Larry Jones Tuning Up Street Band For Apple Blossom Engagement

Millionaire Grade 1 winner Street Band is scheduled to work Monday or Tuesday in advance of a scheduled start April 18 in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) for older fillies and mares at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., trainer Larry Jones said Saturday morning.

Street Band will be breezing for the first time since finishing fourth, beaten 8 ¼ lengths by Serengeti Empress, in the $350,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 14, the final major local prep for the Apple Blossom. The Azeri, run over a sloppy, sealed surface, continued Street Band’s pattern of following up a strong performance with a disappointing one, Jones said.

Among the country’s leading 3-year-old fillies of 2019, Street Band won the $400,000 Fair Grounds (G2), then finished sixth in the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1), won the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G3), then finished third in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) and won the $1 million Cotillion Stakes (G1) before finishing eighth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

“She does not prefer the mud track and it was also the every-other race that was her time to throw a bad race,” Jones said. “So, if that was her bad race, it will be very similar to the Alabama, when she came out of it and won the Cotillion. We’re right on Street Band’s schedule. It may not be Larry’s schedule, but, apparently, it’s Street Band’s schedule.”

Jones said Sophie Doyle, Street Band’s regular rider, is scheduled to have the mount for the 1 1/16-mile Apple Blossom, one of the country’s most prestigious two-turn events for older fillies and mares.

Jones saddled Havre de Grace to win the 2011 Apple Blossom, one of her five stakes victories that year en route to Horse of the Year honors. She won the Azeri in her seasonal debut.

Jones has won the Fantasy, Oaklawn’s biggest prize for 3-year-old fillies, three times and said he may have a starter in the $400,000 Grade 3 event May 1 in unbeaten Quick Decision, who cleared her first allowance condition sprinting Thursday.

Ridden by Terry Thompson, Quick Decision ($17.20) came from just off the pace to post a three-quarter length victory for Jones and longtime client Brereton Jones, who bred and owns the daughter of Istan. Quick Decision, who has never raced around two turns, broke her maiden Feb. 17.

Larry Jones said the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy is now in play after it was moved from its original date, April 10.

“We’re going to take a look at it and see, but that is what we’re going to start training toward,” Jones said. “There aren’t a lot of other options right now. That’s stepping off the deep end pretty quick, or could be, but we’ve just have to go take our shots.”

Jones won the Fantasy in 2003 with Ruby’s Reception, his first career graded stakes victory, in 2008 with Eight Bells and in 2011 with Joyful Victory.

Nominations to the Fantasy close April 23.

Projected Fantasy starters British Idiom and Shedaresthedevil each worked a half-mile over a sloppy surface just after the track opened Saturday morning for trainer Brad Cox. British Idiom, the country’s champion 2-year-old filly, went in :51.60 under exercise rider Gustavo Abrego, the brother of Jorgito Abrego, who oversees Cox’s Oaklawn division. Shedaresthedevil went in :49.40 under exercise rider Edvin Vargas.

Co-owned by Staton Flurry of Hot Springs, Shedaresthedevil won the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 in her last start. The Honeybee is traditionally the final major local prep for the Fantasy.

The post Larry Jones Tuning Up Street Band For Apple Blossom Engagement appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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