01/08/2013 4:25PM

Fair Grounds: Larry Jones has another Fair Grounds Oaks prospect

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Dancinginthecircle, with Terry Thompson in the saddle, romps in the By The Light at Delta Downs.

Trainer Larry Jones has won two editions of the Fair Grounds Oaks, including last year’s race with Believe You Can. You’ll be excused if you missed the emergence of Jones’s latest Oaks hopeful.

Dancinginthecircle turned in a breakthrough performance last Friday night, but did so at Delta Downs in western Louisiana, where she smoothly won the $100,000 By the Light Stakes by nine lengths. Her two-turn, seven-furlong time of 1:25 was fast by Delta standards and produced an 88 Beyer Speed Figure, by far the best of Dancinginthecircle’s six-start career.

“I think we’re learning more about her,” Jones said. “We felt good going into that race. We’re trying to teach her to do the two turns, and maybe the plan is coming together now.”

Dancinginthecircle should see Fair Grounds stakes action in her next start – quite likely the Feb. 23 Rachel Alexandra – just like several other horses from the Jones barn. Believe You Can and Mark Valeski are nearing their 2013 debuts, and another 3-year-old filly, Smitten, is booked for the Jan. 19 Silverbulletday Stakes. The older mare Joyful Victory is on target to start Jan. 26 at Sam Houston in the inaugural $400,000 Ladies Classic.

Dancinginthecircle is by the young stallion Divine Park and out of an Orientate mare named Allude. Her pedigree is light for a couple of generations, but her third dam, Sharon Brown, produced Horse of the Year Holy Bull. Owned by Bret Jones, Dancinginthecircle won her career debut at Ellis Park, but then lost four consecutive races. There were a couple of tough trips, a Keeneland Polytrack flop, and an encounter with talented Pure Fun, who won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet shortly after defeating Dancinginthecircle. Jones also has started to wonder if a busy 2-year-old schedule suited Dancinginthecircle.

“She had quite a bit of time from her last Churchill race,” Jones said. “I was probably getting her races a little too close together.”

As for Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, Jones has put the brakes on her training – not because anything is amiss, but because Believe You Can has come around too quickly. Believe You Can hasn’t raced since June 23, when she was third in the Mother Goose, and she posted only the first timed workout of her comeback Dec. 3, but five days after that, Believe You Can rocketed three furlongs in 34.40 seconds. She then worked a sharp half-mile Dec. 14 and a near-bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Dec. 21, and Jones has decided to take more time between breezes in advance of Believe You Can’s intended comeback race, the Feb. 2 Tiffany Lass.

“She’s ready right now, and instead of working every five days, we’re going to go 10 or 12,” Jones said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever had a horse get ready that fast.”

Mark Valeski, unraced since winning the May 12 Peter Pan Stakes, has turned in a pair of sub-1:00 five-furlong drills in recent weeks and will make the first start of his 4-year-old season in one of Fair Grounds’s dirt-route stakes for older horses, Jones said.

Smitten, Jones’s filly for the Silverbulletday, finished fourth and third in Kentucky maiden races before breaking through in a two-turn Fair Grounds dirt maiden Dec. 16. Smitten worked five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 on Monday.

“This filly seems like she’s starting to get good at the right time,” said Jones – who might as well have been referring to the entire upper echelon of his already productive Fair Grounds stable.

Seaneen Girl to go in Silverbulletday

Seaneen Girl, the 31-1 upset winner of the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes in her most recent start, will be among Smitten’s opponents in the Silverbulletday. Her trainer, Bernie Flint, was considering both the Silverbulletday and the Rachel Alexandra for Seaneen Girl’s 3-year-old debut. Flint has said he plans to start Seaneen Girl in two of Fair Grounds’s three dirt-route stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

“She’s been working regularly, had no problems,” Flint said Monday.”We’re going to go ahead and go.”

One promising filly who won’t start in the Silverbulletday is Deceptive Vision, a Sam-Son Farms homebred by A.P. Indy who was an impressive second-start maiden winner in a two-turn dirt race Jan. 4 at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce said Deceptive Vision’s primary early season goal is the Woodbine Oaks in June, and that her races this winter will be well spaced. Pierce said he hopes to run Deceptive Vision back in a first-level allowance race – either on dirt or turf – in five or six weeks.