LOUISVILLE — Trainer Larry Jones knows the work Havre de Grace put in Monday won't silence any critics. Instead of listening to them though, Jones is going to trust what the filly is telling him.
In her last serious move before her expected start in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, Havre de Grace covered 5 furlongs in 1:02 over the Churchill Downs track with jockey Gabriel Saez.
The multiple Grade I winning daughter of Saint Liam didn't exactly light it up beneath the Twin Spires but Jones said he felt better seeing her nonchalant demeanor after and hearing from Saez how easily the filly handled it.
"Gabe's first impression before he heard the time was he felt it was just like before (her win in) the Beldame," Jones said. "Watching the helmet cam video, you could tell every time he called on her a little bit she gave him something. It probably wasn't as fast as all these other horses have been working. That was a concern when we first saw the time, but it looks like, watching her now and what little water she drank, it's more like a gallop than a work."
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While she has improved drastically since she first came into his barn, Jones said Havre de Grace has never been a great work horse in the mornings and that she tends to need a target in order to get the best run out of her.
"Maybe I should have thrown the target out there if we wanted something faster but we know we're fit," Jones said. "I wanted to kind of see how she got over the track and I never saw any bobble steps on her. I sure wouldn't give it an 'A' but knowing her, we're okay. We know what she's done. She shows up every time."
Big Drama works for Sprint
Trainer David Fawkes worked both of his Sprint contenders, Apriority and defending champion Big Drama, on Monday morning with jockey Jeffery Sanchez aboard each.
Big Drama, who won last year's race in gate-to-wire fashion, worked 4 furlongs in :49.60, and Apriority covered the same distance in :50.40. Big Drama has made only two starts this year, and he had to miss the Grade I Vosburgh on October 1 after spiking a fever.
"I have no complaints. Everything is good with him," Fawkes said.
My Miss Aurelia sharp in final drill
Undefeated filly My Miss Aurelia, the morning-line favorite for the Juvenile Fillies, breezed 4 furlongs in :49.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of Smart Strike enters the Juvenile Fillies off a 51/2-length victory in the Grade I Frizette on Oct. 8.
"It was a nice half mile," Asmussen said. "She got over the track well and was nice and relaxed. We're keeping her happy."