Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Believe You Can sizzled five furlongs in :58 2/5 over a muddy track at Churchill Downs April 29 as the Proud Citizen filly completed her work for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
The breeze was the fastest of 10 working that distance and 1 2/5 seconds faster than the time recorded for Bodemeister , the day’s second-fastest five-furlong worker who is among the favorites for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Despite the quickness of the work, owner-breeder Jones was undeterred about whether it would take too much out of the filly this close to the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. He noted that the time for the distance was the same turned in by champion Proud Spell prior to her 2008 Kentucky Oaks victory.
Another Jones homebred daughter of Proud Citizen (who stands at stud at his Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky.), Proud Spell was also trained by Larry Jones (no relation to the owner), who conditions Believe You Can.
Clockers caught Believe You Can in fractional splits of :11 3/5, :22 4/5, and :34 for three-eighths of a mile. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.
“We don’t think that’s too fast,” said Brereton Jones, who was on hand at Churchill Downs. “She did it easily and wasn’t being pushed at all.”
Produced from the El Prado mare El Fasto, Believe You Can has won five of eight starts and earned $495,284. Fourth in her career debut, the filly reeled off three consecutive victories capped by the 2011 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) over a muddy surface at Belmont Park. Most recently, she won the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) on March 31.
“She's got a big shot,” owner Jones said of how his filly rates against the probable Oaks field. “There are some very nice fillies in there. We will have to wait until after the race to see who has the bragging rights. Right now, we are pleased with the way she is going into the race.
“She is committed to being a race horse. She has a pretty good mind and doesn’t get the least bit squirrely. And she’s got a wonderful way of traveling. That’s a very good combination. And she’s in the hands of a very good trainer. So it all fits together.”
Also on the Kentucky Oaks work docket April 29 was Gillian Campbell, R Group Management, and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Jemima's Pearl. The daughter of Distorted Humor breezed five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 over the muddy track.
Under rider George Alvarez and working in company with Kentucky Derby-bound stablemate Bodemeister , the filly’s splits were timed in :37 1/5 and :48 4/5. Her six-furlong gallop-out time was 1:13 4/5.
Jemima’s Pearl, third in the Fantasy (gr. II) in her most recent start, was Bodemeister’s target. She broke off four lengths in front of him and was a neck back when they reached the wire.
“She usually comes off the pace, but she was a good work horse for him,” trainer Bob Baffert said in a release.
“She worked really well. She’s had a few outs and has been improving every time. She ran a good race in the Fantasy, so I think she deserves a chance. It’s pretty wide open. It’s a tough race.”