Believe You Can Targets New Orleans Ladies
Brereton Jones's Believe You Can, who won the $100,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in a powerful return to the races Feb. 2, is likely to make her next appearance in the listed $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes March 9, trainer Larry Jones confirmed Feb. 6.
"She came out of her race (in the Tiffany Lass) really well," Jones said. "All is good with her. The New Orleans Ladies is not set in stone for her next start, but as of right now that's our number one objective."
Believe You Can, a homebred daughter of Proud Citizen who parlayed a win in last year's Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) to another in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) a few weeks later, had been idle since finishing third in the Mother Goose (gr. I) at Belmont Park last June prior to her 10 1/4-length romp in the Tiffany Lass.
Another high-profile contender trained by Jones for the former Kentucky Governor of the same last name is Mark Valeski, winner of the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont last spring after finishing second in Fair Grounds' Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and Risen Star Stakes (gr. II). That Proud Citizen runner is gearing up for the Feb. 23 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III), part of Louisiana Derby Preview Day Presented by Lamarque Ford.
"That's the race we're shooting for," Jones confirmed. "He should be showing up on the work tab again on Monday (Feb. 11)."
The Mineshaft serves as Fair Grounds' designed prep for the March 30 New Orleans Handicap (gr. II) on Louisiana Derby Day.
Brereton Jones's Mr. Bowling, winner of the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) last winter, is not likely for the Mineshaft.
"We've still got to get him back on track," Jones said.
Of the current 3-year-olds trained by Jones, one who has been breezing well is Fox Hill Farms' Smitten. The Tapit filly who finished third in the $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on Jan. 19 breezed a bullet three furlongs in :34 3/5 on Feb. 5 and is being pointed toward the Feb. 23 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III).
"She seems to be progressing like you want them to," Jones said. "That was a nice work she had yesterday. Now we're trying to teach her to get up in there and get involved a little earlier in her races."
Smitten will be joined by Bret Jones' Dancinginthecircle, who won the $100,000 By The Light Stakes at Delta Downs Jan. 4. The Divine Park filly breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 Feb. 2 at Fair Grounds.
"She worked well," Jones said of Dancinginthecircle, who was beaten a neck for the win when third in the Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) at Arlington Park last September. "Right now, we're trying to get her to relax a little more."
Like Smitten, Dancinginthecircle would use the Rachel Alexandra as the final prep for the March 30 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II).
"I would like to run them both in the Rachel Alexandra," said Jones. "They both have different running styles so they shouldn't interfere with each other."
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