By Graham Ross, Staff Writer
NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, March 9, 2013) – Brereton Jones’s Believe You Can, away alertly and quickly in command, made the pace and increased the margin while galloping out in the late stages to a 5 3/4-length win in Saturday’s fourth running of the listed $150,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
She increased her earnings to $1,239,484 with her eighth win in 12 career starts.
“Our main objective with her this year is the (Grade I) Breeders’ Cup (Ladies Classic),” said trainer Larry Jones after the race. “We want to get her on a championship kick. We missed it last year when she went off form during the summer and we had to stop on her. We won’t get aggressive with her until later in the summer but in the meantime a race like the (Grade II) La Troienne at Churchill might be a next logical spot for her. She loves Churchill and we know (Fox Hill Farms’) Joyful Victory does not, and we want to keep them apart for as long as we can.
“I can’t wait until she’s running in a graded stake and we can see how good she’s going to be for her 4-year-old year,” said winning rider Rosie Napravnik. “She’s done everything right this year and, in both races, I wrapped up in the last sixteenth, but she did it even easier this time.”
Coffeepot Stables’ Imposing Grace rallied late to be second-best in the New Orleans Ladies, paying $3 and $2.10 while finishing seven lengths in front of Brereton Jones’s Young and Lovely, who returned $2.60 to show.
DELAUNAY DOES IT AGAIN IN SATURDAY’S $150,000 DUNCAN F. KENNER STAKES – Maggi Moss’s Delaunay completed his sweep of the three major sprint stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots with a 4 1/2-length tally in Saturday’s listed $150,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes.
After being settled just behind the early pacesetter Amanecer de Oro, owned by Northpointe Thoroughbreds, Delaunay took command leaving the backstretch, gradually increased the margin while kept to pressure by winning rider Rosie Napravnik and won with something left.
As the odds-on choice of the fans based on his earlier wins in Fair Grounds’ Thanksgiving Handicap and F.W. Gaudin Memorial, Delaunay returned mutuels of $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 and toured the six furlongs in 1:08.36 – a tick off the track record following early fractions of 21.68 and 44.48.
The Tom Amoss trainee increased his career earnings to $539,455 with his 13th victory from 38 career starts.
“He does it all by himself,” said Amoss said after the race. “He’s a very laid-back kind of guy and I feel very fortunate to have him.”
What might be next for the 6-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding?
“Sleep well tonight and take another look at him in the morning,” Amoss said.
Delaunay’s final time was the fastest six-furlong time of the meet and the fastest six-furlong time at Fair Grounds since Mountain General’s track-record-setting 1:08.03 in the 2002 Thanksgiving Handicap.
“I’m not big on time,” Amoss said. “I’ll say this in defense of his time – he broke a little flat-footed today and that’s not him. I think if he breaks on his toes today maybe it would’ve been a little bit quicker. That field today was very good. Gantry is a great sprinter and we’ve gotten the best of him this whole meet. I think that tells you what kind of horse Delaunay is.”
Napravnik was similarly pleased.
“He is a very cool horse,” she said. “He is just very responsive and will do whatever you ask him to do and he just tries his heart out every time.”
Brittlyn Stable’s Gantry, the defending Kenner champion, was closer to the pace on Saturday than in his recent races, continued willingly late to be clearly second best, paying $2.80 and $2.10 while finishing 2 3/4-lengths in front of Michael Maker’s Ghost Is Clear, who returned $2.40 for the show position.
Racing resumes Sunday at Fair Grounds with a 10-race program beginning at 1 p.m.
MARCH 9 STAKES QUOTES
Race 9 – $150,000 Duncan F. Kennner Stakes
3-year-olds and up, six furlongs, 60th running
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Delaunay, winner): “This horse was just on his game. Tom has done such a great job and I am so thankful that Maggi and Tom chose to have me back on again today. I hate to have missed his last race but that was just a very fast time. He was very impressive.
