Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred Lea
made his 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s eighth race at Churchill Downs
and now might be headed to the
$150,000-added Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) after cruising to a 3
¼-length victory in an off-the-turf allowance over a sloppy track.
“Right now, we are looking at the
Firecracker and the Poker (GIII at Belmont Park on July 4), depending on
what other horses do,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said.
It was the first start for Lea since
winning the Commonwealth Turf (GIII) on the Matt Winn Turf Course in
November and also his first start on dirt. Stall was not surprised at
how well Lea handled the sloppy main track off
more than a six-month layoff.
“It didn’t surprise me because we
feel like he’s a good horse and he’s by a stud (First Samurai) who won
the Champagne (GI) in a sea of mud at Belmont,” Stall said.
“There was nothing wrong with him. We
just gave him a freshening, so they usually come back pretty decent.
We’re excited. He’s ready for the second half of the year.”
Lea exited his victory in good order
and will be vanned to Stall’s barn at Keeneland early this week to be
prepared for his next start.