Thanks to her easy-going nature, Havre de Grace has had no problem settling into Keeneland, where she is training for her next start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
“Where her feed tub is is her home,” trainer Larry Jones said. “She doesn’t care if she sleeps at Saratoga or Delaware Park or wherever or Keeneland. I haven’t really found a racing surface that she doesn’t care for. To me, she’s gotten over the slop, she’s gotten over dry, she’s training good on (Keeneland’s Polytrack)—so that helps a lot.”
On Oct. 13, Jones rode the 4-year-old daughter of Saint Liam to the starting gate to watch a stablemate work from the gate, giving the crew there a treat.
“I rode up—they didn’t know who I was on—and I told them, ‘I’m not going to do anything,’ ” Jones said. “I said, ‘I’m just on my stable pony.’ I rode her up to the back of the gate. They were playing with her. She was just standing there with her head down, didn’t know if she was going in or not but she wasn’t fretting.
“They said, ‘Who is this? This isn’t a stable pony.’ I said, ‘Well it’s Havre de Grace.’ They said, ‘Man.’ She was just standing there with her head down, letting the gate crew just play with her, wasn’t concerned about going in the gates. She does whatever.
“Yesterday, I didn’t go at any super gallop. I just went to where I could watch that filly gallop; sat down there at the quarter pole, waiting for her to work around. I galloped down behind her, pulled up with her and come home. Until it was over, (Havre de Grace) didn’t even know, ‘Oh, that’s it for the day?’ Then she wanted to start bucking and playing like ‘Hey, this is an easy day.’
“She’s a dream come true.”
Winner of the Woodward and Beldame Invitational (both gr. I) in her two most recent races, Havre de Grace is among the 40 horses Jones has at Keeneland. She is scheduled to work on Oct. 24.
“She’s training so good,” Jones said. “I sent Rick (Porter) a text this morning to let him know (reads the message): ‘HDG fuel tank back on full. Ready to go any time.’ ”