Jensen likely to skip Louisiana Derby in favor of Spiral

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TwinSpires Staff

March 10th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Trainer Larry Jones’ homebred Jensen is likely to skip the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 26 at Fair Grounds and instead ship to Turfway Park for the $500,000 Spiral (G3) on April 2 for his breeder-owner-trainer.

The chestnut son of Haynesfield is out of a mare by Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up and 2007 Spiral winner Hard Spun, one of Jones’ top trainees.

“Hard Spun never got beat on the Poly(track) and Jensen reminds me of him so much,” Jones explained. “He was tough like Jensen and I think it’s a good spot for him.”

Jensen took two tries to break his maiden, getting the job done on January 10 while going six furlongs. The Kentucky-bred colt stretched out to a mile and 70 yards for his next two starts against allowance/optional claiming company, just missing by three parts of a length in his first attempt and then wiring his next by 6 3/4 lengths on February 25.

All four of Jensen’s lifetime starts have come over Fair Grounds’ fast main track under jockey Florent Geroux, who is likely to keep the mount for the Spiral in what could be a prep for the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 7.

In other Louisiana Derby news, Risen Star (G2) winner Gun Runner worked five furlongs at Fair Grounds on Monday in 1:01.20 under Geroux for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Tom’s Ready, second in the Lecomte (G3) and seventh in the Risen Star in his past two, put in another drill for the Louisiana Derby when going three-quarters in 1:13.40 for trainer Dallas Stewart on Thursday at Fair Grounds.

While Gun Runner and Tom’s Ready, along with many others from the Risen Star, line back up in the Louisiana Derby, Venus Valentine will attempt to prove her 74-1 upset of the Rachel Alexandra (G2) was no fluke when taking part in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks earlier on the Louisiana Derby card.

The homebred daughter of Congrats already shows signs that her rallying one-length victory in the Rachel Alexandra is repeatable with a five-furlong workout in 1:02 on Wednesday at Fair Grounds for trainer Tom Amoss.

It was the second move from Venus Valentine, following a half-mile work in :49 on March 1, since her Rachel Alexandra victory.

“She’s doing well,” Amoss said. “Her work was a lot like her works leading up to the Rachel Alexandra. She seems to be maintaining her readiness.

“We definitely benefited from a suicidal pace last time,” he continued. “I don’t know if that happens again, but for her to be successful, she’s got to make herself a little more tactical. Hopefully she can do that (in the Fair Grounds Oaks).”

Other Rachel Alexandra runners who could be headed to the Fair Grounds Oaks worked on Monday over the New Orleans venue’s fast track.

Silverbulletday S. winner Stageplay, fifth last out as the 3-5 favorite in the Rachel Alexandra, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 under Geroux for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Stablemate Royal Obsession, fourth by only 1 3/4 lengths last out in her stakes debut in the Rachel Alexandra, covered five-eighths in 1:01.40 for Asmussen.

Lovable Lyss recorded a sharp half-mile in :48.60 for owner/trainer Hugh Robertson in her first move since a disappointing sixth in the Rachel Alexandra.

Screenshot of Jensen winning on February 25