After demolishing ten over-matched Louisiana-breds to close out his 2012 season, Vicar's in Trouble gave open company the same treatment Jan. 18 when he rolled to an easy victory in the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (gr. III) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (VIDEO).
With Rosie Napravnik showing the way, Vicar's in Trouble seized the lead early in the far turn and then opened up in the stretch to post a 6 3/4-length victory in the one-mile, 70-yard race for 3-year-olds. With the victory, Napravnik notched her third stakes win on the card while Vicar's in Trouble secured 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who are finalists in the owner and breeder categories for the Eclipse Awards to be presented later Saturday, Vicar's in Trouble posted a 13-length victory Dec. 14 at Fair Grounds. And while that effort would help make him the second choice in the Lecomte at 8-5, the Into Mischief colt secured that maiden victory against other Louisiana-breds.
In the Lecomte he would successfully win his stakes debut against open company while stretching out to two turns for the first time. Those challenges proved little problem, as Vicar's in Trouble tracked early leader Roman Unbridled through a half-mile in fractins of :23.71 and :47.80 and edged to the front after six furlongs in 1:13.11. Under left-handed urging, Vicar's in Trouble opened up in early stretch on his way to a1:42.57 clocking on a fast track.
"He certainly seemed to handle the distance with no problems," Napravnik said. "He's got natural speed which left our options open. 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."
Joe Sharp, assistant to winning trainer Mike Maker, said Vicar's in Trouble is mentally sharp, which made the connections confident in his ability to step up in class.
"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."
Winchell Thoroughbreds' Gold Hawk rated in fourth throughout but could only improve one position entering the stretch to finish third, half a length behind Albano. The Empire Maker colt, sent off as the 6-5 favorite, is out of champion 2-year-old filly Caressing.
Vicar's in Trouble paid $5.40 to win, $4 to place, and $2.80 to show. Albano returned $8 and $3.80 while Gold Hawk returned $2.20 to show.
Bred in Louisiana by Spendthrift Farm, Vicar's In Trouble is the first stakes winner out of the winning Vicar mare Vibrant, who has produced three winners from four starters. After debuting with a third against maidens at Keeneland last October, Vicar's in Trouble has won two of three starts while earning $148,900.