NEW ORLEANS (January 18, 2014) – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Louisiana-bred Vicar’s in Trouble, a well-regarded second choice in the wagering in Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, became the first Louisiana-bred horse since One Tough Cat in 1987 to win the first leg of a three-race series that will conclude with the $1 million Louisiana Derby on March 29 at the Crescent City oval.
“He’s got natural speed,” said Napravnik. “Options (were) open. He could have gotten the lead (or) could have sat off (the pace.) The horse has been improving. I think he’s a little immature but I think he can move up a lot from this race.”
The winner, who broke his maiden at last asking by 13 lengths here, ironically on Dec. 14’s Louisiana Champions Day, accomplished the mile and 70 yard distance in 1:42.57 and returned mutuels of $5.40, $4 and $2.80. He increased his career earnings to $148,900 with the second win of his three-race career.
Maker’s assistant trainer Joe Sharp, Napravnik’s husband, offered his own assessment about his horse’s first effort at two turns.
“It’s something you have to try at this point in the year with a 3-year-old,” Sharp said. “He’s never given us any reason he wouldn’t go the distance. He’s naturally quick but he is very pliable and has a good brain. It seems like you can handle whatever you ask of him.”
Brereton C. Jones’s Albano, trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Kerwin Clark, was well placed early, could not stay with the winner in the lane but held the place, paying $8 and $3.80.
“Good trip,” said Clark. “We got the pace we wanted and went after the leader at the three-eighths pole, but we just got tired. I think the horse might have been a little confused around two turns. He wanted to go and we just kept doing a stop-and-go thing. He’s got a lot of upside.”
The wagering favorite disappointed in the Lecomte as Winchell Thoroughbreds’ odds-on Gold Hawk finished third returning $2.20 while a half-length behind Albano. However, he was fractious when being loaded in the gate. Gold Hawk’s jockey Shaun Bridgmohan remained positive.
“He had a smooth trip,” said Bridgmohan. “The horse has a lot of upside and is only going to get better.”
Roman Unbridled, Got Shades, Plug Catcher, Silent Ruler, Rainbow Trip, and Smarty’s Echo completed the order of finish.