02/05/2013 3:57PM

Fair Grounds: Believe You Can gets year off to solid start

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Larry Jones confirmed Tuesday that the New Orleans Ladies on March 9 is the probable next stop for Believe You Can.

Believe You Can had a sharp 1 1/16-mile workout Saturday afternoon that paid her connections $60,000. Another name for the event was the Tiffany Lass Stakes, but Believe You Can so overmatched her four foes – she won by 10 1/2 lengths while geared down the final half-furlong – that the race might as well have been a work.

But even an easy race like the Tiffany Lass is worth considerably more than even the fastest work, and Believe You Can’s first start since June should help move her forward into the heart of her early-season campaign.

“A race gets their juices going again,” said trainer Larry Jones, who reported on Tuesday that Believe You Can had emerged from her 4-year-old debut in good condition.

Jones confirmed Tuesday that the New Orleans Ladies on March 9 is the probable next stop for Believe You Can, and it’s difficult to imagine many serious rivals shipping to New Orleans to face a Kentucky Oaks winner in a $150,000 listed race. The other Fair Grounds-based mare in Believe You Can’s class, Joyful Victory, also is trained by Jones, and her next start will send her to California for Santa Margarita in search of a Grade 1 victory.

“You’re kind of limited right now in where you can run,” Jones said of Believe You Can’s upcoming schedule. “The New Orleans Ladies is a good spot. She can run out of her own stall.”

Jones wouldn’t commit to a target for Believe You Can beyond next month. The Apple Blossom at Oaklawn was possible, as is the Fleur de Lis at Churchill.

Meanwhile, Jones put his two candidates for the Feb. 23 Rachel Alexandra Stakes, Dancinginthecircle and Smitten, through recent Fair Grounds workouts. Dancinginthecircle went five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Saturday, while Smitten went a bullet three furlongs in 34.80 seconds on Tuesday morning. Smitten lagged far behind the early leaders before rallying well for third in the Jan. 19 Silverbulletday Stakes, and Jones said a few days afterward he wanted to see Smitten be more aggressive in her training and racing. Tuesday’s drill was a step in that direction.

“Smitten is just kind of coming around, starting to get a little better at the right time,” Jones said.

Dancinginthecircle worked for the first time since winning the $100,000 By The Light stakes on Jan. 4 at Delta.