NEW ORLEANS (Saturday, March 29, 2014) – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble, so impressive winning the Grade III Lecomte Stakes here by 6 ¾-lengths Jan. 18 but compromised by an unfavorable outside post in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes Feb. 22 when he finished third, returned to his winning ways with 3 ½-length front-running victory in Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots with Fair Grounds’ soon-to-be four-time defending jockey champion Rosie Napravnik aboard.
After establishing early fractions of :23.56 and :47.86, Napravnik kept the small but compactly-built son of Into Mischief going with good handling and the eventual winning result was never seriously in doubt. Vicar’s in Trouble accomplished the nine-furlongs in 1:50.77, returning mutuels of $8.60, $4.40 and $3 and increased his lifetime earnings to $788,900 with three wins from five trips to the post.
“You know he’s a tiny horse but he’s got a great big heart,” said Napravnik.
Starlight Racing’s favored Intense Holiday, who won the Grade II Risen Star Stakes here five weeks ago, was void of early foot, commenced a rally approaching the lane, ducked in sharply almost hitting the rail in the stretch run to lose momentum and could not threaten the winner while clearly second best by 1 ½-lengths in front of West Point Stable’s Commanding Curve.
“The inside horse jumped out, right on me, but the race was over at that point,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who rode Intense Holiday.
Intense Holiday returned $3.20 and $2.60 while Commanding Curve paid $5.20 in the show position.
In Trouble finished fourth and Albano fifth, but that order was reversed by the stewards for In Trouble’s bumping incident with Albano leaving the backstretch.
Flat Gone, King Cyrus, Gold Hawk, Louies Flower and Rise Up completed the order of finish.