03/14/2011 1:24PM

Azeri: Havre de Grace tunes up

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Larry Jones says Havre de Grace will be based at Delaware Park this summer and point to the track's most prestigious event, the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in July.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Havre de Grace is all set for a rematch with champion Blind Luck this weekend after breezing five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 on Monday morning at Oaklawn Park. The fillies are scheduled to meet for the fifth time Saturday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri. The race is Oaklawn’s prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap.

Havre de Grace will be making her first start of the year in the Azeri. She won the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon over Blind Luck in October, and prior to that was second to the eventual champion in both the Grade 1 Alabama and the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks. Blind Luck and Havre de Grace also met in the Breeder’s Cup Ladies’ Classic and finished a respective second and third to Unrivalled Belle.

On Monday morning, Havre de Grace came onto the track about 7:10 a.m. Central, accompanied by a stable pony ridden by her trainer, Larry Jones. She backtracked to the wire on a track labeled wet-fast, then turned around and proceeded by herself to the five-eighths pole, where she began her work under jockey Jenna Joubert.

Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton carried Havre de Grace through an opening eighth-mile in 12.20 seconds. She continued through fractions of 24.20 for the opening quarter, 36.40 for three-furlongs, and 48.40 for the half-mile. Havre de Grace worked in hand and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80 in what was a maintenance move for her Monday.

“We had our major work last week,” Jones said. “We didn’t need some pedestrian pace, but she didn’t have to get a lot of fitness out of this. Just go stretch her legs.”

Ramon Dominguez has the mount on Havre de Grace in the Azeri, which has eight early probables. The race will share a card with the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes.