Well-bred Enforceable breaks through to win Lecomte Stakes

January 18, 2020 07:12pm
Well-bred Enforceable breaks through to win Lecomte Stakes
Photo: Hodges Photography/Amanda Hodges Weir

Mark Casse scratched what looked like his better shot at winning the Grade 3, $200,000 Lecomte Stakes after Lynn’s Map drew the outside post position. And yet his barn won the race anyway.

Enforceable — who sports a regal pedigree, but hadn’t yet backed it up — broke through Saturday at Fair Grounds, storming down the center of the track to win the first of New Orleans’ three points-paying 2020 Kentucky Derby preps.

The son of Tapit, out of the mare Justwhistledixie, is a full brother of stakes winners such as Mohaymen and Kingly, plus a half-sibling to New Year’s Day, sire of Eclipse Award finalist Maximum Security.

Enforceable sat just off the first flight of horses, positioned about five lengths away from a modest pace in the 1 1/16-mile race, before uncorking a wide, sustained rally to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

"I think when distances increase, he'll be more affective," said David Carroll, the Fair Grounds-based assistant to Casse. "It was a nice field today, and we're just so proud of his race."

Longshot Bango took them through an opening quarter mile in 23.46 seconds and got the half in 47.41 before starting to back up through the far turn. That set up for a closer like Enforceable, who entered with a maiden victory — that going nine furlongs at Saratoga — along with a Grade 1 placing in Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity.

Now he’s a Derby hopeful for a previous winner on the first Saturday in May, owner John Oxley.

“Mark likes to put a great foundation in his 2-year-olds," Carroll said. "…This horse has done nothing but improve.”

Jockey Julien Leparoux, who rode the winner, said his mount "traveled the whole way very nicely for me. On the backside, he was just dragging me wherever I wanted to be."

Away at 6-1, Enforceable returned $15.60 to win and gave the Casse barn its second straight Lecomte score. A year ago, War of Will made this race his first stakes win before taking the Risen Star (G2), an event Enforceable figures to be seen in next on Feb. 15.

Silver State, bet down to 3-1 co-favoritism, ran from mid-pack to be second with Mr. Monomoy  third. Finnick the Fierce, blind in his right eye, overcame a rail draw to close for fourth and collect Derby qualifying points after finishing second last out in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club (G2).

The Lecomte awarded points to its Top 4 finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis.

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