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2020 "Road to the Derby" Kickoff Day at the Fair Grounds

horse racing
Julien Leparoux celebrates aboard Enforceable after the Lecomte Stakes

Photos courtesy of Steve Queen

Date: 01/18/2020

Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans hosted its "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day" card on Saturday with 6 stakes races, 2 graded. Conditions were cloudy with temperatures in the mid 70's, with the main track fast and the Stall-Wilson turf course firm The highlight of the afternoon was the $200,000 LeComte Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds going 1 mile 70 yards on the main track. The race is a points-scoring race in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the points system used to determine Derby starting spots. Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) fourth place finisher Scabbard was sent off as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite in the field of 13. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Silver State, 2nd in an allowance at Churchill last out, and 5-1 third choice Sycamore Run, a debut winner last out at Fair Grounds.

horse racing
Enforceable wins the 2020 Lecomte Stakes
Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. sent 73-1 Bango to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.46 and 47.41 while pressed by 13-1 Shashashakemeup and stalked by 37-1 Jack the Umpire. On the far turn Bango tired allowing Shashashakemeup to inherit the front through 3/4 in 1:12.20. Entering the stretch, 7-1 Enforceable, 11th early under Julien Leparoux, came out 6 wide for room and quickly took over the lead through 1 mile in 1:37.44. Silver State, 9th early under Ricardo Santana Jr., put in a strong rally but Enforceable easily held him off by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:43.72. It was a neck back to 13-2 Mr. Monompy third, while Scabbard checked in 5th.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Enforceable in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mark Casse said, "It's nice to win the Lecomte again, but I was concerned. How many times do you see a horse make a big, wide move and flatten out? But he's changed. He was a big, gangly teenage boy and now he's a man, and he's a man with a big pedigree. I told Mr. Oxley when (Enforceable) was a 2-year-old that he might be a good horse, and it's sure taken a long time for him to prove it. He's a beautiful horse with a big pedigree, and he's just had to learn."

Right: Enforceable in the post parade. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He broke like he usually does, not as fast as others. We traveled well the whole race and down the backside he was just dragging me. When we got around the second turn I got out in the clear and he had a big run. He's a horse that I am very excited about."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Silver State in the post parade. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said, "I think he ran pretty good. It was his first time going two turns and he handled it well. We expect a lot from that horse in the future."

Right: Third place finisher Mr. Monomoy in the post parade. The Brad Cox trainee improved his record to 1 win, 1 second, and 1 third in 4 starts, earning $87,162 for owners Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and Doheny Racing Stable.

horse racing
Fifth place finisher and beaten favorite Scabbard heads out to the track before the race. The Eddie Kenneally trainee has a record of 1 win, 2 seconds, and 0 thirds in 5 starts, earning $236,848 for owner-breeder Joseph Sutton.


horse racing
Finite wins the 2020 Silverbulletday Stakes

The distaff counterpart to the Lecomte is the $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies also going a mile and 70 yards on the main track and scores 10 points in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Golden Rod (G2) winner Finite was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the field of 8 over 3-1 Portrait, 3rd in the Pocahontas (G2), and 8-1 Tempers Rising, a maiden winner at 5th asking last out at Churchill Downs.

Jockey Mitchell Murrill sent 16-1 Ursula to the lead first time by and she set fractions of 24.23, 48.72, and 1:13.64 while pressed by 9-1 His Glory and stalked by Finite. Turning for home, jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. sent Finite to the lead through 1 mile in 1:38.73. Ursula attempted to come back but Finite held her off to win by a neck in 1:42.73. It was a head back to Tempers Rising third.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Finite in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, What a quality filly. She has earned everything she's gotten. She's done everything we've asked of her. She battled, kept in front, and we are very proud of her."

Right: Finite walks over before the race. Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said, "She's an amazing filly. She did a great job. She's a fighting filly and I'm thankful we got the victory. She broke really good. I sat off the pace, she was really happy with our position. When the horses turned for home, I had (Ursula) in the inside and horses to the outside. (Finite) kept fighting all the way to the wire and we got the victory."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Ursula walks over before the race. Jockey Mitchell Murrill said, "We were hoping to have a good forward break from the gate and she put us on the lead. I nursed her along as well as I could. She had a nice easy pace and was very comfortable. She sprinted home down the lane, but we fell just a little short."

