LECOMTE STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 3 | 1 MILE, 70 YARDS
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Vicar's in Trouble drew off to a 6 ¾-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte at Fair Grounds, jumping straight from a 13-length win over Louisiana-bred maidens to smashing success in a Kentucky Derby prep race. Rosie Napravnik rode the Mike Maker-trained colt.
A scoring racing in the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" series, the one-mile and 70-yard Lecomte was worth 10 points to the winner.
"You don't know [how they'll handle two turns] until you really do it," Napravnik said. "He certainly seemed to handle the distance with no problems."
Third when making his career debut in six-furlong maiden special weight on Keeneland's Polytrack October 11, Vicar's in Trouble broke his maiden at the same distance against restricted foes at Fair Grounds on December 14.
He was sent off the 8-5 second choice among nine rivals in his two-turn debut Saturday and tracked Roman Unbridled through opening fractions of :23 ⅗ seconds and :47 ⅘ seconds.
Vicar's in Trouble moved along the pacesetter on the far turn, sticking a head in front through six furlongs in 1:13, and the three-year-old kicked clear entering the straightaway.
"He's got natural speed which left our options open," Napravnik said. "Could have gotten the lead. Could have sat off. The horse has been improving and I think he is still a little immature, but I think he can move up a lot from this race."
The dark bay son of Into Mischief drifted toward the rail while increasing the margin in midstretch and was under a hand ride late, stopping the teletimer in 1:42 ⅗ on the fast track.
"Well it's [tying two turns] something that you have to try at this point in the year with a three-year-old," Maker assistant Joe Sharp said. "He never has given us any reason that he wouldn't go the distance."
Albano, who entered the Lecomte off of a victory in the six-furlong Sugar Bowl on December 21, stalked the pace in third before advancing to take second in the stretch and held his position to the wire, finishing a half-length better than third-placer and 6-5 favorite Gold Hawk.
It was another length back to Roman Unbridled in fourth, and Got Shades, Plug Catcher, Silent Ruler, Rainbow Trip and Smarty's Echo completed the order of finish.
Vicar's in Trouble paid $5.40 to win. The Grade 2 Risen Star, a 1 1/16-mile scoring race at Fair Grounds on February 22, is a logical target for the improving colt.
"He's naturally quick but he is very pliable and has a good brain," Sharp said. "It seems like he can handle whatever you ask of him."
Bred in Louisiana by Spendthrift Farm, Vicar's in Trouble sold initially for $8,000 at a yearling at the 2012 Equine Sales Louisiana September sale. He was purchased by his current connections for $80,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Maryland May two-year-old sale.
Vicar's in Trouble is out of the winning Vicar mare Vibrant, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner True Direction. This is the female family of multiple Grade 1 hero Big Spruce; Grade 3 heroine Jabot; and multiple stakes winner and multiple Grade 1 runner-up Encolure.