03/09/2013 6:08PM

Fair Grounds: Believe You Can delivers in New Orleans Ladies

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Believe You Can dominated the New Orleans Ladies to improve to 2 for 2 in 2013.

NEW ORLEANS – Believe You Can had little more than a paid workout Saturday at Fair Grounds when strolling to a 5 3/4-length triumph in the fourth running of the $145,500 New Orleans Ladies.

The victory was the second in as many starts since Believe You Can, the 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner, returned from a layoff of more than seven months. She was the 1-20 favorite in a field of six fillies and mares.

“I am very pleased to get to bring her back this year and in this fashion, where you really don’t have to have the gut-wrenching, demanding efforts coming right off the bench,” said Larry Jones, who trains the 4-year-old filly for former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones. “We’ve got a great bottom in her now.”

Believe You Can, with Rosie Napravnik aboard, broke best of all from her outside post in the 1 1/16-mile race and never was seriously threatened after securing a clear lead into the first turn. A homebred by Proud Citizen, she finished in 1:44.48 over a fast track.

“She really is a special filly to me,” said Napravnik, who last year became the first female jockey to win the Oaks when winning aboard Believe You Can.

As for future starts, Larry Jones said he is “working backward” from his end-of-year goal, the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic in early November, and that the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes on the May 3 Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs would be the next logical race for Believe You Can.

Imposing Grace, the second choice at 15-1, finished a clear second, followed by a pair of Jones trainees, Young And Lovely and Totally Tucker.

Predictably, the exotics were minuscule. The $2 exacta (6-1) paid $5.20; the $1 trifecta (6-1-3) returned $4.40; and the 10-cent superfecta (6-1-3-5) was worth $1.36.

From a win pool of $211,811, there was $187,290 bet on Believe You Can. In the show pool, $317,904 of $337,423 was on her. She returned $2.10 to win, place, and show.

Brereton Jones was on hand for the race.