Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cindy Jones Says, ‘It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This’

NEW ORLEANS (Wednesday, January 25, 2012) – Assistant trainer Cindy Jones was fulfilling her sometime role of spokesperson for the Cindy and Larry Jones Barn as the Fair Grounds track was closing for training hours on Wednesday morning.

Husband Larry, trainer of last Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes winner Mr. Bowling as well as $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes heroine Believe You Can – both owned by Brereton Jones – had left minutes earlier.

Of course, as almost everyone in the Thoroughbred racing world already knows, the last 10 days for the Joneses have been far from ordinary. One week ago Sunday, the couple flew out to Southern California for racing’s annual Eclipse Award ceremonies. On the next night, the Jones-trained Havre de Grace, owned by Fox Hill Farm and currently in training at Fair Grounds, was named 2011 Horse of the Year.

That Tuesday, the Joneses flew back to New Orleans and were back at their barn Wednesday of last week. Thursday and Friday they trained and ran horses successfully, but last Saturday they became headliners again, winning both sophomore stakes on Fair Grounds’ Road to the Derby Kickoff Day. Then, they followed that up Sunday by winning with Robi Jo, a 3-year-old filly they own together.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” said Cindy Jones Wednesday. “I do admit that I’m finally feeling a little bit of jet lag this morning. On Monday and Tuesday I was fine – because my feet hadn’t hit the ground yet – but today it’s finally hit me.”

Mr. Bowling will be pointed for the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 25, and Believe You Can is headed for the Grade III Rachel Alexandra Stakes that same afternoon.

“They both jogged this morning and they will gallop and jog tomorrow,” Mrs. Jones said of her latest sophomore stars. “As for Havre de Grace, she’s been galloping every day lately and she’s up to a mile and half now. All three of them are doing just fine.”

‘ROSIE RETURNING TO RIDING FRIDAY’ ACCORDING TO AGENT – Defending Fair Grounds jockey champion Rosie Napravnik took off her mounts for the second consecutive race day Wednesday, but should be accepting mounts Friday, according to her agent Derek Ducoing.

“She’s still a little sore,” Ducoing said Wednesday, “but I expect her to be back to riding by Friday.”

Napravnik, who sprained both her ankles and incurred a deep bone bruise on one leg Jan. 8 when thrown from a mount while going onto the turf course, had been accepting mounts through last Saturday (including her win on Brereton Jones’ Believe You Can in that day’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes) before deciding to give herself some time off as of last Sunday’s program.

Through last Sunday, halfway point of Fair Grounds’ 2011-2012 season, Napravnik led the local standing with 58 wins, 12 more than jockey James Graham, the clear runner-up at the current session. She was scheduled to ride in five of Thursday’s races.

PANTS ON FIRE SIZZLES SUNDAY IN SOUTH FLORIDA – George and Lori Hall’s Pants On Fire, heroine of last year’s $1 million Louisiana Derby March 26, breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59.55 at South Florida’s Palm Meadows training center Sunday morning.

The Jump Start colt, runner-up in last year’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds, has not raced since finishing fifth in Monmouth’s Grade I Haskell Invitational July 31.

Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Mission Impazible, winner of the Grade II Louisiana Derby two years ago and a horse who returned to Fair Grounds to win the Grade II New Orleans Handicap last season, also went five-eighths last Sunday at Palm Meadows, getting that same distance 1:01.90.

James Miller’s Daisy Devine, winner of last season’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks March 26, went a half-mile Monday at Fair Grounds in 49.40, while Zayat Stable’s Nehro, runner-up to Pants On Fire in last year’s Louisiana Derby, Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby, breezed four furlongs at Fair Grounds Tuesday, accomplishing the move in 51.20.

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