“You know, he is a very cool horse. He is just very responsive and will do whatever you ask him to do and he just tries his heart out every time.”
Trainer Tom Amoss (Delaunay, winner): “You know, I am honored to work with such a great athlete. He does it all. He’s a laid back guy that doesn’t take a lot of care. He does his job every day. I mean, if he was your pet dog, he’d sleep in your bed at night that’s how laid back he is…just cool. I like him a lot and I feel very fortunate to have him and with Maggi and I talking about what to do and how to do it I think we have done a very good job with him.
“It was Maggi’s decision that we wanted to compete in the Fair Grounds stakes. We’ve done that. We’ve swept the stakes series. That’s a credit to Delaunay and I think it’s time to step out. A lot of people are asking just how good this horse is, or isn’t, and it’s time for us to show our hand. So I will talk with Maggi and we’ll make some decisions and I am sure you will see us somewhere big in the spring.”
“I’m not big on time. I’ll say this in defense of his time – he broke a little flat-footed today and that’s not him. I think if he breaks on his toes today maybe it would’ve been a little bit quicker.
“That field today was very good. Gantry is a great sprinter and we’ve gotten the best of him this whole meet. I think that tells you what kind of horse Delaunay is.”
NOTE: Delaunay’s final time of 1:08.36 was the fastest six-furlong time of the meet and the fastest six-furlong time at Fair Grounds since Mountain General’s track-record-setting 1:08.03 in the 2002 Thanksgiving Handicap…Amoss won this race in 2004 with Cat Genius.
Race 7 – $150,000 New Orleans Ladies
Fillies and mares, 4 and up, 1 1/16 miles, 4th running
Jockey Rosie Napravnik (Believe You Can, winner): “I am so thankful that Larry and Brereton chose me to ride her. She really is a special filly to me and today we had a little bit of déjà vu. It was almost exactly the same race as last time and she’s set up to have a great year. We are really looking forward to it.”
“I can’t wait until she’s running in a graded stake and we can see how good she’s going to be for her 4-year-old year. She’s done everything right this year and, in both races, I wrapped up in the last sixteenth, but she did it even easier this time. She’s just been doing great.”
Trainer Larry Jones (Believe You Can, winner): “I am very pleased to get to bring her back this year and in this fashion where you really don’t have to have the gut wrenching, demanding efforts coming right off of the bench. But we got a great bottom in her now and I do think we can have a great year and we really don’t have anything set it stone. Brereton and I will get together and we’ll talk about it but our number one objective, you know, is get to the Breeders’ Cup this year. We didn’t have the opportunity to get there last year so we want to get there and try to put her in a championship season so we’ll plan on it. We are not going to be real aggressive in the first half of the year and then, you know, by the time Saratoga rolls around you’ll be seeing her run around a lot I am sure.”
We’re going to try to give her the opportunity to get on a championship kick; if she’s good enough we want her to be able to do it. We won’t be real aggressive the next couple of months but we’ll keep picking up the pace as the season goes along. Come Satratoga time and Belmont Fall we’ll be getting pretty aggressive eon her and make sure we put her in the spots that can get her ther.
Is the May 3, $300,000 La Troienne (GII) next? “That could very well be the next spot because she loves Churchill and we want to keep her and Joyful Victory apart and Joyful Victory does not appreciate Churchill. The logical choice would be for Believe You Can to go there and Joyful Victory continues to bounce around in different spots. “
What did you think of your other runners in this race? “You know, they ran very well. Needless to say, I am selfish and greedy and was hoping we could run one-two-three. But we knew that Wayne’s horse has run good here all meet, too. To run right behind her, we were very pleased to run third and fourth, so it was good.”
Owner-Breeder Brereton Jones (Believe You Can, winner): “Larry knows how to prepare them and she happens to be one that’s capable of being prepared.
“You never know what the rest of the year has to go through but the most important thing is that she’s sound right now and gives no indication of any unsoundness whatsoever and she’s very committed.”
NOTE: Jones won this race last year with 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.