Horse of the Year Havre de Grace breezed five furlongs in :59 3/5 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots March 12 in preparation for her 2012 debut in the March 17 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Louisiana racetrack.
Owned by Fox Hill Farms and trained by Larry Jones, the 4-year-old mare worked in company with unraced 3-year-old filly Just Jan. Regular exercise rider Jen Brasser was aboard Havre de Grace.
According to Fair Grounds officials, Just Jan, with Rosie Napravnik riding, was about a half-length in front of Havre de Grace through fractions of :12 4/5, :36 2/5, and :48 2/5. Havre de Grace finished about a half-length in front of her stablemate at the wire.
"We didn't want her to work too fast," Jones told Fair Grounds officials. "The beauty of it was she sat off just like we wanted her to, she wasn't too aggressive, and she went right to the lead when she was supposed to. Mentally she's right where we want her.
"She's controllable, and we know she's fast. She's ready to go."
Jones said the workmate was necessary to help Brasser gauge how fast she was going, because riders have been deceived by how easily Havre de Grace, by Saint Liam, can click off quick fractions.
The field for the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes, for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles, will be drawn March 14.