NEW ORLEANS — In horse racing, favorites are favorites for a reason — they’re good. And 2012 Kentucky Oaks and Louisiana Oaks champ Believe You Can is good. Really good.
The 4-year-old filly proved it again Saturday, when she breezed to a nearly six-length victory in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course, delivering yet another triumph for her team, including trainer Larry Jones, jockey Rosie Napravnik and owner Brereton C. Jones, a former governor of Kentucky.
Brereton Jones (no relation to Larry) said Believe promises to deliver another big year.
“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 gives no indication of any unsoundness whatsoever, and she’s very committed,” he said.
Believe You Can, who also won the Fair Grounds’ Tiffany Lass Stakes Feb. 2, came into Saturday’s one-and-1/16th-mile dirt race at insurmountable 1-9 odds, with the five other mounts in the contests going off at least at 99-1 each.
Believe started from the outside post and quickly moved into the lead, holding the rest of the field at bay before rounding the top of the stretch and sprinting to an easy — and predictable — victory.
“I am so thankful that Larry and Brereton chose me to ride her,” Napravnik said. “She really is a special filly to me, and today we had a little bit of déjà vu. It was almost exactly the same race as (the Tiffany Lass), and she’s set up to have a great year. We are really looking forward to it.”
Saturday’s other stakes contest, the $150,000, six-furlong Duncan F. Kenner Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, also featured an overwhelming favorite who delivered the goods. Maggi Moss’ Delaunay, a 6-year-old, won his fifth straight start — all coming in stakes races — this time by more than eight lengths with Napravnik aboard.
Tom Amoss-trained Delaunay entered the Kenner with 1-5 odds and, after starting on the outside post, easily overtook the rest of the field and cruised to the wire in the six-furlong dirt sprint. Delaunay’s time of 1:08.36 is the fastest six-furlong mark of the current Fair Grounds meet, and just a hair off the track record of 1:08.03 set in 2002 by Mountain General.
“He does it all,” Amoss said of Delaunay. “He’s a laid-back guy that doesn’t take a lot of care. He does his job every day. I like him a lot, and I feel very fortunate to have him, and with Maggi and I talking about what to do and how to do it, I think we have done a very good job with him.”