Barn Notes: Sunday, January 19

IN TODAY'S NOTES: Vicar's In Trouble Impresses Everyone in Lecomte; Unbridled Forever 'Spectacular' in Saturday's $125,000 Silverbulletday; $100,000 Louisiana Handicap Hero Fordubai in Fine Fettle Saturday

It’s time to stop using the phrase “Louisiana-bred” as a somewhat negative modifier when describing Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Vicar’s in Trouble, who drew off from Brereton Jones’s Albano in Saturday’s Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slot to beat that rival by 6 ¾ lengths.

“That horse can really run,” said an admiring Larry Jones 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,” said Sharp.  “He’s what I would call a pretty pliable horse and I wasn’t really surprised when he ran as well as he did.”

And how did Vicar’s in Trouble come out of his impressive effort Saturday?

“So far he seems to be getting along just fine,” said Sharp.  “In fact he tried to eat me this morning.”

Had Sharp talked to Maker about future plans for Vicar’s in Trouble?

“Well, he’s staying on this circuit for now,” said Sharp, “so we’ll probably be taking a look at the next one (Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 22).

Meanwhile, trainer Jones was not displeased with Albano’s race or the runner-up effort by Brereton Jones’s Divine Beauty in Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes. 

“I don’t have either of these two 3-year-olds really cranked up all the way yet,” said Jones. “Believe You Can and Proud Spell both lost races down here (before coming back to win Fair Grounds’ Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Churchill’sKentucky Oaks later in the spring.)  We’re just going to build on those races yesterday.”

UNBRIDLED FOREVER ‘SPECTACULAR’ IN SATURDAY’S $125,000 SILVERBULLETDAY—Trainer Dallas Stewart has been very high on Charles Fipke’s Unbridled Forever since she came into his barn and in Saturday’s $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots she justified his optimism with a 1 ½-length tally in the first leg of the local series that concludes with the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day March 29.

“I thought she was spectacular yesterday,” said Stewart Sunday morning when speaking outside his barn during training hours.  “I also thought that (winning rider) Robby Albarado did a great job getting her to the outside and putting her in a position to win.”

What might be next for his filly out of 2006 Kentucky Oaks winner Lemons Forever, who was also trained by Stewart?

“Probably the Fair Grounds Oaks,” said Stewart.  “At least that’s the preliminary fan right now.  There are a lot of good races for 3-year-old fillies later in the spring and there’s no reason to ask her to do too much right now.” 

$100,000 LOUISIANA HANDICAP HERO FORDUBAI IN FINE FETTLE SUNDAY —Trainer Greg Geier was similarly pleased with the one-length winning effort by Jim Tafel’s Fordubai in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Handicap on Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The Louisiana Handicap is the first leg of a local series for older horses on the main track that will conclude with the Grade II New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby Day March 29.

“That horse ran very, very well yesterday,” said Geier when speaking of Fordubai Sunday morning.  “He came out of it no worse for wear this morning so I think we’ll probably go on to the next one – the (Grade III) Mineshaft (Handicap, middle leg of the series on Louisiana Derby Preview Day Feb. 22.)

“Mr. Tafel watched the race on television from Florida,” concluded Geier, “and he seemed very pleased when I talked to him after the race.”

ROSIE RIDES FOUR WINNERS; ASMUSSEN SADDLES THREE—Three-time Fair Grounds’ defending rider champion Rosie Napravnik rode four winners, taking down three stakes including both Grade III events, the Col. E. R. Bradley and the Lecomte, while 13-time Fair Grounds trainer champion Steve Asmussen saddled three winners during Saturday’s Road to the Derby Day at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Shaun Bridgmohan had a riding triple.