Trainer Larry Jones had a visitor at Churchill Downs to watch a Saturday work by Believe You Can, the winner of the 2012 Kentucky Oaks (GI) and a candidate for the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) on the Thanksgiving Day racing program at the Louisville track on Thursday, Nov. 28.
The visitor was not an impartial observer. Former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones looked on as his homebred filly worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 over a fast track under the guidance of jockey Alan Garcia. The move ranked as seventh-fastest of 48 at the distance.
The 4-year-old daughter Proud Citizen covered three-eighths of a mile in :35.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.40.
And Jones, the trainer, said the plan is for Believe You Can to celebrate Thanksgiving at Churchill Downs.
“That's our game plan,” he said. “We'll just keep our fingers crossed that all continues to go well.
“Our galloping out was what we hadn't been doing, but she galloped out much better today. We've got time for one more work next Saturday and we'll know for darned sure, but she's moving along kind of like we thought she should and could.”
The Falls City would be the fourth career start at Churchill Downs for Believe You Can. She ran sixth at two in the Pocahontas and returned five months later to win her historic running of the Oaks under jockey Rosie Napravnik, who became the first woman to ride an Oaks winner. She returned this spring to run third behind Authenticity and On Fire Baby in the $300,000-added La Troienne (GII), a Kentucky Oaks Day race in which Believe You Can experienced a troubled start.
The work could work out to be an audition for Garcia as Napravik, Believe You Can's regular racing partner, could be busy elsewhere on Thanksgiving Day. Jones said she could be riding the talented sprinter Delaunay in Fair Grounds' Thanksgiving Day Handicap.
After the Falls City, Jones plans to point Believe You Can to Sam Houston Race Park's $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic on Jan. 25, a race Larry Jones won this year with Joyful Victory. After that, the trainer will wait to see what happens.
“I don't know whether she'll train all year (in 2014) – he's (Brereton Jones) been talking about breeding her,” Larry Jones said. “She will be bred next year, but she's got some racing left in her.”
Another Falls City candidate in action on Saturday was Preston Stables LLC's Flashy American, who breezed four furlongs in :48.20 for trainer Kenny McPeek. Flashy American won Churchill Downs' Locust Grove in September.
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