Right: Third place finisher Tempers Rising in the post parade. The Dallas Stewart trainee improved her record to 1 win, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 6 starts, earning $122,112 for owners Mark and Nancy Stanley.

horse racinghorse racingLeft: This was trainer Steve Asmussen's 1000th career stakes wiin, as only the third trainer to reach that milestone. He said, "It was extremely fitting that (the milestone) was accomplished with a Winchell homebred. I think all of our success is based on family and that approach. From my parents, where they started, this is another filly that came through their program. Ron's father Vern employed my father before we were doing this professionally. We feel like we are just at the tip of the iceberg with huge things in front of us."

Right: The fillies break from the gate for the Silverbulletday Stakes.


horse racing
Dontblamerocket wins the 2020 Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap

A field of 8 older horses went to post in the $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. River City Handicap (G3) winner Mr. Misunderstood was sent off as the 3-2 favorite over 5-1 Factor This, 3rd in the Dilberto Memorial, and 11-2 Parlor, 2nd in an allowance/optional claimer last out (when he was claimed by his current connections).

Jockey Mitchell Murrill sent 7-1 Sailing Solo to the lead first time by through fractions of 22.76, 46.95, and 1:10.60 while pressed by Factor This and stalked by 6-1 fourth choice Dontblamerocket. Turning for home, jockey Julien Leparoux sent Dontblamerocket to the lead through 1 mile in 1:34.49. Kept to task by Leparoux, Dontblamerocket drew off late to win by 3 lengths over 17-1 Midnight Tea Time in 1:40.55. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Factor This third, while favorite Mr. Misunderstood trailed throughout and faded late to finish last beaten 8 lengths.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Dontblamerocket in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Norm Casse said, "We had a big run around the turn and the race was over after that. I think everybody dreams of winning a stakes race off the claim. I think we have been really successful (claiming) just because we are realistic. Horses kind of dictate our decisions. This horse deserved to be in stake races because he had earned it. We look forward to seeing what he will do after this. I'd say that would be ideal thing to do is stay at Fair Grounds for the series (of turf stakes)."

Right: Dontblamerocket in the post parade. Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He did great. We had a great trip. We stayed a couple lengths behind the two leaders and he was traveling around nice and relaxed. When I asked him, strong and was trying very hard for me."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Midnight Tea Time in the post parade. Jockey Adam Beschizza said, "I had a dream trip," jockey Adam Beschizza said of the runner-up. "They went fast up front. That's his ideal place to sit. If he has three or four to spot. He definitely does not like to be in front too soon, that's what I've learned. Joe (Sharp) has learned that also. Definitely a good trip, there are no excuses. He ran his race. The winner was by far the best."

Right: Third place finisher Factor This in the post parade. The Brad Cox trainee improved his record to 7 wins, 3 seconds, and 4 thirds in 26 starts, earning $455,030 for owner Gaining Ground Racing.

horse racing
Last place finisher and beaten favorite Mr. Misunderstood walks over before the race. The Brad Cox trainee has a record of 13 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 27 starts, earning $918,204 for owner Flurry Racing Stables.


horse racing
Quebec wins the 2020 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes

The $100,000 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Stakes featured a field of 9 older fillies and mares also going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Pan Zareta Stakes 4th place finisher Quebec was sent off as the 9-5 favorite over 2-1 La Signare, 3rd in an allowance at Keeneland last out, and 8-1 Stave, 2nd in the Blushing K.D.

Jockey Adam Beschizza sent Quebec to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.30, 48.09, and 1:12.45 while pressed by 17-1 Makealitlemischief and stalked by 8-1 Smart Emma. Entering the lane, Quebec opened up a 1 1/2 length lead through 1 mile in 1:36.18. 17-1 Don't Tell Marge, 7th early under Corey Lanerie, put in a strong 4 wide rally but Quebec held her off by a neck in 1:42.28. It was another head back to Stave third.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Quebec in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Joe Sharp said, "Connie and Richard (Snyder) called me to say they were very optimistic with this mare," Sharp said. "When we got her we just wanted to get a line on her and freshen her up a little. We did that and gave her a sprint race. Today we knew we had her in a good spot. I didn't expect her to be on the lead the whole way herself, but I told Adam to not take anything from her. He managed it well and got the job done." Winning jockey Adam Beschizza said, "She's definitely a filly who doesn't lack speed. Today it was just a question of how to get to the lead. I was speaking to Joe before the race and he said to just let her run. She seemed to get in front pretty easily and well within herself and we just hung on late."

