01/21/2012 8:29PM

Fair Grounds: Jones gang pulls off Lecomte, Silverbulletday double

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NEW ORLEANS – No one could keep up with the Joneses on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

A couple hours after Believe You Can, bred and owned by a Jones (Brereton) and trained by a Jones (Larry) won the Silverbulletday Stakes, Mr. Bowling marched to victory in the Grade 3, $175,000 Lecomte Stakes for the same Joneses, beating back late runs from Z Dager and Shared Property and putting himself on the path to the $1 million Louisiana Derby.

On Monday night, Larry Jones was in Southern California, picking up a Horse of the Year award for Havre de Grace’s 2011 season, but it did not take Jones long to kick 2012 into gear. Neither Believe You Can nor Mr. Bowling had started since October, but both came back to the races breathing fire.

“Both these horses had been working really well,” Jones said. “It was a good day.”

In fact, the two horses worked together on Jan. 9, going five furlongs in a bullet 58.80 seconds, with Mr. Bowling making up something like a six-length deficit in mid-stretch to finish on even terms.

“I think that was instrumental, me working him that day,” said winning rider Robby Albarado. “I learned he has a lot of fight.”

Fight was required of Mr. Bowling, who got a clean stalking trip in a 13-horse field. Fourth at the first call as Alexander Thegreat, Hero of Order, and Z Dager raced on the lead, Mr. Bowling remained prominent through fractions of 23.21 seconds for the first quarter-mile and a lively 47.22 for the opening half. Alexander Thegreat was the first to fold, with Hero of Order briefly leading after six furlongs in 1:12.88, at which point Mr. Bowling made his move. Edging clear without breaking away from the pack, Mr. Bowling fended off a wide run from Shared Property, then beat back a late move from Z Dager, who came off the rail to go outside Mr. Bowling and looked like a winner 50 yards out.

“Robby said every time they came to him, he kept giving more,” Jones said.

Mr. Bowling ($9.20) won by a head, with Z Dager a half-length better than Shared Property. Dan and Sheila, making his second start, rallied from last to finish fourth. He was followed by Hero of Order, Hammers Terror, Capetown Devil, Alexander Thegreat, Ted’s Folly, Adena’s Chance, Exfactor, Seven Lively Sins, and Chalybeate Springs. Winning time for the mile 70 yards was 1:43.49, 1.15 seconds slower than Believe You Can’s clocking in the Silverbulletday.

Jones said Mr. Bowling, a son of Brereton Jones’s young sire Istan who has won three of five starts, was likely to return in the Risen Star Stakes here Feb. 25.

“This colt has some attributes to him,” Albarado said. “He’s got size. He’s got fight. He’s very mature for a horse with only a few starts.”

Z Dager, racing after a maiden win in his second start, “was just a little too aggressive,” trainer Steve Asmussen said.  “He was on and off. I was disappointed he didn’t go by the winner once he’d gotten there.”

Tom Amoss, trainer of Shared Property, was pleased with his horse’s first race since Oct. 8. Shared Property broke from post 13 and raced wide around part of the first turn and through the stretch run.

“We got beat by the post position,” Amoss said. “Today’s race showed us we have a lot to look forward to.”