02/11/2012 7:44PM

Fair Grounds: Joyful Victory takes Tiffany Lass

Lou Hodges Jr.
Joyful Victory, with Robby Albarado up, wins the Tiffany Lass

Joyful Victory won her first race since April, turning back a strong bid from Ravi's Song to capture the $75,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Ravi's Song, who won this same race last year when it was called the Pelleteri Stakes, rallied from near the back of the field under apprentice rider C.J. McMahon and poked her head in front of Joyful Victory at the stretch call, but Joyful Victory and Robby Albarado fought back in the final half-furlong to prevail by a half-length.

"I was awful proud of that second effort, because I didn't know. She'd never had to show me that," said Larry Jones, who trains Joyful Victory for owner Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farms.

The top two were much the best. Juanita, who set fractions of 24.49 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 48.67 for the first half, finished third, five lengths behind Ravi's Song. Winning time for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:45.09. Joyful Victory, the heavy favorite, paid $3.80.

A 4-year-old Tapit filly, Joyful Victory won two early-season Oaklawn Park 3-year-old filly stakes in blowout fashion last year to move to the top of her division, but her form deteriorated after a decent fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks, and until Saturday's victory she hadn't won since capturing the Fantasy Stakes last April 10.

Jones, of course, also trains reigning Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, who races in the same division as Joyful Victory. The two horses won't run against each other this winter, Jones said, and it would be logical for one of them to head to Oaklawn, which has a strong program for older females going two turns.