarded Dallas Stewart trainee Spikes Shirl.

“Everything seems good with him (Friday) morning,” Jones reported. “Being the owner, I definitely like to keep everything open with him. We’ll look around, but the Louisiana Derby is definitely on the radar. I paid $100 early (nomination) for that.”

Jensen currently is without Kentucky Derby qualification points and not nominated to the Triple Crown. Jones confirmed that he would nominate, contingent upon a big effort in a race like the Louisiana Derby next out.

 

WESLEY WARD GETS FIRST FAIR GROUNDS WIN

Trainer Wesley Ward falls into the rare category of an American conditioner based primarily on the east coast who scored multiple wins in Europe – Royal Ascot, no less – before ever winning a race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Such changed on Thursday afternoon when Michael Tabor’s homebred Chiltern Street shipped in from Florida and won an allowance/optional claiming event over the Stall-Wilson turf course.

A 4-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway, Chiltern Street did not commence his career until last September at Saratoga. Raced five times now, he has two wins, a runner-up effort and a pair of fourth-places finishes to his credit. Training well in the interim at Palm Meadows in South Florida, the son of Tabor’s Grade I winner Marylebone – who annexed the Matron Stakes at Belmont at two – won for the second consecutive time following a 2¼-length victory in graduation at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 2. Journeyman Mario Pino, who had not ridden at the New Orleans oval since guiding Hard Spun to a romping win in the 2007 Grade III Lecomte Stakes, flew in for the mount to earn his 6,707th career victory and first of 2016 from five mounts.

“He’s gone through quite a few injuries, so I was really happy to see him win,” Ward said. “Right now he’s sound and we’ll keep him that way hopefully. I’m hoping he develops into the horse I think he can be. He’s already overcome a lot of adversity.

“It was such a nice day to win,” Ward, who was on hand for the win, continued. “I haven’t done much running down there and we’ve been unlucky with getting a race in Florida for him. So, it looked like a good spot and a good turf course, so we shipped him (to Fair Grounds). I hadn’t been there since 1985 – 31 years ago – and was only in for the day, but didn’t leave hungry when I left.”

Ward also confirmed that Wes Welker’s Group I Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot winner Undrafted and Coolmore’s 2014 Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hootenanny are both working toward their 2016 campaigns. Undrafted is unraced since finishing fifth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November and Hootenanny has not been seen since finishing 11th in Royal Ascot’s Group I Commonwealth Cup in June.

“Undrafted is back in training and doing well,” he said. “He had his first work at Turfway (Park) last week. Hootenanny is back and training well, too.”

 

WORK TAB

Columbine Stable’s Money Flows returned to the work tab for Al Stall, Jr. The Malibu Moon gelding and half-brother to E Dubai worked three furlongs in an easy 38.80 in his first drill since an impressive allowance/optional claiming win in just his fourth start on Dec. 26. The $130,000 Keeneland purchase has won three of four, but did not debut until six months ago, in the summer of his 4-year-old season.

William S. Farish’s well-regarded Banner Waving, who passed on the Grade II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes last weekend for a lighter spot, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 for trainer Neil Howard. The daughter of Speightstown, who crushed a field on graduation on Dec. 13 two starts ago was last seen finishing a length-beaten third behind Rachel Alexandra fourth-place finisher Royal Obsession. She is entered to run next week, Mar. 4, in a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming event. 

 

Michael Adolphson | @AdolphsonRacing
Media Specialist, Senior Writer