It's time to stop using the phrase "Louisiana-bred" as a somewhat negative modifier when describing Vicar's in Trouble, who drew off from Albano in Saturday's Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes on Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds to beat that rival by 6 3/4 lengths.
"That horse can really run," Larry Jones said as the trainer of the runner-up. "Where did they find him? I thought we were in pretty good position with Albano at the top of the stretch and then that winner just drew off."
Assistant trainer Joe Sharp, husband of winning rider Rosie Napravnik and the man chiefly responsible for handling Vicar's in Trouble this winter for trainer Mike Maker, did not seem all that surprised Sunday morning when accepting congratulations outside the racing office.
"He's shown us a little ability since the day he came to us," Sharp said. "He's what I would call a pretty pliable horse and I wasn't really surprised when he ran as well as he did.
"So far he seems to be getting along just fine," Sharp added about how Vicar's in Trouble came out of his impressive effort Saturday. "In fact he tried to eat me this morning."
Future plans for the colt see the dark bay son of Into Mischief staying put for now and likely pointing for the Grade 2, $400,000 Risen Star going 1 1/16 miles on Louisiana Derby Preview Day, February 22.
"Well, he's staying on this circuit for now," Sharp confirmed, "so we'll probably be taking a look at the next one."
Meanwhile, Jones was not displeased with Albano's race or the runner-up effort by Divine Beauty in Saturday's Silverbulletday Stakes.
"I don't have either of these two three-year-olds really cranked up all the way yet," Jones admitted. "Believe You Can and Proud Spell both lost races down here (before coming back to win the Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks later in the spring.) We're just going to build on those races yesterday."