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Justin Phillip a Candidate for 3YO Stakes

Zayat Stables’ well-bred sophomore Justin Phillip appears talented enough to be a worthy candidate for Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes as part of Road to the Derby Kickoff Day Presented by Hotel Monteleone on Jan. 22.

Backed down to 1-2 favoritism by the New Year’s Day crowd at the Crescent City oval, Justin Phillip did not disappoint, winning the $47,000 mile and 70 yard test by 3 1/4-lengths despite racing greenly.

Trained by defending Eclipse Award-winning conditioner Steve Asmussen, Justin Phillip made the pace with splits of 24.74 and 48.82 over the sloppy going while being patiently handled by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.  The son of First Samurai ducked out sharply when shown the whip left-handed in mid-stretch but recovered quickly under clever handling by Bridgmohan.

“I showed him the stick with my left hand and he just started getting out,” said Bridgmohan. “He was alone and maybe he was waiting on them. I don’t know. He’s a real nice horse.”

Out of a Cryptoclearance mare, Justin Phillip paid $3, $2.20 and $2.10, increased his career earnings to $71,526 with his second victory in five lifetime starts and toured the distance in 1:41.99.