Believe You Can cruises to victory in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Believe You Can cruises to victory in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Hodges Photography/Jamie Hernandez

Believe You Can Dominates New Orleans Ladies

Kentucky Oaks winner posts her second straight victory at Fair Grounds

Brereton Jones' homebred Believe You Can blew away the competition March 9 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, easily taking the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths for her second straight win off the layoff (VIDEO) .

The 4-year-old Proud Citizen filly who won the 2012 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I)  trained forwardly up to this start in a 1 1/16-mile event against five other older fillies and mares after taking the Feb 2 Tiffany Lass Stakes by 10 1/4 lengths when running for the first time since June 2012. She was never challenged, leading unpressured from the start under jockey Rosie Napravnik to complete the distance in 1:44.48 while favored at 1-9. 

"I am very pleased to get to bring her back this year and in this fashion where you really don't have to have the gut wrenching, demanding efforts coming right off of the bench," trainer Larry Jones said. "But we got a great bottom in her now and I do think we can have a great year."

Off alertly at the break from the outside post, Believe You Can was angled over to the rail by Napravnik and assumed control with longshot Myriad chasing behind through fractions of :24.76, :48.72, and 1:13.20. 

"She really is a special filly to me and today we had a little bit of déjà vu," Napravnik said, recalling the Tiffany Lass win. "It was almost exactly the same race as last time and she's set up to have a great year. We are really looking forward to it."

Believe You Can drew off to a six-length lead in the stretch under mild hand urging for a mile in 1:37.72 and won under wraps. Imposing Grace, 15-1, closed from last after a half-mile to get second, and fellow Larry Jones trainee Young and Lovely rallied five wide to narrowly earn the show.
Believe You Can returned $2.10 across the board while Imposing Grace paid $3 and $2.10 and Young and Lovely brought $2.60. Totally Tucker, Myriad, and Premo's Star completed the order of finish.
"Larry knows how to prepare them and she happens to be one that's capable of being prepared," Brereton Jones said. "You never know what the rest of the year has to go through but the most important thing is that she's sound right now and she's very committed."
The May 3 La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs could be the next target for the talented bay filly.
"That could very well be the next spot because she loves Churchill and we want to keep her and Joyful Victory apart and Joyful Victory does not appreciate Churchill," Larry Jones said. "The logical choice would be for Believe You Can to go there and Joyful Victory continues to bounce around in different spots. 
"We really don't have anything set it stone," the trainer continued. "Brereton and I will get together and we'll talk about it but our number one objective, you know, is get to the Breeders' Cup this year. We didn't have the opportunity to get there last year so we want to get there and try to put her in a championship season so we'll plan on it. We are not going to be real aggressive in the first half of the year and then by the time Saratoga rolls around you'll be seeing her run around a lot I am sure."

Bred in Kentucky out of the El Prado mare El Fasto, Believe You Can improved her record to eight wins and a third from 12 starts, with earnings of $1,239,484.

Later on the card, Napravnik captured the $150,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes with Delaunay for owner Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss. The 6-year-old Smoke Glacken gelding ran six furlongs in a sparkling 1:08.36 over five other older sprinters (VIDEO).