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Breeders' Cup 2017

Lea Might Be Headed to Firecracker

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.
 
 

 

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