03/05/2012 11:08AM

Fair Grounds: Havre de Grace works with Joyful Victory for New Orleans Ladies

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Hodges Photography/Alexander Barkoff
Havre de Grace outfinishes stablemate Joyful Victory in their Monday workout at Fair Grounds.

Havre de Grace, the 2011 Horse of the Year, worked six furlongs in 1:11.40 on Monday morning at Fair Grounds, her most strenuous exercise since she finished fourth Nov. 5 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The workout pleased her trainer, Larry Jones, who said Havre de Grace remains on course to make her 2012 debut March 17 in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes.

Havre de Grace, with regular morning rider Jen Brasser up, worked in company with another graded-stakes-class older-female, Joyful Victory, who went five furlongs in 58.40 seconds. The pair worked together to the finish line, at which point Havre de Grace continued on another furlong while Joyful Victory slowed down to a gallop. Jones said Havre de Grace galloped out a full mile.

Jones toyed for more than a week with working Havre de Grace with Joyful Victory, the talented 4-year-old who finished fourth as the favorite in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks.

“I just decided to let them do it,” Jones said. “We figured it might be like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen going one-on-one.”

Joyful Victory, ridden by Robby Albarado on Monday, held her own in the work, which Jones called the strongest of a post-injury comeback that began last fall and produced a last-start win in the Tiffany Lass Stakes at Fair Grounds. Joyful Victory - owned, like Havre de Grace, by Rick Porter – also is scheduled to race March 17, in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn.

Havre de Grace posted the first timed workout of her 5-year-old season on Feb. 10 and has come along quickly. Monday’s strong work was her fifth of the year, and Jones said the mare’s fitness level basically has reached race readiness.

“We’re right where we want to be with her,” he said.