Nearly one year after securing a victory in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Brereton Jones homebred Believe You Can returns to racing at Churchill Downs in the $300,000 La Troienne Stakes presented by Steelcase and ORI (gr. II) May 3.
Last year jockey Rosie Napravnik became the first female rider to win the Oaks when she guided the Proud Citizen filly to victory. The duo enters this year's La Troienne off a pair of Fair Grounds stakes wins by a combined 16 lengths. In her only other start since last year's Kentucky Oaks, the dark bay or brown filly ran third in the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.
The La Troienne, at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, is the first of six consecutive stakes on Churchill's 2013 Kentucky Oaks program. Post-time for the La Troienne, which is the sixth race on the Friday card, is 1:26 p.m. EDT. There are seven older fillies and mares entered.
Trained by Larry Jones, Believe You Can has won eight of 12 career starts and has earned $1,239,484.
Awaiting Believe You Can will be another filly who has enjoyed Churchill success in Anita Cauley's homebred On Fire Baby. A 4-year-old daughter of Smoke Glacken, On Fire Baby won a pair of graded stakes as a juvenile at Churchill in the 2011 Pocahontas and Golden Rod (both gr. II). She finished fifth in last year's Oaks.
On Fire Baby posted the first grade I victory of her career April 12 when she upset the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at 12-1 odds at Oaklawn Park. Trained by Gary "Red Dog" Hartlage, On Fire Baby has won five of nine starts and earned $654,629. She'll start from post 5 with Joe Johnson back aboard.
Michael Talla's More Chocolate ships from Southern California for trainer John Sadler off a runner-up finish to highly regarded Joyful Victory in the March 16 Santa Margarita Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. The Calumet Farm-bred daughter of Malibu Moon won the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) against fellow 4-year-old fillies by 1 3/4 lengths in her seasonal debut Jan. 20.
Joel Rosario rides the bay filly for the first time since they teamed to win a first-level allowance on the turf at Santa Anita Nov. 1.
Trainer Todd Pletcher is represented by Padua Stables' Authenticity, second in the Rampart Stakes (gr. III) March 30 at Gulfstream Park following a 17 1/2-length allowance romp there six weeks earlier.
$300,000 La Troienne Stakes (gr. II, race 10, approximate post time 1:26 p.m.) F&M, 3YO&Up, 1 mile
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Imposing Grace (KY), G. Gomez, 118, W. Catalano
2. Authenticity (KY), J. Velazquez, 118, T. Pletcher
3. More Chocolate (KY), J. Rosario, 120, J. Sadler
4. Believe You Can (KY), R. Napravnik, 120, L. Jones
5. On Fire Baby (KY), J. Johnson, 123, G. Hartlage
6. Class Included (KY), C. Lanerie, 118, D. Romans
7. Draw It (KY), R. Santana Jr., 118, J. Dodgen