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Jan 27, 2012

Bowling for Dollars in the Big Easy

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Trainer Larry Jones has another contender for the Triple Crown races this year. That should not be a shock as he has become one of the top trainers in the nation.

This past Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Jones saddled Mr. Bowling for owner Brereton Jones, no relation, in the $175,000 Lecomte Stakes. The mile and 70 yard stakes kicked off the track's three-year-old series for Kentucky Derby hopefuls.

Mr. Bowling, ridden by Robby Albarado, broke from post four in the 13-horse field. Never far off the pace, the colt was sent wide around the final turn.

"I figured if I could get him clear turning for home, and give him a chance to run home he would," Albarado said. "When that horse (Z Dager) ran to him late, he gave me some second effort."

Mr. Bowling was one of several horses across the track at the top of the stretch. He was able find room between horses down the stretch and repel the surging Z Dager who was part of the favored entry with Dan and Sheila.

"To be honest, we thought (Mr. Bowling) was just starting to get good," the winning trainer noted during the winner's circle ceremonies. "He's maturing at the right time. He really showed an affinity for this track when we got down here. I can tell he liked it better than anywhere we've been to this point. He pretty well got himself ready. Having Believe You Can, they?ve been work mates. They got each other ready and it paid off."

Believe You Can, also owned by the former Kentucky governor, won Saturday's $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds for Larry Jones. The three- year-old filly, who was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, follows in the footsteps of Jones' earlier filly horses, Eight Belles and 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

"Yesterday was a good day," the trainer said Sunday morning, "that's for sure. The Governor (Brereton Jones) was also very happy about the whole thing. He couldn't make it down here yesterday, but I've probably talked to him more on the phone yesterday and again this morning more than we have in a long time. He's still very excited about how things went yesterday."

For three-year-old colts and geldings the next race on the Kentucky Derby trail in New Orleans is the Risen Star Stakes on February 25. Along with the Lecomte champ other horses being pointed toward the Risen Star is Saturday's third-place finisher Shared Property and runner-up Z Dager.

"I thought (Shared Property) ran a really good race yesterday," Amoss said Sunday about the 4-1 morning-line favorite for the Lecomte. "Obviously, we were at a disadvantage because of the outside post (13), but we knew that before the race and we were pleased enough with the way the colt ran that we're going to look at the next race for him.

"We think he's going to become a very nice horse for us. He hadn't run in a long time before yesterday's race, but Leandro (Goncalves) and I have been working with him since I got him last summer and that race yesterday was just a first step for us."

Steve Asmussen trains Z Dager for Zayat Stables and is enthusiastic about the second-place finish on Saturday.

"I think it was huge for his third race, coming out of a maiden race, to run as well as he did," Asmussen said.

The $1 million Louisiana Derby is set for Sunday, April 1.

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