This weekend marks the debut of the 20-12 Horse of the Year at the Fair Grounds. The 5-year-old mare Havre de Grace (hah-vrah deh grace) is in a field of five for Saturday’s New Orleans Ladies race.
For only the third time since 1942, a reigning Horse of the Year is competing at the Fair Grounds. Trainer Larry Jones says he’s thrilled she’s still racing at the relatively old age of five, and not retired.
“She’s got a bull’s-eye on her back. Everybody’s going to try to beat her. And then the pressure’s on us to try to, you know, keep her running as well as she can and placing her in the right spots. It’s going to be exciting for racing. You know, this’ll be like bringing Michael Jordan back for another season to play. It’s great. People will come out to see her, and we’re glad to be a part of that team.”
Jones says he anticipates that Havre de Grace will be among the elite line-up at the Breeder’s Cup – and compete against boys along the way.
“We’re just bringing her along and letting her tell us, you know, what to do and what not to do. I mean, I guess that’s the only advantage to whenever you get to be as old as I am, a little experience has come into it and you learn to listen to the horse.”
The New Orleans Ladies race is scheduled at 4:50 Saturday afternoon, with a $150,000 prize.