Horse of the Year Havre de Grace put in her first published work of the year Feb. 10 when she breezed three furlongs in :37 4/5 at Fair Grounds for trainer Larry Jones.
Havre de Grace, who has been stabled at Fair Grounds since Jan. 5, is being pointed for either the $100,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at Fair Grounds or the $150,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park for her season debut, according to owner Rick Porter. Both are on March 17. The race that they choose would either set her up for the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) on April 13 or $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) April 14 against males.
"Larry says she's doing better than last year so far; he's tickled pink," Porter said. "I think there's a good chance she'll be running on March 17 and then we'll see from there."
The 5-year-old daughter of Saint Liam out of the Carson City mare Easter Bunnette has not raced since finishing fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Havre de Grace hit the track with the first timed move of the day, just after 6 a.m., working from the three-eights pole to the finish line and galloping out a half-mile in “52 and change,” according to head clocker Mike Diliberto.
“She wasn’t being asked at all,” Diliberto added. “It was very, very, very easy.”
In 2011, Havre de Grace won five of seven races, including three grade I events--the Apple Blossom Handicap, the Woodward, and the Beldame--to capture Horse of the Year honors. She also earned the Eclipse Award as the nation's top older female. She became the third consecutive female to win the Horse of the Year title, following Zenyatta in 2010 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
The bay mare has won eight of 15 lifetime starts with earnings of nearly $2.5 million.
Porter also said his 4-year-old filly Joyful Victory is doing well. A two-time graded stakes winner last year at Oaklawn, she will make her next start in this weekend's Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds with a possible eye on the Apple Blossom after that.
"Both fillies are doing well, so we have some choices," Porter said. "There aren't a lot of grade I races for fillies early in the year."
Jason Shandler contributed to this story