Right: Second place finisher Don't Tell Marge in the post parade. “My horse ran great,” jockey Corey Lanerie said. “We had a good trip and got to the rail and stayed there pretty much the whole race. We got out and I thought I had it. We just missed, but I’m happy she ran a good race.”


horse racing
Silver Dust wins the 2020 Louisiana Stakes


After 2 scratches, a field of 6 older horses contested the $100,000 Louisiana Stakes (G3) over 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Lukas Classic (G3) runner-up Silver Dust was sent off as the 3-5 favorite over 7-2 Blended Citizen, 2nd in the Tenacious, and 6-1 Kukulkan, winner of the Copa Confraternidad del Caribe at Gulfstream. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. sent 13-2 fourth choice Gun It to the lead first time by through fractions of 24.80, 48.16, and 1:12.58 while pressed by Silver Dust and stalked by 33-1 longest shot Roiland. Turning for home jockey Jack Gilligan sent Silver Dust to lead through 1 mile in 1:36.83. Kept to task by Gilligan, Silver Dust drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Blended Citizen in 1:43.29. It was a neck back to Gun It third.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Silver Dust in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bret Calhoun said, "He's come a long way," trainer Bret Calhoun said of Silver Dust. "He's always showed a tremendous amount of talent. I was really excited a couple years ago, but he just didn't get there in the afternoons. He's finally gotten consistent and now he's starting to live up to who we thought he was. We will keep him here at the Fair Grounds and filter through this series and try to keep him fresh for a long campaign. If he keeps running like this, there are some big races throughout the year that would be nice to tackle. We want to keep him as fresh and consistent as we can."

Right: Silver Dust in the paddock. Winning jockey Jack Gilligan said, "He's a big, strong horse and I was able to get him into the position I wanted. Bret and I have been really happy with how he's been working recently. We knew he was going to run great today. His demeanor has changed, he feels like he loves his job now, whereas before he was a bit temperamental and would act up in the paddock and gate. Last time out (second in the Lukas Classic) he really made a turn around. He does everything the right way and couldn't ask for a better result."


horse racing
Bobby's Wicked One wins the 2020 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes


Kicking off the Saturday stakes sextet was the $100,000 Duncan F. Kenner Stakes for older horses sprinting 6 furlongs on the main track. After 2 scratches, just 3 horses entered the starting gate. Thanksgiving Classic winner Bobby's Wicked One was the 3-10 favorite over 2-1 Hog Creek Hustle, 6th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), and 11-2 Do Share, 2nd in the Bet On Sunshine.

Jockey Miguel Mena hustled Bobby's Wicked One to a clear lead out of the chute through fractions of 22.02 and 44.87 while 3 lengths clear of Hog Creek Hustle, who was 3 1/2 lengths clear of Do Share. The trio raced this way the entire distance, with Bobby's Wicked One drawing off late to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Hog Creek Hustle in 1:08.55. It was just 3/4 length back to Do Share third.
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Bobby's Wicked One in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Al Stall Jr. said, "Things went well for him here last year and they have obviously been going really well again this year. This is his home and we know he’s happy here. He stepped it up a notch today. We had this field measured with our early speed and the scratches of course but on his own he’s a really nice horse. Going from point A to point B in that final time and the way he did it geared down is certainly very impressive. We’re going to keep him happy and healthy. We might point him to the Count Fleet Stakes at Oaklawn and see what happens. Maybe at the end of the year he will be a Breeders’ Cup horse at Keenland which is another track he has put in some good efforts at.”

Right: Bobby's Wicked One in the post parade. Winning jockey Miguel Mena said, "It was just a matter of getting a good break. We broke well and were able to get out to the early lead. He’s a fast horse and does it well within himself so I was just along for the ride. He’s a nice horse.”

Photos courtesy of Steve Queen

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